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Automatic Verification – iOS can help you skip CAPTCHAs

Did you know iOS 16 can help you skip those annoying CAPTCHA tests that websites use to check you’re a real person?

These tests, usually comprising of spotting cars in a grid of images, or correctly transcribing wiggly nonsense words, were originally designed to cut access to automated spam bots. They’re a protective measure to keep websites free from spam, but they’re not entirely successful. Machine learning has evolved to the point where bots can bypass these tests, and meanwhile real humans with visual impairments are often unfairly denied access.

All that considered, there must be a more effective and less irksome way to check if a user is human? Well, as of last year’s iOS 16, there is! Safari now has the capability to bypass these tests for you, but it’s not foolproof. Here’s how it works.

(Ever wondered what CAPTCHA stands for? Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart. What a mouthful – no wonder they shortened it!)

Automatic Verification

Apple has developed a solution that sends websites a verification token proving your authenticity without need to fill out the CAPTCHA test. When activated, the process is automatic – but it’s not yet accepted by all websites, as developers have to manually configure their sites to work with Apple’s token.

That may be why Apple seemingly hasn’t pushed this feature in any of its iOS 16 marketing. It’s a great improvement to CAPTCHAs, but it may take time to become widespread. Still, in the meantime, turning Automatic Verification on may allow you to skip over a handful of these pesky tests.

You’ll want to make sure this feature is switched on, which you can do from the Settings app. Tap your Apple ID at the top of the menu, then choose Password & Security. You’ll find the Automatic Verification toggle at the bottom of this screen. Most users should find it on by default, but it wouldn’t hurt to check.

This feature is compatible with iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and even macOS Ventura.