Apple’s Automatic Verification will help us escape from annoying CAPTCHAs


Apple Automatic Verification will help save us from CAPTCHA hassles
Apple users may be freed from CAPTCHA.
Image: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple developed Automatic Verification to let iPhone, Mac and iPad users bypass those irritating CAPTCHA image tests that websites use to confirm that someone is a human and not a bot.

Cloudflare and Fastly, big cloud computing companies that power tons of websites, are already on board to adopt the new system.

Avoid CAPTCHA with Automatic Verification and Private Access Tokens

We have all gritted our teeth as we once again pored over a group of pictures and tried to identify which ones contained traffic lights or hills or boats or crosswalks. These are examples of CAPTCHA: the Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart. (Really.)

These are visual tests that humans can pass but current computer programs can’t. They keep out bots. And while they’re necessary, they’re also slow and bothersome.

Apple’s solution is Private Access Tokens, which will be part of iOS 16, macOS Ventura and iPadOS 16. The digital tokens allow websites to identify “requests from legitimate devices and people,” according to the Mac-maker.

Apple promises the technology will let users “bypass CAPTCHAs in apps and on the web by allowing iCloud to automatically and privately verify your device and account.” Instead of solving a puzzle, the user’s Apple device will automatically confirm they’re a human, not a bot.

For users, the process is called Automatic Verification.

Private Access Tokens enable Automatic Verification

Unfortunately, the feature won’t completely replace CAPTCHAs without the support of app and website developers. Devs need to build Private Access Tokens into their websites or apps for Automatic Verification to be available. If an app or website does not, the Mac or iPhone user must go through the CAPTCHA.

Even so, the fact that Apple was able to drum up early interest from a pair of big cloud computing companies shows the tech has the potential to become widespread.

And, even with it barely getting off the ground, it’s probably worth the effort for anyone with a beta of iOS 16, macOS Ventura or iPadOS 16 to go to Settings > [User Name] > Password & Security and be sure that Automatic Verification is toggled on. Just to be ready.


Daily round-ups or a weekly refresher, straight from Cult of Mac to your inbox.

  • The Weekender

    The week's best Apple news, reviews and how-tos from Cult of Mac, every Saturday morning. Our readers say: "Thank you guys for always posting cool stuff" -- Vaughn Nevins. "Very informative" -- Kenly Xavier.