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iOS 18 APIs suggest more digital ID integrations coming to Apple Wallet

iOS 18 APIs suggest more digital ID integrations coming to Apple Wallet

A set of APIs bundled with iOS 18 indicates that more digital IDs may soon be integrated with Apple Wallet.

In recent months, legislative changes in Japan have set up the digitization of national digital ID cards. Japan’s My Number social security and taxation identification cards were also utilized to track the evacuation status of disaster victims following a powerful earthquake in the Noto Peninsula in central Japan, as reported by the Japan Times.

Despite previously reported security concerns over the support of My Number ID in Apple Wallet, the situation has evolved. During WWDC24, Apple announced the first non-U.S. ID support in the Apple Wallet, which is expected to be released with iOS 18 later this year.

This was further confirmed by kormaxmac, a Reddit user who described himself to Biometric Update as an NFC hobbyist, who found many API references on the Apple Developer page. These APIs are part of the PassKit framework. The framework is used to manage passes, or credentials, in the Apple Wallet app.

One of the key API references relevant to Japan mentioned by the Reddit user is the JPKIPassContents class. This class specifically handles the contents of the passes that are compatible with the Japanese Public Key Infrastructure, particularly the My Number ID. This API enables actions such as viewing, modifying, and acting on the credentials contained within the applet.

Some of the other API references that support digital identity documents on the iOS wallet app include PKJapanIndividualNumberCardMetadata, PKAddIdentityDocumentConfiguration, PKIdentityNationalIDCardDescriptor, and more.

The absence of a “JP” prefix in the API names indicates that these APIs are designed for universal use and are not limited to Japan. As per a Reddit user, these same APIs have the potential to generate digital IDs based on biometric passports, a feature that Google is reportedly developing for its Wallet.

The Japanese Public Key Infrastructure (JPKI) serves as a secure system for digital identity verification in Japan. A key component of this infrastructure is the My Number Card, which contains an IC chip used to store electronic certificates for secure identity verification. The JPKI Secure Element Applet is the software component that operates on the secure element of a device, such as a smartphone.

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