Apple Could Let You Store Your Passport on an iPhone

By Tom Pritchard on at

Apple has been very keen on trying to make sure the iPhone can replace a bunch of other stuff you'd normally carry around. Credit cards, loyalty cards, gig tickets, plane tickets, and so on. Now it looks like it might be considering taking things a step further, and seeing whether it's possible to store your passport on the iPhone.

All of this talk stems from a patent that was discovered (via Apple Insider). This patent involves a "document importation into secure element" and involves an RFID chip inside acting as a form of secure storage for acquiring a "portion of credential information" from an identification document. Documents from government bodies, like passports, driving licenses, and so on. When an authentication request is triggered, the user will have to verify it with either a password or some sort of biometric check.

The patent notes that this idea isn't a new one, with the rise of e-passports using essentially the same technology - albeit one stored in an electronic device rather than a dedicated book. The only major concern is that of security, considering how valuable phones are already would it be safe enough to keep such a sensitive document inside a phone? Likewise, what happens when your phone inevitably runs out of power? Nobody wants to be on the wrong side of border control panicking because they haven't seen a plug socket since they left their destination.

But this is just a patent, and there's no telling whether Apple may consider implementing this as an actual feature. Especially since digital passports would require the approval of pretty much every country and border agency if they're going to be of any use. It's no good having a passport in your phone if you need to carry the physical thing just in case.

It'll be a while before we can even hope to see anything like this, so let's wait and see what happens. [Apple Insider via Ubergizmo]