iOS 12 to Allow iPhones to Unlock Doors Via NFC

Apple is expected to expand the NFC capabilities of its iPhones beyond mobile payments, allowing users to securely unlock doors equipped with the technology, according to The Information. The company is said to be planning to announce the new functionality "next month," suggesting it will come at WWDC as part of the iOS 12 unveiling.

The change to the near-field communication, or NFC, chip, which is expected to be announced next month, could pave the way for people to use iPhones for other security-sensitive interactions, from paying transit fares and opening car doors to verifying their identity in other ways.

Already, employees at Apple’s new campus in Cupertino, Calif., are using their iPhones to gain access to buildings and offices, suggesting that the technology has been deployed there, people familiar with the matter said.
The Information reported nearly four years ago that Apple was looking to expand NFC capabilities to building security and transit ticketing, working with its campus security vendor HID Global on the technology.

Today's report notes that while Bluetooth is already used to manage some smart locks using iPhones, NFC offers a more secure method for connections and authentication, an important consideration for companies and government agencies in particular.

Related Roundup: iOS 12
Tag: NFC

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Wells Fargo Adds Apple Pay Support to More Than 5,000 ATMs

Wells Fargo today announced that NFC functionality is now available at more than 5,000 of its ATMs across the United States.


The technology enables customers to initiate an ATM transaction by holding their smartphone or wearable device with mobile payment functionality near an NFC-enabled ATM terminal and inputting their PIN.

Supported digital wallets include Apple Pay, Android Pay, Samsung Pay, and the bank's own Wells Fargo Wallet for Android.

Customers that have added their Wells Fargo debit card to Apple Pay, for example, can simply hold their iPhone near the ATM, enter their PIN, and complete a transaction, with no physical plastic card required.

Wells Fargo said it plans to upgrade the rest of the company's more than 13,000 ATMs with NFC by 2019. NFC-enabled terminals are marked with the universal contactless card symbol.

Earlier this year, Wells Fargo launched a separate one-time access code feature that lets customers authenticate at an ATM by entering an 8-digit code generated from the Wells Fargo app, along with their PIN, for card-free access.

Bank of America also began rolling out Apple Pay support for withdrawing cash from hundreds of its ATMs last year.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay

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iOS 11’s New NFC Feature Being Tested for Contactless Entry to MLB Games

iOS 11 gives developers access to the NFC chip in Apple's most recent iPhone models for the first time, allowing for apps that are able to read NFC tags in places like museums and retail stores.

The MLB today announced that the Oakland Athletics have tested a new ticketing feature that takes advantage of NFC, letting users enter the stadium by tapping an iPhone to a ticket scanner, much like Apple Pay.

The test was conducted during six games starting on September 22 following the launch of iOS 11, and as TechCrunch points out, it marks the first time that a professional sporting event has supported contactless tickets in Apple Wallet. Tap to enter isn't radically different than scanning a barcode on a virtual ticket on an iPhone, but it's faster and less prone to errors.

Following this test, the feature, being developed by Tickets.com, will be rolled out ahead of the 2018 season for the 23 MLB teams that use Tickets.com for ticketing purposes.

NFC has been a supported feature in iOS devices since Apple Pay first launched, but Apple previously limited its use to contactless Apple Pay payments. A new Core NFC iOS 11 framework expands the functionality of the NFC chip, introducing a new "Reader Mode" supported in the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X.


With Reader Mode and a compatible app, an iPhone that's near a real-world NFC tag can recognize and read the tag, opening a linked website or providing other information about whatever's being scanned.

An example of an NFC tag at a botanical garden

NFC tags are already used in a variety of places like landmarks, botanical gardens, stores, museums, and more because Android devices have been able to read NFC tags for some time. Apple's adoption of the feature is more limited than Android because it requires companies to build an app with NFC support to read NFC tags, but it could spur wider adoption of NFC functionality.

Tag: NFC

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