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Use Sign In With Apple to Protect Your Privacy. 5 Things to Know About the Security Feature

If you're looking for a secure way to sign in to an app or website on your iOS device, try Sign In with Apple. Here's how to use it.

Sign in screen in Spanish
Sign In with Apple will appear on apps. You could also use an email address instead.
Érika García/CNET

Sign In with Apple is a privacy tool that helps improve iOS users' security when using third-party apps and websites with their Apple ID. It has been available for some time. You can choose the Sign In with Apple tool to verify your credentials instead of signing in with Facebook, Google or making a brand-new account on an app or website. 

Sign In with Apple is part of the tech giant's commitment to privacy. In the last few years, Apple has added more privacy controls to iOS, including the ability to stop apps from tracking you across websites and "nutrition labels" that let you see what information apps collect before you download. 

Here's everything you need to know about how Sign In with Apple works and how to use it. Plus, here's how to check your iPhone's privacy settings in two easy steps and nine rules for strong passwords

How to use Sign In with Apple

1. When you open an app or website, if it supports Sign In with Apple, simply tap Continue with Apple

Tech Tips logo
Brett Pearce/CNET

2. Accept or deny any permissions the app asks for.

3. Follow the onscreen prompts regarding your Apple ID. You can choose to edit your name or share or hide your email. Choose Continue. 

4. Enter your passcode when prompted. You can also confirm with Face ID or Touch ID. If you don't have any of the three, you can use your Apple ID password. 

As long as you're signed in on your device, you'll be signed in to the app. To sign out, just locate the settings in the app or website and choose Sign Out. You'll need to repeat the process if you want to sign back in.

How Sign In with Apple works

Sign in with Apple uses your iOS device to verify your credentials instead of using your social account logins, which could make you vulnerable to being tracked online. With the Hide My Email option, Apple creates a random email address -- you'll recognize it by the unique alphanumeric string followed by @privaterelay.appleid.com.

Apple logo and the words Sign in with Apple
James Martin/CNET

The random email address can only be used for one specific app. The app or website will use the generated email, but Apple will forward any correspondence to your real email, protecting your identity. You can reply to whichever emails you like without exposing your personal email address. Apple lets you turn off the email forwarding feature at any time as well.

Sign In with Apple says it won't use any of your information aside from what's required to let you sign in and out of an account. The tool also employs two-factor authentication with Face ID or Touch ID. If you don't see the Sign In option, that means the app or website doesn't support it yet. 

Read moreDumping Passwords Can Improve Your Security -- Really

How do I find out which apps support Sign In with Apple?

1. Open the Settings app on an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, and tap your name.

2. Tap Passwords and Security

3. Choose Apps Using Your Apple ID.

From there -- if you've used Sign In -- you should see a list of apps. You can tap through each app and see what preferences you put in place or change them, as well as read the app or website's privacy policy. You can also toggle off email forwarding here as well as stop using your Apple ID with the app. 

Here's how to do it on a Mac:

1. Choose the Apple menu.

2. Open System Preferences.

3. Click Edit

A laptop open on a table
Dan Ackerman/CNET

And here's how to do it from a web browser:

1. Sign in to appleid.apple.com.
2. Find the Security section.
3. Select Manage Apps and Websites under Sign In with Apple.
4. Choose Manage.

Read more: 3 Old Password Rules That Turned Out to Be Dumb Today

How to change your forwarding email address

If you use Hide My Email and need to make some changes, here's how on mobile:

1. Open Settings. 

2. Tap your name.

3. Tap Name, Phone Numbers, Email.

4. Tap Forward to under Hide My Email.

5. Choose a new email address to use in forwarding. 

The new address you enter will apply across all the apps you're using the Hide My Email feature with. 

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How Sign In with Apple is different from using Facebook or Google login

Sign In with Apple is only visually similar to the icons that let you use your Google or Facebook credentials. While signing in with Facebook or Google might seem easier, a lot of personal information is attached to those accounts, like your nicknames, hometown and birthday. This data might seem unimportant at first glance, but some of that is prime security question fodder for your bank account and other sensitive information. 

Sign In with Apple also gives you more control over the permissions apps and websites have access to. You can pick and choose which apps have to ask your permission each time it requests your location data from Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It's handy if you're trying out a new app or you don't plan on using an app often, for example.

For more, check out how to stop your iPhone apps from tracking you and the best iPhone VPNs.