Though some may consider the Touch Bar on the 2016 MacBook Pro a gimmick, there is no denying that Touch ID is the best feature to ever come to the Mac.
I've been regularly using the 2016 MacBook Pro since it arrived on my doorstep nearly three months ago. I love many things about it, but I've been at odds with what I think about the Touch Bar since day one. I probably use it more often than most, but still don't use it often enough. One thing about the 2016 MacBook Pro I do use regularly, and consider it to be the most important new feature for Mac, is Touch ID.
Touch ID lets me create even more complex passwords
Thanks to Touch ID on the iPhone and iPad, I've been much better at creating long, complex passwords for my Apple ID. In the past, I still reigned it in because I knew I had to remember those passwords, or at least find them in my password manager app, while on my Mac. Now that I have Touch ID on my Mac, I use a nice string of complex numbers, letters, and symbols that I don't mind forgetting because I can simply use Touch ID to buy movies, music, apps, and more, even on my Mac. Sure, I have to manually enter my password once in a while, but I can look it up using my password manager, 1Password, which also supports Touch ID on the Mac!
I can also make sure my Mac is more secure by creating a complex password just to unlock the device at all. Touch ID makes it possible for me to log in with just a touch, even if my passcode is 25 characters long. Of course, just like on the iPhone, you still have to manually log in every time you restart your Mac or update your operating system, so I have my passcode written down, too.
More apps supporting Touch ID, please!
After experimenting with a couple of apps that support Touch ID (there are very few of them right now), I've discovered just how much I love having the ability to use my fingerprint to confirm my identity when logging in to something or making online purchases.
For example, I can, again, create a long, complex password for 1Password – more complex than I've ever made before – because most of the time, I'll be using my fingerprint to log in instead.
I love using Apple Pay on the web now. Sometimes, I even buy stuff from websites that support Apple Pay just because I can use Touch ID on my Mac to confirm. There is something special and elite about the process.
I really want to see more apps support Touch ID. Basically, any Mac app that requires a log in should also support Touch ID, like journaling apps, finance services, social networking accounts, and email clients. You can see just how many programs could benefit from being able to use biometrics to confirm your log in.
I wish I could use Touch ID for everything I log into. I wish I could use it with every website that allows online payments. I also wish every place I log in to or make purchases from would require two-factor authentication so I could doubly protect my information.
It's the convenience factor that wins every time
Touch ID on the Mac does not make it more secure, it simply makes it easier to create ultra strong passwords without worrying about having to type 25 or more characters each time. I never had a particularly long Apple ID password or Mac log in passcode before. Now, they are long and strong and much harder to hack.
I've been using a password manager for years, which allows me to create complex passwords for my many log in accounts, but that still requires multiple steps, whether I'm on my iPhone or my Mac. I absolutely love it when an app supports 1Password on my iPhone and really want to see more of this support on my Mac, but I'd be even happier if the app directly supported Touch ID logins.
I can say without question that I'd probably switch email or journaling Mac apps if there were any that supported Touch ID.
It's still smart to disable Touch ID sometimes
Just like it is a smart idea to disable Touch ID on your iPhone when going through Airport security, it is smart to disable it on your Mac sometimes. We live in a world of unknowns and vague regulations. Different countries have different laws about privacy. It is much easier to force you to place your finger on a key to unlock your Mac than it is to force you to give up your password.
To be clear, I'm not promoting the idea that Touch ID on the Mac somehow makes it more secure than a Mac that does not have it. I'm championing the fact that Touch ID makes it easier to use long, complex passwords for your logins, which in turn, makes your personal data more secure. It's important to continue to use the same security measures you've used with your iPhone.
Touch ID for everybody!
I love Touch ID on the MacBook Pro and hope that Apple really is working on a Magic Keyboard that will allow all Mac users the ability to strengthen their passwords and make their digital lives more secure. I'm also calling out to all Mac app developers to get your s#@t together and add Touch ID support if your app uses any sort of account log in!