Apple has actively been working on making iPhone the sole thing people have to carry while out and about. The company has successfully eliminated the need to carry items such as diary, laptop, car insurance card, credit card, home keys, etc. They also recently announced plans to help humanity get rid of the need for car keys. However, in the USA iPhones have not yet been able to be used as an official I.D. such as a passport or a driver’s license.
Adding an airline ticket to your iPhone wallet has been possible for years, but travelers still have to carry a physical form of identification when traveling overseas. Many have said that if iPhones can read your passport, they will also be able to replace it, but the company has been struggling with this task as passports and I.D. cards are still a requirement for international travel.
However, Apple Insider pointed out that sooner than later, iPhones might be upgraded with technology good enough to allow people to use it as a form of physical identification such as a library card, I.D., passport, and other physical documents used for verification. The revelation comes after the bloggers spotted a patent application in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office submitted by Apple that could be seen here.
According to the Apple Insider, “under this proposal, a device such as an iPhone could securely transmit some form of I.D. If the owner of the device is already verified, say by the biometric sensors in Apple Watch, that verifies the I.D. being sent.” Apple’s been keen on developing such technology for years but they have always known that for identity to be legal, it must be somehow authenticated by the government, and building that technical bridge would be a challenging task. Perhaps if the patent gets approved, that may be another step that would get Apple closer to developing the technology that would satisfy government requirements and allow the smartphone to be used as a legal travel document.
In an article published in 2019, Computer World highlighted that “a senior member of the current U.K. government has revealed that Apple will make it possible for iPhones to successfully scan the RFID chips used in U.K. biometric passports to assist E.U. nationals seeking residency in Brexit Britain.” So replacing passports with iPhones might be happening sooner than later as U.K. already left the European Union and the transition period, when such technology would be desperately needed, is set to end on December 31st, 2020.
Getting rid of the passports has been one of Apple’s dreams for many years so it is exciting to see that the tech giant is continuing to actively work on developing the technology. Smartphones are already a massive part of people’s lives, and sadly those devices are also often targeted by hackers. Knowing that your mobile device will be your passport one day is as exciting as it is scary. Having mobile devices equipped with the latest antivirus software security will be as important in the future as it is crucial right now.