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Microsoft Authenticator Support for Apple Watch Ends in January

The Microsoft Authenticator app, used to assure secure authentications, won't be compatible with the Apple Watch, starting next month.

Apple Watch users using the Microsoft Authenticator app are being advised by Microsoft to delete it because its security features won't be supported after a January update. That advice is buried in this Microsoft Authenticator app support article, which offered the following explanation:

In the upcoming Authenticator release in January 2023 for iOS, there will be no companion app for watchOS due to it being incompatible with Authenticator security features. This means you won't be able to install or use Authenticator on Apple Watch. We therefore recommend that you delete Authenticator from your Apple Watch.

The security features of the Microsoft Authenticator app that may have been stumbling blocks for the Apple Watch weren't described. However, in October, Microsoft added number matching, plus location context and app context security features. Readers of Microsoft's October announcement had requested that those security features should be available on the Apple Watch, too, as indicated by the comments, but Microsoft stayed mum about such prospects.

It was reader "Ryan Steele," in a Dec. 9 comment in Microsoft's October post, who noticed that Microsoft support article was signaling the end of Microsoft Authenticator support on the Apple Watch.

Beyond the brief mention in Microsoft's obscure support article, Microsoft hasn't given the coming lack of Authenticator support in the Apple Watch much publicity.

Microsoft Authenticator support for the Apple Watch first previewed more than four years ago. With it, Apple Watch users could use a PIN or biometric response for two-factor authentications, without requiring a smartphone.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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