Safari is allowed to support NFC, USB, and Lightning FIDO2-compatible security keys in iOS 13.3 updates for developers and public users. This feature was actually enabled in the first developer Beta release of iOS 13.3, but Beta 2, released today, provides more detailed information. “Now on devices with the necessary hardware capabilities, Safari, SF SafariViewController, and ASWeb, which uses the WebAuthn standard, support NFC, USB and Lightning FIDO2 compatible security keys. ”
In the iOS 13.3 update, Safari will support physical security keys, such as YubiKey with Lightning, for more secure two-factor authentication. Yubico announced the YubiKey 5Ci back in August, but at the time of its release, it had limited functionality because it was compatible with apps such as 1Password, though it could not be used with Safari, Chrome or other major browsers.
With Safari’s support, YubiKey 5Ci became a legitimate and useful tool. Since you don’t need to enter a secure password, it’s more convenient than software-based two-factor authentication, which you just need to plug into your iPhone or Mac device. Safari 13 in macOS has previously added support for FIDO2-compatible USB security keys using WebAuthn.
After the iOS 13.3 update, other NFC-based, USB and Lightning-based security keys will also be used with Safari. It’s not clear when iOS 13.3 will be released, but after weeks of beta testing, we expect to see the official release in December.