I’m Not a Robot: iOS Verification Update Marks the End of ‘captchas’ | iOS

An annoyance, an important security feature, an awkward existential request: however you feel about being asked to prove you’re not a robot, it’s become an everyday occurrence for most of us, but maybe not one we’d miss.

A new feature in the upcoming versions of iOS and macOS, Apple’s operating systems for iPhones and computers, promises to kick off “captchas” once and for all. This technology is called “automatic verification” and allows sites to verify that you are not a robot without you having to do anything.

Captchas — that’s “fully automated public Turing test to distinguish computers from humans” — are the little tests you sometimes see when you log into a website to help stop fraud.

It may ask you to see all the traffic lights in a photo, or type some wobbly letters and numbers. If you’re wrong, it might ask you to start over, leaving you wondering if you really know what a traffic light looks like — or maybe you’re a robot after all.

“You probably don’t like being disturbed by this,” says Apple’s Tommy Pauly. “I certainly don’t. The reason these experiences exist is to prevent fraudulent activity. If you’re running a server, you don’t want it to be overrun by fraud. Some attempts to create accounts or purchase products come from legitimate users. But other attempts could come from attackers or bots.”

The company partnered with Fastly and Cloudflare, two companies that manage the infrastructure level of much of the public internet, to build the feature. It’s based on the same kind of technology that underlies Apple’s Efforts to Replace Passwords on the Weband works by having your device send an encrypted statement confirming that it is being used by a human to the requesting website.

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Although the service is associated with Apple’s iCloud network, the requesting site does not receive any personal information about the user or their device.

While Apple is the first to push such technology to users themselves, the basic idea has been taken by Google, which helped develop the standard and built a similar system into Chrome. But Google’s version so far has focused on letting third parties build their own Captcha replacements, rather than discontinuing the technology altogether.

Google may even lose the shift: Ever since the company bought a startup called reCaptcha in 2009, it’s used human input from the tests as part of its training data for major machine learning projects, first asking people to help it transcribe it. scanned books and later uses the answers to train his machine vision systems on road features to perfect his self-driving car projects.

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