Safari Will Now Support USB Security Keys for iOS13.3

iPhone Safari icon

If you’re set up with Apple products for your computing needs and you’ve hemmed and hawed over not being able to use a security key, then fret no more: Safari will soon support USB security keys for their iOS13.3.

If our recent article announcing Google and Yubico’s USB-C Titan Security key made you painfully aware that you aren’t able to use its two factor authentication goodness to keep your data safe, then this news is joyous indeed. A major issue with the latest YubiKey 5Ci (launched in August of this year) was that it did not always function with many major browsers, including Chrome based options (sometimes the browser wouldn’t recognize the key and couldn’t register it) and Safari. In fact, it only worked with most password managers—assuming you were able to register it—and big hitters like Microsoft, Google, Twitter, Facebook, and Amazon. The latest release of a USB-C formatted security key left some Apple users frustrated at the lack of available two factor authentication options.

The latest iOS 13.3 update that is available for public beta testers and developers will now include a Safari feature that supports security keys like NFC, USB, and Lightning FIDO2 compliant options. This includes a Lightning equipped YubiKey, giving Apple users a more secure login experience with two-factor authentication (2FA). Two factor authentication requires two pieces of information in order to gain access into an app, email account, software, or whatever program you’re trying to run. A common form of 2FA is a USB security key. Learn more about USB security keys and two factor authentication here.

Should I Use A USB Security Key?

Security Key for iPhone
Image via MacRumors

While most cybersecurity experts agree that 2FA is an excellent practice to keep, the responsibility of a physical USB security key might be a bit much for an ordinary person. Certainly, they do offer the best security for login info, but the threat of losing it and the top league performance is probably akin to upgrading to an expensive luxury car when your nice trim level standard car is more than enough; why bother risking losing more when you don’t need to? With security keys easily available, not unnecessarily expensive, and the reality that they are likely the future method for data access, there’s no harm in exploring ways to keep you and your data safe. Just make sure to keep your key safe (it can’t be copied—even by you!) and use as advised.

A Look Ahead

Apple’s iOS13.3 is expected to drop in December. Its predecessor, iOS 13.2 delivered the final features Apple had promised way back when iOS 13 was introduced at WWDC. This latest version, aside from the excellent upgrade in available security features, will include a multitasking bug fix, the ability to set communication limits (great for children), new features that demonstrate how much data is collected from entities like Facebook and Google, an upgraded icon for the Apple Watch app, and you can finally stop your Animoji and Memoji stickers from appearing on your Emoji keyboard.