CAPTCHAs are, ironically, one of the most irritating pieces of technology ever invented to help humans. These tests try to stump software agents that won’t be able either to identify items shown accurately or to recognize numbers and text correctly. CAPTCHAs increasingly lack value, as machine-learning algorithms have leapfrogged them. Yet they persist and have become hard for us humans to solve in order to fight bots.
Apple introduced a bypass in iOS 16/iPadOS 16 and macOS 13 Ventura that you might not have yet seen the benefit of. But make sure the feature is enabled to ensure you do. Called Automatic Verification, it’s an Apple-developed system that lets the company send a token to a website that the site can accept in lieu of a CAPTCHA.
When you visit a site or use an app that requires you to solve a CAPTCHA, and it supports Automatic Verification, the developer can query your device through the browser to produce a token as a response. Apple uses one of its servers to validate that you’re logged into an Apple ID account and returns a token to the requesting web server or app. Apple says that it doesn’t learn from this process what app you’re using or site you’re visiting. Further, the party that receives the token doesn’t get your Apple ID or other identifying information—it only knows that Apple vouches for you in a verifiable way.
You can enable this feature, which appears turned on by default in updated operating systems. Here’s how:
In iOS and iPadOS 16, open the Settings app and tap on your Apple ID profile at the top. Then tap on Password & Security. At the bottom is a setting for Automatic Verification that you can switch on or off.
In macOS Ventura, go to System Settings and click on your Apple ID at the top left column. Select Password & Security in the main section, then scroll down to Automatic Verification and flip the switch.
There’s no way to know which websites or apps have enabled this feature. No developer or company appears to have announced support publicly, either! But with it turned on, you might notice over time that you’re pestered less about your humanity than in the past.
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