In the latest Pixel Feature Drop, Google has unveiled an enhancement to Google Password Manager called passkey upgrades. This new feature enables Pixel users (starting from Pixel 5a), Pixel Fold, and Pixel Tablet owners to easily discover accounts supporting passkeys and seamlessly upgrade with a few taps.
When accessing Google Password Manager on a Pixel device, you’ll find a “Simplify your sign-in” card nestled between the Password Checkup tool and your credential list. Google guides users to easily upgrade to passkeys for specific accounts, eliminating the need for intricate passwords. Going forward, a simple face scan, fingerprint, or device PIN/pattern/password is all you’ll require for effortless sign-ins.
While currently available on Pixel devices, including tablets, Google plans to extend this passkey upgrade experience to other platforms in the future.
Google has also collaborated with industry leaders such as Adobe, Best Buy, DocuSign, eBay, Kayak, Money Forward, Nintendo, PayPal, Uber, Yahoo! Japan, and soon, TikTok. Users with accounts with these early launch partners can use Google Password Manager on Pixel for a Passkey Upgrade.
What is a Passkey
Passkeys are a modern authentication method for apps and websites. Simple yet highly secure, Passkeys eliminate the need for common passwords like birthdays or “password123.” Users can now sign in effortlessly using fingerprint, face scan, or screen lock PIN, aligning with the ease of unlocking devices.
Unlike traditional passwords, a passkey provides enhanced security against online threats like phishing, ensuring a safer authentication experience. They’re easier to use because there’s nothing for you to remember: when it’s time to sign in.
In 2022, alongside FIDO Alliance, Apple and Microsoft, Google announced it would begin work to support passkeys on its platform as an easier and more secure alternative to passwords.
With the release of iOS 16 last year, Apple introduced Passkeys to it’s devices. iOS users are able to sign into accounts using Face ID or Touch ID on supported apps and websites. Since the update, new accounts no longer need to create a password at all. In iOS 17, Apple automatically assigns users a passkey for their Apple ID. This is for iOS 17, iPadOS 17 and macOS Sonoma. Tiktok also a announced the passkey feature for iOS last year.
Notably, because the technology that makes this possible is open, any website or app, as well as any other password manager, can leverage it to help their users upgrade to passkeys for supporting accounts.