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 March 2011

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Touch ID + iCloud Keychain = Security & Convenience

The iPhone 5s debuted last week with Touch ID, allowing you to unlock your iPhone using just your fingerprint instead of your passcode. Touch ID can also be used to make a purchase on the iTunes Store or App Store, in place of your iCloud password.

Initial users agree that Touch ID is very convenient.

Apple claims the system is more secure than a password.

But Touch ID may prove to be more than just a minor convenience when it is paired with iCloud Keychain, a forthcoming feature included with Mavericks, the next version of Mac OS X.

Every single day, I consult with people frustrated by password prompts. Passwords are a problem not easily solved by normal people. Experts concede that the standard login system of usernames and passwords is fundamentally problematic in that it's impossible to find a workable balance between security and convenience.

iCloud Keychain plus Touch ID has the potential to solve the password problem for anyone with a Mac and an iPhone 5s.

Imagine visiting a secure website on your Mac, and instead of being prompted for a password (the bane of our modern cloud-enabled society), your iPhone 5s beeps and buzzes to alert you: your Mac would like to log into the website – and all you need to do is touch the Home button.

Such a simple and secure solution to our ubiquitous password frustrations could be a big benefit of the Apple ecosystem.

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