IOS 16, Apple’s upcoming software update for the iPhone has a number of high-profile new features. But there are some more vague upgrades.
Such an interesting new feature, marked by MacRumors, will allow iPhone users to bypass the captcha by verifying the device in the background.
Captcha, if you are not familiar with this term, is the deepest annoying verification puzzle where you have to prove that you are not a bot. Sometimes you have to read and type a distorted sample of text; Sometimes you are instructed to click “Every photo with a boat” or “Every photo with a traffic light”. The idea is that only humans have the ability to recognize the pattern to pass the test, so websites and apps using this method can prevent botnets from automatically creating thousands of fake accounts or making fake purchases.
As Apple explains in a video covering the new feature, Captcha brings a number of issues with them. They create potential privacy issues because they involve IP tracking; They make the user experience worse; And they may exclude some human users altogether, especially if they have a disability or language barrier. Given the problem of accessibility in humans and the ever-evolving capabilities of AI, it is very difficult to set the bar to a level that would exclude all bots and include all people.
IOS 16 will eliminate the need for captchas by self-verifying in the background based on user’s Apple ID account activity, login password, biometric login activity, etc. – then share a personal access token with the app or website to prove that everything is valid. This will make the process much less difficult for the user and will help the site or app to drive away potential users and customers.
All of this remains unproven at this point, of course. We need to see how site owners and app developers accept Apple’s system and how fraudulent groups approach the challenge of cracking the same system. But at least it’s an interesting idea that can make using the Internet quantitatively less annoying.
iOS 16 is now available as a developer beta. It is expected to launch to the general public in September.