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This new iPhone feature could make airport security lines a breeze

June 7, 2021, 9:19 PM UTC

iPhones just got a whole lot more useful.

The number of documents, passes, and cards supported by Apple Wallet is expanding. Most significantly, Apple said people will soon be able to scan and add state IDs and driver’s licenses to the digital wallet.

The feature will apply in “participating U.S. states” when the latest version of Apple’s mobile software—iOS 15—debuts in the fall, said Jennifer Bailey, head of Apple Pay, at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developer’s Conference on Monday. The company did not specify which states would participate.

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One of the first applications will be for travel. Apple is working with the U.S. Homeland Security Department’s Transportation Security Administration to enable digital ID-checking at airport security checkpoints, Bailey said.

“When you present your ID, you’ll know what specific information is requested and securely presented,” Bailey said. “With just a tap, you’re off to your flight.”

Apple has other wallet-related updates in store too. The company is improving on its digital car keys, which were first made available through a partnership with BMW last year. People will be able to unlock and start their vehicles remotely, without needing to remove the device from their pockets or bags, by using “ultra-wideband” radio technology, also in the fall.

Beyond cars, Apple is also adding the ability to unlock homes, offices, and hotel rooms. People will be able to access their virtual hotel room keys even before arriving at a hotel at more than 1,000 Hyatt properties worldwide starting this fall, Bailey said.

Apple continues to beef up its Apple Wallet to compete with rival apps, like Samsung Pay and Google Pay. Apple Wallet offers compatibility with many payment cards, transit cards for major metropolitan areas, and passes for Disney theme parks. In 2019, Apple partnered with Goldman Sachs and Mastercard to create its own credit card, Apple Card.

Payments on in-app transactions were the central focus of a lawsuit lodged last year by Epic Games against Apple. In recent weeks, the Fortnite video game maker argued in court that Apple is abusing its power as an alleged monopolist to extract unfair rents from app developers.

Apple disagrees. The case is being overseen by a federal judge who is expected to deliver a verdict later this year.

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