iOS 12 Public Beta: Why This SMS Security Timesaver Has Fans Excited

Apple is making sign in smoother.

Unsplash / Koby Kelsey

iOS 12 is about to make two-step authentication smoother than ever. The upcoming software update for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch makes a number of changes aimed at improving performance and making Siri faster, but a beta version of the release announced by Apple in June contains a hidden bonus for those that protect their user accounts with more than just a password.

Two-step verification is a popular way of boosting security. In many implementations, a service provider will ask a user for their password before sending an SMS code to a pre-registered number, requiring the user to input the code to gain access. The rationale is that entry requires both knowledge of the password and access to the user’s phone, meaning hackers can’t gain access with the password alone. The process of switching between message and app is rather arduous, though: in iOS 12, after the device receives the message, users will receive a prompt above the keyboard to enter the code in automatically. And yes, pressing the prompt marks the message as “read.”

The idea has been hailed by users in Reddit’s “iPhone” subreddit as “the single best new feature in iOS 12,” with user “wfox0294” declaring “God bless” and user “tecjunky75” noting “Sweet Jesus that will come in handy.” The feature expands on functionality used by Apple to simplify signing into an Apple ID account, although the company has encouraged its users to switch to two-factor authentication as a more secure alternative to SMS-based codes that are dependent on carrier security.

It’s just one of the many features expected to launch as part of iOS 12 later this year. The company has undertaken a radical redesign of its Voice Memos feature, in conjunction with the launch of the app on macOS Mojave, while a new version of the Bedtime app will produce relevant information at a glance. Other additions like a screen time tracker are designed to give users a better understanding of how they use their devices.

The feature is set to launch as part of iOS 12, alongside new versions of macOS, tvOS and watchOS. A firm release date has yet to be announced, but the updates are expected to arrive in the fall.

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