Getting blue text bubbles in your Messages app instead of green ones from non-iPhones is supposedly Apple’s method of device locking. But more than that, Apple Wallet suddenly becomes the reason to keep using an iPhone — it keeps the device sticky so existing owners don’t jump off. Creating this must-have app was a tedious process, but now with its snags in some key areas like Apple Pay, ID cards, and event tickets, living without an Apple Wallet might become increasingly difficult.
While walking to a San Diego Padres baseball game recently, I noticed how prominent Apple Wallet is now for event tickets. For example, Ticketmaster is quick to suggest using Apple Wallet at a venue in case connectivity is limited or unavailable. This was also the same message across all sports for a Warriors NBA Finals game.
It’s been almost 10 years since Apple launched Passbook, which transformed into Apple Wallet in 2015. Android phones can easily process tickets and NFC payments, but the number of users lags behind Apple’s because functionality is spread across Google, Samsung and other wallet app providers.
Now, having laid the groundwork over the past decade, Apple is putting its foot on the gas pedal to make Apple Wallet inescapable, for better or worse. Apps will soon be able to get ID and age verification (made possible by the introduction of digital driver’s licenses); Flies and other government checkpoints should be faster; and a pay later service will be available. These things are all enabled to make Apple Wallet on iPhone a trusted and important part of daily life.
State IDs and driving licenses are finally digital. Arizona and Maryland are among the first states in the US to allow residents to add these state-issued cards to Apple Wallet. More than a dozen other countries are currently working on the process to also enable digitization from mid-2022. At first, this advancement feels a little scary, but so far Apple has shown it’s building these experiences with solid security in mind.
Also, the benefits of a digital driver’s license or state ID card can be tremendous. In June, Apple showed at its developer conference how someone can buy alcohol using only an app with a government-approved ID in Apple Wallet because the app would be able to verify if a person is over 21 years old .
These new software hooks, which developers can use to get wallet-specific answers about someone, allow people to keep their date of birth and address private but could still confirm they’re over a certain age, for example. In this way, digital ID cards are more secure than handing a card to a bartender in person. In theory, this future would mean that a police officer, TSA agent, or random food service app could check just the information they need and no more.
A new feature of Apple Wallet is Apple Pay Later. As the name suggests, people using Apple’s contactless payment system don’t have to pay the full amount for their purchase and over time can put some money off until later.
Anecdotally, I’ve noticed that most of the stores I shop at support Apple Pay. It’s not just national chains like Target or CVS either; It’s all kinds of stores that have contactless NFC-enabled terminals. Apple Pay Later lets you split any interest-free purchase into four equal payments — with the card linked through Apple Pay.
PayPal, Affirm, and Afterpay already offer these types of payment plans, but as Apple adds the feature to Wallet, people may feel more compelled to stick with Apple Pay. In addition, this “buy now, pay later” feature is managed entirely through Apple Wallet as the central point of consolidation.
Tap to pay
If one half of the equation is consumer demand for Apple Pay, the other half is merchant acceptance and consumer encouragement. Tap to Pay was announced in February and launched later in 2022. It allows approved merchants to use just one iPhone to accept Apple Pay payments. Instead of requiring additional hardware or payment dongles, users can pay from iPhone to iPhone.
While tap-to-pay isn’t really designed as a consumer-to-consumer capability, it does allow home technicians, corner shops, and other retailers to interact directly with consumers in a secure and modern way. It’s an extension of Apple Pay that makes people use Apple Wallet more often.
House key in Apple Wallet
Entering a passcode for a smart home lock is easier than carrying around a physical key, but Apple’s Home Key is surprisingly even easier. When I reviewed the Schlage Encode Plus smart home lock, I was pleasantly excited about the Home Key feature. This digital key can be stored in Apple Wallet wherever it is available, e.g. B. on an iPhone or an Apple Watch. No summoning Siri or remembering a code. Just double-click the side button on both products and hold the exposed home button next to the lock.
Even if you’re not ready to use Apple Wallet for financial cards, using it for keys is convenient. However, it’s not just house keys in Apple Wallet; soon also car keys. I can’t comment on Apple’s specific implementation of digital car keys, but I know firsthand that having your car’s key on your phone is amazing. Tesla uses its app as a key to its cars, and all you have to do is take your phone to the vehicle and it will unlock and start – no bulky key fob needed.
Apple Wallet is gaining momentum
Each of these Apple Wallet pieces is nice individually, but probably not life-changing. But as the benefits grow and all of these modern conveniences become available in Apple Wallet, it could become difficult to avoid the app.
I’m lucky not to have to take keys to my house or car with me. My credit and debit cards are all available in Apple Wallet. Also, my vaccination card, Starbucks card, health insurance, car insurance, and loyalty cards are all digital. Now all California needs to do is work with Apple to get their driver’s license in Apple Wallet so I can get rid of my physical wallet altogether. And once I don’t have a wallet with me and my life is in Apple Wallet, it’s going to be a lot harder to switch from an iPhone.