Microsoft ditches Android for Apple iPhones in China, citing security and authentication issues

    Microsoft will provide Apple iPhones to its employees in China who currently use Android devices. Bloomberg reported that the company has requested that its employees in China switch to Apple iPhones for work purposes starting in September. 

    Microsoft move aimed to improve security

    The Bloomberg report said that the move aims to improve security and gain access to necessary authentication apps, as stated in an internal memo. This shift aligns with Microsoft‘s efforts to enhance security measures and streamline its mobile device management.

    The company offers its employees who currently use Android devices from manufacturers like Huawei and Xiaomi the option to purchase an Apple iPhone 15 as a one-time replacement. This offer is available at various locations throughout China, where Google services can be accessed, as well as in Hong Kong.

    The company made the decision due to Google’s unavailability of mobile services in China. This has prevented users from downloading critical security apps like Microsoft Authenticator and Identity Pass. Microsoft entered the Chinese market in 1992.

    Microsoft Authenticator is an app that helps users sign in to all their accounts through fingerprint, face recognition, or a PIN instead of a password. In May 2024, the company introduced pass keys for Microsoft accounts, where customers can use their face identity, fingerprint, or device PIN to sign in instead of using multiple passwords for different accounts.

    What is Microsoft Identity Pass?

    Microsoft Identity Pass is a cloud identity service that allows users to sign in using their Microsoft identities or social media accounts. These apps are only available on the Apple App Store; hence, Apple iPhones are necessary for Microsoft’s safety and security protocols. 

    Microsoft introduced the Secure Future Initiative in November to tackle string cyber attacks. Secure Future Initiative will incorporate automation and AI to scale this work and strengthen identity protection against advanced cyberattacks. It aims to address cloud vulnerabilities, secure credentials, and enforce multi-factor authentication. The compulsory use of Apple iPhone is a part of the Secure Future Initiative.

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