The upcoming release of iOS 11.3, and the fact we now have the initial beta release available for developers and interested parties to test out, means that we now have people ripping through it trying to find out what Apple may have planned but has yet to announce.
This happens with every big new release of the iPhone and iPad software, with the HomePod beta software proving very useful last year when we were piecing together what the iPhone X would be. The folks at 9to5Mac have been looking iOS 11.3 over, and they appear to have found something to suggest that iCloud may soon be available to websites as a means of authentication.
According to the report, a component within iOS 11.3, called SecureChannel, has been spotted. Strings inside that component appear to mention that a website that uses iCloud authentication would have access to a user’s iCloud data. It’s not clear what that data may be, but we strongly suspect it will merely be something along the lines of a user’s name and perhaps email address – the two things needed for authentication, generally.
This is similar to the way the Apple TV allows third-party apps to authenticate against a single sign-on feature, meaning users don’t need to re-enter credentials when configuring newly downloaded video streaming apps, for example.
The QR code may be making a comeback, too, according to the report, with Apple allowing users to scan a code that prompts for Apple ID authentication via the Camera app.
There’s also a component that will allow users to scan a QR Code that prompts for Apple ID authentication when scanned using the Camera app. We’ve been able to activate this prompt by scanning a specially crafted QR Code (see screenshot below).
It’s not clear what the exact purpose of this system is, but it could be just another benefit for Apple ID users: the ability to log in to 3rd party websites without having to worry about creating a new user and password.
We’re a ways off iOS 11.3 being available to the public so there is plenty of time for Apple to either announce or completely drop this feature before it finds its way into our hands. We’ll keep our ears to the ground.
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