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UNC-Chapel Hill is moving towards passwordless logins! When used along with your Onyen, Carolina Key eliminates the need to use your password with many of the University’s systems.

How Does it Work?

When you use a Carolina Key, you’ll be able to skip entering your password because you’ve set up a device-specific authentication method.  In other words, the authentication methods you set up become your “Carolina Keys” for that device.  Some authentication methods are as easy as entering a four-digit PIN, while others take advantage of your device’s built-in security measures, like facial recognition or fingerprint scanning. You can also use authentication methods that require a physical security key, like a YubiKey or FIDO2 (fast identity online) key.  To read more about Carolina Key, visit the Carolina Key knowledge article page.

You’ll register each of your devices with Carolina Key and set authentication methods specifically for each device. The options are different depending on the type of device you’re using and what it’s capable of. For more information on each authentication method, see the “Device-Specific Info” menu option above.

Carolina Key works with all UNC web-based applications that use the single sign-on (SSO) process like Sakai, Canvas, ConnectCarolina, and TIM. Microsoft products use a different sign-on process, therefore you will not see a Carolina Key sign-in option for Heelmail.


  • Safety – your Carolina Key is resistant to one of the society’s biggest digital risks: phishing.
  • Speed – you can quickly sign on with a scan of your finger or face alone; no waiting for a two-step text or call.
  • Mobile – Carolina Key is supported across both Android and Apple ecosystems. Passkey even allows for synchronization across all of your devices so that any of your devices can be used to sign on.
  • Simplicity – Reduces the need to manually create and enter complicated passwords.
  • Privacy – if you choose to use a biometric, your device handles the biometric natively and Carolina Key is unaware of how your authentication was performed.

When am I Eligible for Carolina Key?

As of summer 2023, all students, faculty and staff are eligible to register devices for Carolina Key. If you’re using a Windows-based device, you’ll need to set up Windows Hello before you can register for Carolina Key.