The arrival of NFC to the iPhone 6 as well as subsequent iPhone releases was initially only intended for use as an Apple Pay feature. However, with the arrival of iOS 11, we saw that NFC chip be opened up for use by third-party developers and now one of those has done something that’s actually pretty useful.

YubiKey has taken advantage of the changes in iOS 11 to allow one of its own hardware keys to log into iOS apps via the magic of NFC.

Called the YubiKey NEO, the USB key was previously only used for Mac and PC applications, allowing them to plug the key into their computer whenever a service or app required two-factor authentication. This is a faster alternative to codes and whatnot, but the arrival of iOS 11 meant that a similar thing could be done via NFC on an iPhone. That’s exactly what YubiKey has done here by allowing users to access apps that support it.

Currently only the password manager LastPass can take advantage of the key, although this will hopefully change.

LastPass users with iPhone 7 or above, running iOS 11, can now authenticate to their LastPass Premium, Families, Teams and Enterprise accounts on their mobile device with the same YubiKey NEO that they use for their desktop or laptop.

At the time of mobile login, users can touch the YubiKey NEO to the iPhone to wirelessly transfer a Yubico one-time password and securely access the application. Current LastPass users will receive an automatic update to their iOS application via the App Store.

The YubiKey NEO costs $50 and if you’re a LastPass user, then this may be something worth checking out, although, it has to be said, something like Touch ID or Face ID does work just as well. If you’re all set up with a YubiKey already, though, do check this out.

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