Sign in with Apple was one of the most exciting new things announced at Apple’s WWDC last year, promising a mandatory privacy conscious alternative in apps that otherwise require you to connect to Facebook or Google. But half a year later, very few services are actually using it. So, where is it? And why isn’t it already everywhere?
Sign in with Apple sounds pretty wonderful for users who already have an iCloud account, which is basically everyone using an iPhone. Apple promises it won’t track you between apps, and you can choose whether or not to give the developer your real email address or a specially generated burner email address that you can abandon at any time so you don’t have to worry about your details being sold.
For developers, it’s more of a mixed bag. It’s good in that it provides two-factor authentication for users without any extra effort on the developer’s part, and they know that if users are getting their emails it’s because they want them. But user data is a helpful income source, and a large part of the business model for many app developers.
Getting users to sign in with services like Facebook means they have access to other information that users might not feel comfortable handing over in a manual sign-up process; like a list of all their friends, their likes, birthdate, and what other apps they’re using. That kind of info makes it much easier to market to them and their friends.