Your Android phone is now a security key for connecting to Google on iOS


Google announced that it was now possible to Sign in to your Google Accounts from your iPhone or iPad using your Android phone as a hardware authentication key.

The development comes almost more than a month after the internet giant has made it easier for Google users to access their accounts on their laptops or PCs using their Android smartphones as keys to material security.

This password-free authentication method was initially available only for ChromeOS, macOS, and Windows 10 devices. With the latest announcement, Google has expanded the technology to include devices running iOS.

But there is also a critical difference between signing in iOS and other devices. On desktops and laptops, the Chrome browser is used as an intermediary to communicate with the Android phone's built-in security key via Bluetooth using FIDO's Client to Authenticator Protocol (CTAP2).

Since iOS does not have a Chrome browser – the iOS app for Chrome is based on Apple's WebKit renderer – you need to install Google's Smart Lock app instead.

Credit: Google

It should be noted that to take advantage of the security key feature, you must also enable two-factor authentication (2FA) and your Android smartphone must run Android 7.0 (Nougat) or later.

Otherwise, the way it works is always the same. To use it, you will need to activate Bluetooth on your iOS and Android devices. This ensures that the Android smartphone can detect and allow login attempts to Google accounts triggered from your iPhone.

So when you try to sign in, your Android phone will ask you to authenticate. Press 'Yes' to relay the affirmation on the iOS device and allow the connection.

Although Bluetooth-based authentication has proven far from ideal, it's still a better option than completely turning off 2FA for your Google Account.

The decision to enable password-free authentication on your Google accounts comes a few weeks after Apple announced its own unique login feature called ""Connect with Apple" allows any registered Apple ID user to connect to third-party websites without sharing personal information or creating a website-specific password.

With technology giants like Apple, Google and Microsoft to improve authentication solutions, it is probably safe to say that passwords may soon be a thing of the past.

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