Google now provides an additional option for secure authentication: a passkey that is linked to the PIN or biometric authentication on your device. This passkey is stored only on your device and not in the cloud, making it an even safer way to sign in to your account.

Passkeys are a new, passwordless authentication method that offers a convenient authentication experience for sites and apps, using just a fingerprint, face scan, or other screen lock. They are designed to enhance online security for users. Because they are based on the public key cryptographic protocols that underpin security keys, they are resistant to phishing and other online attacks, making them more secure than SMS, app-based one-time passwords, and other forms of multi-factor authentication (MFA). And since passkeys are standardized, a single implementation enables a passwordless experience across browsers and operating systems. 

Currently, you can create a passkey on any compatible hardware, including laptops/desktops with Windows 10 or macOS Ventura (or later) running Chrome 109, Safari 16, or Edge 109 or later.

If you’re setting up a passkey on a mobile phone or tablet, it must run iOS 16 or Android 9 (or later). You can also use it with any hardware security key that supports the FIDO2 protocol.

You will also need to have a screen lock enabled, and if you want to use your phone to sign into another device, such as a laptop, you will also need to have Bluetooth turned on.

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Finally, if you have a Google Workspace account through a school or employer, you won’t be able to set up a passkey for that account. (You can, however, use it for any personal Google account.)

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How do I set it up?

  • If you have an Android phone already signed into that account, you may have been automatically registered for a passkey. If that is the case, the device will be listed under Automatically created passkeys, and you can just click the blue Use passkeys button.
  • You will then get a pop-up saying that you can now use a passkey. Click Done.
  • If your device isn’t listed (if you’re using an iPhone, it probably won’t be), then select the Create a Passkey button at the bottom of the page. (Note: at this point, it will be much easier to use the device you want to use as a passkey — in other words, if you want to use your iPhone, then use your iPhone rather than your computer to follow these directions.)
  • You will get a pop-up that lets you use either the device you are currently using as the passkey (in which case, select Continue) or be prompted to select Use another device. If the latter, you will be given a QR code to scan with your phone’s camera.

If you are using an iPhone, you may also be asked to turn on iCloud Keychain.

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And you’re done!