Germany Says iPhones Running iOS 13 Will Be Able to Read NFC Tags in National ID Cards and Passports

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jun 17, 2019.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    When iOS 13 arrives, iPhones will be able to read a wider range of Near Field Communication (NFC) tags, including the NFC tags often used in official documentation. Last week, The Verge reported that Japan had confirmed its national identity cards would support iPhone through a government-developed app, and now we're hearing that German authorities are also gearing up to make several forms of ID compatible with iPhone NFC interfaces.

    Image via

    First spotted by tech blog, Germany's interior ministry has announced that iOS 13 will soon allow Apple users to load national ID cards, residence permits, and biometric passports onto their iPhones. At the same time, the federal government's AusweisApp2 will be updated for iOS 13 to support the digital ID function.

    In current and earlier versions of iOS, Apple has restricted the NFC reader in iPhones to Apple Pay. iOS 13 removes that technical limitation so that iPhones can scan more NFC chips, but developers must gain approval from Apple before their apps can implement the feature.

    In another example of Apple opening up NFC access, the U.K. government recently confirmed that it had reached a deal with Apple to make its Brexit app for EU citizens' residency rights work on iPhones via the NFC chip. According to the German ministry, it and many other states have been in contact with Apple for a long time to negotiate NFC access, so users can expect other countries to announce official documentation support in the run-up to iOS 13's release in the fall.

    (Thanks, Chris!)

    Article Link: Germany Says iPhones Running iOS 13 Will Be Able to Read NFC Tags in National ID Cards and Passports
  2. macrumors 6502

    Jun 10, 2017
    I wonder if my YubiKey 5 NFC will work with the iPhone some day :(
  3. Kernel00 macrumors newbie

    Jun 17, 2019
  4. martyjmclean macrumors 6502


    Jan 24, 2018
    Sydney, NSW, Australia
    I hope this pushes other countries to adopt this! NSW thought about putting driver licenses in an app but they decided against it (seeing as its illegal for an L, P1 or P2 driver to have a mobile in the car).

    The only reason I still carry a wallet is for my licence and Medicare card.
  5. unfunfionn macrumors member


    Mar 12, 2015
    Berlin, Germany
    Finally. The government has been pushing the NFC capabilities of our ID cards for nearly a decade but you needed to buy a hardware reader and of course nobody did. This is a long overdue and very welcome development!
  6. GaryMumford macrumors 6502


    Jul 25, 2008
    Brexit app?
  7. TimFL1 macrumors 6502

    Jul 6, 2017
    Say what now? Germany one of the first to offer such a feature? Did hell freeze over?

    Or is a digital passport already available in other countries.
  8. Aaargh! macrumors member


    Mar 21, 2007
    Digital passports are pretty much standard nowadays.
  9. Birkan macrumors member


    Sep 11, 2011
    I believe it’ll be up to the developers to support 2FA with NFC since CoreNFC framework now supports writing to NFC tags as well. Additionally, it might be possible for Yubico to update their mobile SDK for use of smaller developers. We’ll probably see it by September at earliest
  10. AngerDanger macrumors 601


    Dec 9, 2008
  11. borntrouble macrumors 6502


    Jun 4, 2010
    Germany - Bavaria
    Great news, considering we are far behind when it comes to digitalization...
  12. nOw2 macrumors regular

    Sep 1, 2009
    It's the UK's system for registering non-British born Europeans (for later deportation or worse, no doubt). It only works on Android currently.
  13. asiga macrumors 6502a

    Nov 4, 2012
    At some point, I suppose people will realize that being fully monitored 24/7 from either governments or businesses is not a good thing. The problem is that when it's too late, people say "we are all controlled by big-bro, there's no escape"... but when there was a chance to escape, they all cheered up and welcomed the full electronic control of their lives.

    It's eerie to realize that movies like "1984" or "Gattaca" are not sci-fi anymore.

    BTW: Will you also cheer up if the FBI can use this, or is it cool for every government agency but the FBI?
  14. haruhiko macrumors 601


    Sep 29, 2009
    Read: China.
  15. chucker23n1 macrumors 68020


    Dec 7, 2014
    It’s kind of controversial. Surveillance/privacy concerns vs. fairy limited end user benefits.

    Yes. It’s used to register as a resident hailing from the EU.
  16. [AUT] Thomas, Jun 17, 2019
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 17, 2019

    [AUT] Thomas macrumors 6502

    Mar 13, 2016
    Graz [Austria]
    Holy ****! Finally!
    I waited for this for ages... Let's hope Austria makes it happen too. The current generation of the CitizenCard ("Bürgerkarte") isn't NFC capable, but the next one will be. So that would be a great opportunity.

    Let's hope we see NFC in the MacBooks as well, as otherwise this might not be usable to its full extent...
  17. Neodym macrumors 68000


    Jul 5, 2002
    I do understand your reservedness here, but from my understanding this is only a digital representation of an official document, which allows you to reduce the amount of plastic cards you carry around.

    When you get controlled by some authority (e.g. police doing road check), you would have to present your ID Card anyway. I can't see the difference to presenting a digital representation.

    If you're afraid of being tracked: Having a digital representation of your ID card (or driver's license etc.) on your smartphone is the least of your problems - it'd be more about switching that wiretap device off that you carry around all of the time.

    This all assumes, of course, that there is no secret backdoor allowing whatever agency to spy unnoticed by installing "special software" in secret. But if Apple would allow this and it would ever come to light, Apple would have its reputation destroyed, which may be a devastating (if not lethal) blow to the business model of the whole company - even more so, as they seem to be busier than ever explaining to people how much they value privacy and to which lengths they go to ensure it.

    btw.: "Gattaca" is less about 24/7 monitoring, but instead much more about the ethical problems of being able to analyse (and manipulate) genetic prerequisites and deduct predictions for the whole life development of an individual person. Can't really see the relation to having a digital representation (i.e. different "physical" form) of a simple ID card, which is mandatory in many countries anyway. Or do you question the requirement for an ID card in the first place?
  18. splitpea macrumors 6502a

    Oct 21, 2009
    Among the starlings
    What about strangers at the airport loading your ID into their phones?
  19. revres macrumors member

    Jun 3, 2014
    What about strangers going to the airport with your ID? The same, they will keep comparing the picture they can read out with your face.

    At the European Airports there are automated terminals where they read out your passport information and then compare your face with it. The same thing can be done via NFC from the iPhone
  20. Val-kyrie macrumors 68000

    Feb 13, 2005
    So where are the safeguards against digital identity theft?

    Using NFC scanners to steal information has been a real threat for at least two decades.
  21. revres macrumors member

    Jun 3, 2014
    There are many security measures already implemted and i am sure the same will be done if its integrated in the App.
    For example if you want to read out the full Passport (basic information can be read out anyways), you need knowledge of some data like the CAN.
  22. RosOne macrumors regular

    Jun 19, 2009
    Could someone please explain the use case? Why would I want to NFC-read my ID or that of someone else?

    I’m clearly missing something here hmm
  23. revres macrumors member

    Jun 3, 2014
    In Germany you can the authenticate directly to some goverment organisations with your ID and get out directly the informations you need (Example you want to know how much your pension will be or you need a report from the police for your employer that you have not done something in the past). This is already working with an PC or Android. The ID is protected by a pin code you can choose.
  24. RosOne macrumors regular

    Jun 19, 2009
    Yea, I understand that. But my question is why would I care that my iPhone can read that?
  25. revres macrumors member

    Jun 3, 2014
    Because you would otherwise need to buy a specific reader.
    As well the use case to store your ID for checks at the airport would assist in some situations as you don’t need to carry it around (let’s see how this will be implemented)

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