• October 7, 2022

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The next iPhone software, iOS 16, is going to have an amazingly cool feature. It’ll be released in the fall, though public betas will start landing next month. Oh, and the new addition will come to the iPad in iPadOS, too.

As spotted by Joe Rossignol at MacRumors, the software will let users avoid CAPTCHAs. You know, it’s when you have to look at a grid of images and pick out the ones that are tractors, or bridges, or the like. Often these are obscure pictures, designed to fool bots but often making life difficult for us humans, too. Or it’s those colorful, artfully arranged letters and numbers which you have to decipher.

Either way, they are literally never a pleasure to do, and I’d be grateful to get back the seconds I’ve wasted on the things.

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Now, with iOS 16, iPadOS 16 and macOS Ventura, this looks like a possibility thanks to Private Access Tokens. Instead of tapping the boxes required, Apple will privately verify that the device and Apple ID are to be trusted, and instantly whizz you through to the site you’re trying to get to. In Apple’s demo, the change was instant.

But it’s not that the time saved is the important thing, it’s the frustration that’s avoided which helps the most.

Users with disabilities have long complained that CAPTCHAs are unhelpful and difficult to overcome, so this will be of even greater help to them.

It’s found in iOS 16 in Settings, under Apple ID and Password and Security. Here, it’s called Automatic Verification and you can choose to set it on or off. It’s on by default, hurrah.

The item in Settings says, “Bypass CAPTCHAs in apps and on the web by allowing iCloud to automatically and privately verify your device and account.”

As the Apple demo explains, when you’re using your iPhone, iPad or Mac, you’ve already done a bunch of things that bots can’t, even if you’re interacting with a particular website for the first time. These things, which bots can’t imitate very well, include unlocking your device with a password or Face ID or Touch ID and they’re likely signed in with their Apple ID.

I honestly can’t wait for this to arrive.

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