About “Sign in with Apple”: Everything You Need to Know

You might seen the “Sign in with Google” or “Sign in with Facebook” option while trying to signing up or registering an account on a website or app.

This feature is known as “third-party sign in” or “third-party log in” and it has become very common. You can see them on pretty much all apps you download your App Store or Play Store. This feature saves the hassle of creating new accounts and remembering multiple passwords.

Understanding Third-Party Logins:

Imagine the convenience of using your existing social media accounts like Google, Facebook, or Microsoft to sign in to various apps. This is the essence of third-party logins – a streamlined approach that eliminates the need for creating new accounts and remembering countless passwords. These platforms act as intermediaries, verifying your identity and sharing some basic information with the app developer.

Benefits of Third-Party Login Feature

  • Convenience: Log in quickly without the need to set up new accounts.
  • Less Password Fatigue: Reduce the burden of remembering numerous passwords.
  • Increased Security: Often provides an additional layer of security through the use of existing account verifications and two-factor authentication.

Major Players in the Game:

Several tech giants offer third-party login solutions, each catering to specific user bases and purposes. Here are some prominent examples:

  • Google: Google Sign-In leverages your existing Google account for app access, widely used across various platforms.
  • Facebook: Facebook Login allows you to connect to apps using your Facebook credentials, another popular option.
  • Microsoft: Integrates seamlessly with Microsoft products and services through Microsoft Account login.
  • GitHub: Facilitates login for developer-oriented apps with GitHub Sign-In, primarily used by developers.
  • ORCID: Simplifies access to research platforms and tools for the academic community.

Sign in with Apple

Apple introduced its own third-party login offering – “Sign in with Apple” – with a strong emphasis on user privacy and control over data sharing. This feature stands out by allowing users to sign in to apps and websites without sharing their personal information with the app developer. Users can choose to share their email address with the app, but it’s not mandatory, showcasing Apple’s commitment to privacy.

Apple’s Mandatory Implementation

In March 2020, Apple mandated “Sign in with Apple” for any app on the App Store that uses third-party logins. This policy aims to give users more control over their data and ensure a consistent sign-in experience across the Apple ecosystem. Developers were given a deadline of April 30, 2020, to implement this feature, underlining the importance Apple places on privacy and security within its platform.

Concerns with Third-Party Login

The integration of third-party login options like “Sign in with Apple,” or “Sign in with Google,” offers undeniable convenience. However, beneath this convenience lies a layer of concerns that users must be aware of.

One primary concern revolves around data privacy and security. When you opt for a third-party login, you’re essentially permitting these services to share certain pieces of your personal information with the app or website you’re signing into. Even though companies like Apple have taken significant steps to minimize the amount of data shared, the risk cannot be entirely eliminated. The information that gets shared might include your email address, name, and possibly your profile picture, depending on the platform and the permissions you’ve granted.

Another concern is the potential for data breaches. While your password might not be directly at risk if you’re using a third-party login (since you’re not creating a new one for each site), if the third-party service experiences a security breach, your linked accounts could become vulnerable. This risk underscores the importance of understanding exactly what information is being shared and how it’s being protected.

Lastly, there’s the concern of over-reliance on these third-party services. If for some reason you lose access to your Google, Facebook, or Apple account, you could find yourself locked out of all the services and apps where you’ve used this login method.

While “Sign in with Apple” has been designed with privacy at its core, offering users the option to share minimal information and even use disposable email addresses for app sign-ins, these measures don’t entirely eliminate the concerns mentioned. It’s a significant step forward in the right direction for privacy, but users should remain informed and cautious about the broader implications of third-party logins.