Apple’s operating systems for iPhones and PCs, iOS and macOS, are set to receive updates in the near future, and one of those updates will include a new feature that will do away with “captchas” for good. This technique, which has been given the name “automated verification,” will enable websites to confirm that you are not a robot without requiring you to take any action on your part.
When you sign up for a website, you may come across a series of brief quizzes known as captchas. This acronym stands for “fully automated public Turing test,” and its purpose is to differentiate between computers and people.
It could ask you to identify all of the traffic lights in an image, or it could ask you to type out certain characters and numbers that look shaky. If you get it wrong, it may ask you to start it over, prompting you to wonder if you actually know what the appearance of a traffic light is or if you are, in fact, a robot after all.
In order to develop this capability, the company collaborated with Cloudflare and Fastly, two other businesses that manage the infrastructure level of a significant portion of the public internet. It makes use of the same kind of technology that drives Apple’s ambitions to replace passwords throughout the internet, and it functions by enabling your device to deliver an encrypted statement verifying that it is being utilized by a human to the site that requested the statement. This is how it works.
Despite the fact that the service is integrated with Apple’s iCloud network, the site that requests the service will not obtain any personally identifiable information about the user or the device they are using.
Apple may be the first company to market such technology directly to end customers, but Google, which was instrumental in the development of the standard and has incorporated a system very similar to Apple’s into its Chrome web browser, was the first to use the basic idea. However, Google’s implementation focuses, for the time being at least, on enabling other parties to develop their own Captcha substitutes rather than eliminating the technique entirely.