Mobile app developers who care about security will be excited to implement Sign in with Apple and see how this balance of user experience, privacy and security will propel the industry forward. The feature isn’t just a way for Apple to keep more users in its ecosystem; it’s also an indicator of the future of secure sign-in for any user and the way in which brands and their end users will redefine the login experience.
What Is Sign in with Apple, and Why Does it Matter?
Announced at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in September, the feature is intended to provide Apple users with a more secure and seamless to any app that offers it. On the surface, Sign in with Apple adds complexity in the development process and creates an additional layer that third-party app developers need to now take into consideration.
But Sign in with Apple is more than added complexity. It spawns a new conversation about the sign-in process and, in turn, what it means for both the vendors that provide it and the end users who take advantage of it. And this is an interesting point where the world of user experience meets the world of privacy-first login in ways that are different than before. And is surely an indication of future trends to come.
Sign in with Apple Has a Timeline
Apple has given every product in its App Store just six months to fully incorporate its single sign-in feature into backend code. And while it may seem like a no-brainer for dev teams to get moving solely for this reason, only a small fraction of the more than 2 million applications in the app store have adopted Sign in with Apple, according to the Wall Street Journal. Given the five months vendors had before the deadline hits, it’s natural that developers have held off on approaching the task.
While the integration process may seem arduous, it certainly doesn’t have to be (more on this later). By getting started sooner rather than later, developers set themselves up for a painless transition: Early adoption means more time to fix bugs or address negative user feedback. It is in the best interest of both developers and end users that product teams allow for a “trial and error” period before the mandate is enforced after April.
As important as the optics associated with Sign in with Apple are, early integrators also prove that they take the protection of their users’ data seriously. Scrutiny on identity protection, data privacy and user data security is only going to increase in the months and years to come. It’s worth the extra effort today to build in the features that future users will expect—and future developers will take for granted.
Sign in with Apple Enables Better Privacy Protection
End users have a right to know exactly what Google and Facebook are gaining by providing single sign-in capabilities. But too many of us—developers and users alike—have gotten apathetic about it. In our eagerness to skip past lengthy “terms and conditions” agreements so we can enjoy the app’s capabilities, users miss some important information that they actually might want to know about.
For example, both Google and Facebook are gathering insurmountable amounts of user data with every login experience, which directly feeds advertising customization efforts, data sales between vendors and geographic tracking of users.
With Apple’s version, data is limited to simply a name and a temporary, obfuscated email address that Apple creates on a per-app basis, which is not shared beyond Apple’s secure databases. Additionally, native iOS, iPadOS and MacOS applications can leverage Face ID or Touch ID, eliminating the need for usernames and passwords altogether.
Developers should consider the privacy advantages of Sign in with Apple because end users will get past their apathy and start demanding solutions that protect their data and privacy.
Sign in with Apple Integration Doesn’t Require Lost Dev Team Time and Resources
Development and product teams may be hesitant to incorporate Sign in with Apple simply because they feel too strapped for time and resources to put cycles into additional coding and backend work. But with the right tools and services Sign in with Apple doesn’t cause big headaches. There are vendors that anticipated Apple’s requirement and already created seamless integrations across different devices to save developers’ energy.
Technically, app developers have until April to make Sign in with Apple a reality. But the smart ones will tackle this problem right now. It’s not just about meeting a requirement, it’s about building a product that end users can trust.
Most app developers aren’t security experts or sign in experts, nor should they have to be. But Sign in with Apple gives them an opportunity to experience the convergence of user experience, security and privacy, which is setting a precedent that others will soon follow. The April 2020 deadline will quickly approach, so there is no time like the present, especially when there are solutions that can help implement it very easily. Beyond saving time, working with a third-party source for Sign in with Apple lets developers do what they do best: build cool apps that people want to use.
— Matias Woloski