A reader has spotted that iOS 8.3 includes some new configuration options for password entry in the iTunes and App Store. Labelled as ‘Password Settings’, the new view allows users to configure how frequently Apple should ask for the user’s iTunes Store password for purchases. This includes allowing users to choose to allow free apps to be downloaded, no password necessary.

The first option allows users to require passwords immediately or expire after fifteen minutes. This option has existed in previous versions of iOS, under the Restrictions settings. However, the toggle below — ‘Require Password’ for free downloads is an altogether new option. It allows users to download free apps (and other iTunes content) with no need to type a password. Paid content still requires authentication based on the options above.

The setting is currently disabled on iOS 8.3 devices we tested, although presumably it will activate by the time iOS 8.3 is released to the public.

The new Password Settings options were added some time in the iOS 8.3 beta cycle but is a new discovery. This is partly because the feature is only exposed to users when Touch ID is disabled. This is because with Touch ID enabled, Apple clearly thinks the convenience-security is too low as buying content is already so seamless with the tap of a fingerprint.

For a while, free downloads did not require a password. However, Apple reverted on this behaviour which upset some users. With iOS 8.3, Apple will finally offer a compromise to users who are frustrated having to type their password in for free apps, music, books, movies and other iTunes content.

Also note that the no password required option for downloads is not currently showing up in all regions; the feature seems to be closely tied to the iTunes Store servers. Again, this seems like something that will be fixed up by the time iOS 8.3 is released.

Yesterday, we found that iOS 8.3 also includes enhancements to Siri to make calls on speakerphone. Apple seeded iOS 8 beta 3 to developers, as well as a Public Beta, last week. iOS 8.3 includes new Emoji keyboard with diverse variants, wireless CarPlay, additional international Siri languages and more.

Thanks Marco