Apple announced Sign in with Apple at WWDC 2019 as a secure feature developers can add to their apps to allow people to sign in using their Apple-certified credentials.
Signing into apps using information from other platforms is not new – you can sign into services by associating your sign in with your Google, Facebook or Twitter logins, for example. But those associations usually come at a price, which is the app makers having access to your personal information such as name and more importantly your email address.
With so many third party apps out there, you can never be sure which will immorally pass on your email and other details to companies who in turn spam your inbox or, at worst, try to defraud you.
How Sign in with Apple works
Sign in with Apple is different. It’s ready to go on iPhone, iPad and Mac but is not automatic – app developers have to build it into their apps.
The difference Apple is touting is that its sign in method not only authenticates you as a genuine user by associating the sign in with your Apple ID, it uniquely gives you the option of masking your personal email address. It does that by generating a one-use email address to which information from the app will go, which then forwards on securely to your personal email.
It means, if you choose, the apps you use with Sign in with Apple cannot physically view or pass on your details.
How to use Sign in with Apple
The example below is with the travel booking app Kayak. You have to create a new account to be presented with the option to use Sign in with Apple.
When presented with the option, tap Sign in with Apple. A screen then shows you the advantages of doing this – the key winner here being that it hides your email while keeping communication from the app open.
We’ve blanked out our personal email address in the example here, but you have the option to select ‘Hide my email’ as opposed to the default ‘Share my email’. Tap ‘Hide my email’ to keep private. You can even edit your name if you want to be extra vigilant.
From here, the process logs you into the app and you are away, privacy in tact with no features lost.
How to see which apps are using Sign in with Apple
Once you’ve used Sign in with Apple a few times you might want to monitor which apps are using it. You can view this on your iPhone by going to Settings, tap your name at the top and then Password & Security.
Then tap Apple ID logins to view and then tap on the app to see the information. In the example below we’ve blacked out our phone number and personal email, but you can see the Apple-generated email address under ‘This app received’ as proof Kayak does not have our personal email, and any emails it sends to that address are forwarded onto us securely.
At the time of writing Sign in with Apple is rolling out slowly to apps. Unfortunately, there is no way of reversing previous sign ins, so if you’ve given an app your email address in the past, re-signing in with Sign in with Apple is not a way to take back your data.
But if you are planning on closing an old email account and using Sign in with Apple as much as possible with a new email address, we thoroughly recommend using it.