Apple is going to introduce a new feature to bypass CAPTCHAs, so iPhone users will not have to tap on images or decipher strangely-drawn words to prove that they are human.
The company’s upcoming update, iOS 16, has a new feature under the Settings app called ‘Automatic Verification’. When this is turned on, iCloud will automatically and privately verify the device and Apple ID while using other apps.
Apple says that it is replacing CAPTCHAs with “Private Access Tokens”. Using these, servers can request tokens that are cryptographically signed, proving that a user has passed an authentication check.
As well as in iOS, Apple says this new feature will be coming to macOS Ventura and is being rolled out in beta form now. The setting will be automatically turned on by default.
“Fastly and Cloudflare are two CDNs that have been developing the Privacy Pass standards, and have already made their issuer services available. Other CAPTCHA providers, web hosting services, and CDNs will also be able to run token issuers that will work with Apple devices”, Apple says.
Both Fastly and Cloudflare manage huge sections of the internet – which is why, when Cloudflare goes down, as it did earlier today, a massive number of websites can be made unavailable. It will also mean that people who regularly use VPNs, which often trigger CAPTCHAs more often, will likely see them less.
As well as Apple, Fastly says that Google and Cloudflare also helped to develop and standardize the technology.
“Privacy-minded folks have concerns about what is happening with the data they provide to solve CAPTCHAs … Folks with privacy-oriented browsing configurations are given plenty of prompts to think about these questions – they often get challenged with even more CAPTCHAs than typical users” , writes Fastly.
It added that “human interaction is not required and there is no leakage of non-essential data” when using Private Access Tokens.