A new Apple patent suggests the company is considering the idea of letting users put their passports into their virtual Apple wallets.
As AppleInsider reports, the patent was filed on March 30th, and describes a system in which an electronic device could import credential data from an official piece of ID such as a passport or driver’s license. Once stored, the data can be validated upon request through either a PIN or a biometric scan, with all communications occurring via RFID or NFC.
Here’s how that might look in practice: A traveler has loaded a virtualized version of their passport into their iPhone. At the airport, when asked to present it, they show perform a fingerprint or face scan on the device. The issuing authority is then able to remotely confirm that, yes, the person who just performed the biometric scan is the registered passport holder for the virtual credential they are now presenting on their iPhone.
Obviously, this would all require the cooperation of a range of government authorities, from passport issuers to border control. But with some state authorities already exploring the use of mobile-based, virtual drivers’ licenses, it’s not crazy for Apple to imagine that the iPhone could one day house passports and other such identity documents.
For now, though, this is just one of Apple’s myriad IP holdings, many of which cover systems that are never actually implemented.