The iPhone’s incoming mobile ID feature will use selfie biometrics for identity verification, suggests code uncovered by 9to5Mac. The news indicates that Apple will be even more directly in competition with other major pioneers of mobile ID solutions.
The mobile ID feature was first announced by Apple during its Worldwide Developer Conference in June of this year, when the company revealed that it planned to let iPhone users add virtual versions of their driver’s licenses to the Apple Wallet app after the iOS 15 operating system is launched. The company also indicated that it’s working with the Transportation Security Administration to get the virtual ID approved for use as an official identity document at airports.
Now, it looks like Apple is planning to use facial recognition to match iPhone users to the images on their driver’s licenses when they are uploading the IDs to the Apple Wallet. Citing “code and animation files” discovered in a beta version of iOS 15, 9to5Mac says that users will be asked to confirm their identities via selfie images.
The onboarding process will be similar to registration for Face ID, the sophisticated facial recognition system used to unlock newer iPhones and confirm certain transactions. But it will entail some extra friction for the end user, who will be directed to perform certain actions during the onboarding process such as turning their head, opening their mouth, or raising their eyebrows.
Selfie onboarding has become an exceedingly popular approach in recent years thanks in part to advances in facial recognition technology, and has been enthusiastically embraced by certain companies working to pioneer the mobile ID concept, such as Yoti and IDEMIA.
The latter has made groundbreaking progress with respect to its own Mobile ID solution, which also revolves around the uploading of virtual driver’s licenses and makes use of facial recognition for identity verification. The company has been working with multiple states to get it approved as an official form of ID.
As for Apple, the company had previously indicated that it would roll out its new mobile ID feature later this year. The iOS 15 update is expected to arrive this autumn, but a specific date hasn’t yet been revealed.