“Sign in with Apple”: What’s in the new login service?

On September 19, Facebook and Google have bad memories: On this day, Apple has released its new iOS 13 operating system for all users to download – and thus also the new login service “Sign in with Apple” launched. An offer that thwarts many plans from Facebook and Google.

LEAD explains how “Signing in with Apple” works and why the service can destroy top dogs like Facebook and Google.

Feastr with Apple sign up option
The app Feastr, a program for calorie counting, is one of the first applications that have implemented “Sign in with Apple” (Screenshot: Gronau)

What is “Login with Apple”?

As of now, developers of new apps in Apple’s App Store rely on the Apple Guidelines to integrate the “sign in with Apple” service. For providers of existing apps, the integration is initially voluntary. The feature does what the name promises: Instead of logging into each app or on each website with its mail address and (for safety’s sake) each with its own password, “login with Apple” simplifies the login procedure. Needed by Apple customers only the existing Apple ID. Apple is thus rivaling the widespread fast login for years via Google (“Continue with Google”) and Facebook (“Continue with Facebook”).

Why should I use Apple’s service, if it has long been the logins via Facebook and Google?

Anyone who logs on with Google or Facebook, gives the respective app or website, on which one logs in, access to user account and data. This additional information is particularly helpful for the business interests of Google and Facebook, as they can be linked to the Google or Facebook account of the log-in. Thus, personalized and above all suitable advertising based on the user interest is possible. Advertising that flushes money into the coffers of Google and Facebook, as it is their business model.

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Anyone who decides to sign up with Apple leaves Google and Facebook to the left and provides the respective app or website operator only the name and the mail address, but not more. Because Apple says you do not sell the data. The business model of Apple is not the advertising, but the sale of hardware.

But at Apple I have to reveal my private mail address?

All users who trust Apple can do that, yes. But anyone who sees a residual risk at Apple, the company receives the option to create a disposable address from an anonymous combination of numbers and letters before signing. This is then forwarded to the (invisible) real mail address. Apple advises that users just then put on an anonymous Apple disposable address, if it is rather unknown app or website providers, with which one logs on. This anonymization is a clear differentiator to the login services of Google and Facebook. Saving user activity or tracking is excluded according to Apple – in contrast to the tracking, the two rival companies operate business.

Is not it possible to decrypt such a disposable address?

No, it’s considered safe, especially since you have the option to later change this disposable address to a new disposable address. The registration via Apple can also be revoked at any time, so that the forwarding by Apple is switched off. If the account account created by logging in with “Login with Apple” is terminated, Apple will immediately stop forwarding the mail.

Mail With Apple Sign In
Use private mail or disposable mail: With Apple’s new login you can decide what you want to set (Screenshot: Gronau)

Does “Log on with Apple” work only in the Apple ecosystem?

No. An Apple ID with two-factor authentication is always the first requirement, but “Sign in with Apple” (the English name) theoretically works on all websites that integrate the service or in Android or Windows apps – and not only on iOS and macOS. Apple explains the procedure for non-Apple operating systems as follows:

“When you sign up for the first time, you’ll be prompted to enter a verification code from your trusted Apple device or phone number, look on the device and enter the code, and you can skip this step for 30 days after you log in You trust the browser you are using. “

Why have not I seen “Sign in with Apple” in my apps yet?

The service is still new on the market and developers have to implement it first. One of the most popular apps besides Feastr, which relies on “Sign in with Apple”, is already the shopping list app Bring !. In the next few weeks, you will encounter more and more websites and apps that offer not only the login via Google and Facebook but also the login with your Apple ID.

Sign In With Apple
Apple also presented “Sign in with Apple” as part of the keynote (Screenshot: Gronau)

I am a developer: What do I have to pay attention to when integrating?

For the time being, only completely new apps that want to get into the App Store for the first time have to have “Install with Apple” installed in order to be approved for the store. For existing apps, the integration is only on 1 April 2020 (no April Foolhardy!) Mandatory.

If you submit an update to an app that is already available on the Store after April 1, sign in with Apple is a prerequisite for the Apple update to be waved through. But here again, exceptions rule the rule: The integration must be made only if an application for the main application in the application to a social login service such as Google or Facebook. Apple has also set up a special page for developers.

Is there also criticism of “Sign in with Apple”?

Yes, on the one hand, the mail provider BlueMail, in Germany rather unknown, has already filed a lawsuit. The makers behind BlueMail claim that Apple had stolen the idea with BlueMail’s new login service. An alleged patent infringement by Apple is brought into play. In addition, according to the operators, Apple BlueMail two weeks before the launch of “sign in with Apple”, quote: “just like that” thrown from the App Store to prefer their own product. In addition, the Open ID Software Foundation’s security measures in “Sign in with Apple” are not going far enough. In an open letter, OpenID calls for additional security measures. Apple agreed to push the subject.

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