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Sign in with Apple Has Started Its Major Rollout

by Elizabeth Harper on April 15, 2020

Apple's new "Sign in with Apple" lets you use your Apple ID to sign into apps and web-based services instead of creating a new username and password. You can already do this with your Google and Facebook accounts, but Apple's version does a better job of protecting your privacy because it lets you hide your real email address. While Sign in with Apple became available in iOS 13 late last year, it’s just now becoming an option for many apps, as developers are rushing to meet Apple's deadline (recently extended to the end of June) to make Sign in with Apple an option for all apps that require account creation. 

Currently there are more than 100 apps that support Sign in with Apple, including big names like Adobe Photoshop, Dropbox, Etsy, and Spotify. But do you want to use it? We say yes, in most cases.

How to use Sign in with Apple

Using Sign in with Apple is extremely simple: basically, you'll just sign in to a website or app using your Apple ID rather than a Google, Facebook or site-specific account. Sign in with Apple offers some big conveniences, particularly when it comes to privacy. When you use Sign in with Apple, the service can’t collect more about you than your name and email address, and Apple can even shield your email address by providing a random address that forwards to your real email address. Apple doesn’t track your login information or store any data about you, whereas both Facebook and Google can keep tabs on your activity.

Most Apple users should be ready to use Sign in with Apple immediately. You'll need to have iOS 13 or higher on your iOS devices (it’s a good idea to update to the latest version, 13.4.1, to get the most recent bug fixes). You need an Apple ID that uses two-factor authentication (which you should already have enabled for security) and be logged on to that account on your iOS device.

Then, when you launch a new app or open a website that supports Sign in with Apple, you’ll see the option to log on with your Apple ID. So if you’re using a service that has an app and a website, you should be able to sign in to both with your Apple ID.

On iOS:

  • Click Sign in with Apple
  • Review the name and email address you’re providing (or select “Hide My Email” to keep your address private)
  • Authenticate by Face ID, Touch ID, passcode or your Apple ID password

On the web:

  • Sign on with your Apple ID
  • Enter a verification code sent to one of your trusted devices (like your iPhone)
  • Review the name and email address you’re providing (or select “Hide My Email” to keep your address private)

How to manage your Sign in with Apple accounts

You can manage all of your Sign in with Apple accounts in one place.

On iOS:

  • Open Settings
  • Tap your name at the top of the screen
  • Navigate to Password & Security > Apps Using your Apple ID

On Mac:

  • Click the Apple in the top menu bar
  • Navigate to System Preferences > Apple ID > Password & Security
  • Click Edit

On the web:

  • Sign on to your Apple ID account page
  • Navigate to Security > Apps & Websites using Apple ID
  • Click Manage

From there you’ll see a list of apps you’ve signed in to and you can disable any account with a click. If you don't want to disable the account, but want to stop receiving spam mail, you can disable email forwarding if you've hidden your email address. It's extremely handy to have a single place to manage our online accounts.

Should you use Sign in with Apple?

We recommend using Sign in with Apple in most cases. It's easy to use, provides the security of two-factor authentication, even if you’re using services that don’t support it, and keeps your online activity private. Using it costs nothing, so there’s really no reason for Apple users not to jump on this new login option.

However, there are a few snags that may keep you away from Apple's new single sign-in:

  • It won’t be available for everything. Though we think a good idea to use it when you can, apps only have to offer it if they also offer other third-party sign-ins, like Facebook and Google.
  • You may not be able to switch an existing account to Sign in with Apple. Some services may let you change your account, but others may not — you’ll have to look for specific instructions from the provider to find out how to switch over. While you could make a new account using Sign in with Apple, it may be too much of a hassle.
  • If you share data across services or apps, you may not be able to link accounts if you use Sign in with Apple. 
  • It will be hard to use without an iPhone. Though you could use Sign in with Apple in some cases without an iPhone, iPad or Mac, it will be much more cumbersome. If you’re thinking of switching over to an Android device, Sign in with Apple could become very inconvenient.

But if you’re an Apple user — and intend to stick to being an Apple user — Sign in with Apple is an easy way to create secure new accounts without giving away your personal information. Watch for it to roll out in your favorite apps soon, and think about making the switch if you can. 

[Image credit: Apple]


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