Apple battles Facebook and Google with rival sign in service

Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) on Monday was full of surprises. One of them was a new feature designed to make signing in to apps and websites more private: ‘Sign In with Apple’.

You know how you’ve signed up for dozens of accounts on websites over the years? You have to enter your email address, choose a  password that meets requirements, store it (hopefully with a password manager)… and soon after comes the flood of junk mail from the site’s needy marketing team.

Some folks use a throwaway-email address for each new account. But what if you want to see some of that mail? And how sure are you that the dummy address won’t get reused in the future by someone else? And how do you know if the website’s going to store your password securely?

The other option is to use a single -on service from one of the two big providers: or Facebook. When you see a ‘Sign In With Google’ or ‘Sign In With Facebook’ button on a web site, it’s offering to let you use your Google or Facebook ID for a quick, one-click sign up or sign on, no password required, as long as you’re signed into Google or Facebook.

The problem with services like these is that the companies running them (and their hidden partners) end up knowing more about you than your grandmother.

Sign In with Apple is Cupertino’s privacy-conscious version of those services. The idea is to make signing in and signing up to websites as simple as possible, without having to provide any personal information.

When a website or a mobile app supports Sign In with Apple, you’ll be able to register for an account by authenticating on your device (with a suitably-specced iOS device, that means FaceID or TouchID). So just like Facebook and Google’s social -in features, you can create an account with a single button. Apple then acts as a proxy for you, managing your login credentials for that website or app.

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