Confirmed: iOS 13 to include support for NFC passport reading

An iPhone reading a passport via NFC
PASSPORT CHECK: iPhone users will at last be able to scan their passports to verify their identity

Apple’s update to its Core NFC framework for iOS 13 will include support for reading passports and ID documents, chip checker app maker Innovalor has confirmed to NFC World.

Innovalor’s ReadID app is used by the UK Home Office for its EU Exit: ID Document Check app and by European banks including Rabobank, ING, de Volksbank and DNB for customer ID verification. Until now, however, the app has only been available for Android NFC phones as Apple has not previously provided support for the functionality.

“I can confirm it works,” CEO Maarten Wegdam told NFC World. “We tested with UK passports, and no problems.”

“It is now possible to read the RFID chips that are in e-passports and identity cards using iPhones.”

The move will make it possible for iPhone users to provide official proof of their identity when signing up for services like a new bank account, without needing to make an in-person visit to a bank branch or other service provider.

A short demo video of ReadID for iOS shows how the new functionality will work:

“As virtually every citizen and consumer with a smartphone can now use ReadID, we are convinced this will have a major impact on the online use cases such as mobile onboarding for banks,” Wegdam says. “This will accelerate digitalization while reducing identity fraud.”

Apple announced the major upgrade of its Core NFC Framework for iOS 13 at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) this week. The new NFC functionality will make it possible to write to NFC tags from an iPhone for the first time and includes support for Mifare and FeliCa tags, a new kind of ‘value added service’ tag and for reading and writing to ISO 7816 smart cards and tags as well as ISO 15693 (NFC Forum Type 5) vicinity cards and tags.

Integration with Siri Shortcuts for single tap, multi-step automated workflows invoked by reading an NFC tag is also to be added.

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