Windows 11 is going passwordless. Here's what you'll be using instead.

Choose the password-free lifestyle.
By Cecily Mauran  on 
"Forgot your password" link on a computer screen
Soon you'll never have to worry about resetting your password again. Credit: Getty Images

With the new Windows 11 update, Microsoft is one step closer to a passwordless future.

At the Microsoft Surface event on Tuesday, which also revealed new Surface devices and updated Copilot features, Microsoft debuted passwordless login to websites and apps — and other security features for its operating system built around using passkeys.

Unlike passwords, which are stored in servers (and can therefore be hacked or intercepted), passkeys are more secure because they exist locally on your device. But best of all, you don't have to remember passkeys to log into supported apps and websites. Instead, you can authenticate your identity with biometrics (e.g., facial recognition or fingerprint scanning). This then "unlocks" the passkey to access your accounts and website logins.

Companies like Microsoft and Apple have been moving steadily away from passwords, encouraging users to embrace biometric authentication and passkeys. Apple announced a similar passkey feature with iOS 17 for iPhone.

When Windows 11 drops on Sept. 26, users can create a passkey with Windows Hello and use it to access a website or application using facial recognition, fingerprint scanning, or a Windows PIN — without the need for a password. Thanks to Microsoft's industry partnerships and participation in the FIDO (Fast Identity Online) Alliance, this feature should work with GitHub, DocuSign, PayPal, and other sites that support passkeys.

Additionally, IT teams working with Windows 11 devices will be able to remove the option to input a password on Windows Hello for Business. This will encourage teams to opt for more secure ways of logging in like biometrics, 2FA, and passkeys.

Passkeys are a cybersecurity trend we welcome; it saves us the headache and worry of using passwords. So thanks, Microsoft, for giving us back some storage space in our brains.

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Cecily Mauran

Cecily is a tech reporter at Mashable who covers AI, Apple, and emerging tech trends. Before getting her master's degree at Columbia Journalism School, she spent several years working with startups and social impact businesses for Unreasonable Group and B Lab. Before that, she co-founded a startup consulting business for emerging entrepreneurial hubs in South America, Europe, and Asia. You can find her on Twitter at @cecily_mauran.

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