You’ll soon be able to add digital vaccine cards to Apple’s mobile Wallet

Sep 22, 2021

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It’s shaping up to be a busy week for Apple.

On Monday, the tech giant released its latest slew of software updates for iPhones, iPads and Apple Watches that are packed with travel-friendly features. Later this week, on Friday, the company’s hottest new products, including the iPhone 13 lineup, along with a new iPad and iPad mini, will hit the shelves.

And if that wasn’t enough, Apple just unveiled another enhancement coming to iPhones that could streamline the pandemic-era travel experience. In an upcoming software update, iPhone users will be able to add their COVID-19 vaccination records as a card in the Wallet app, according to an update posted to the company’s developer website.

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(Image courtesy of Apple)

Once stored in the mobile wallet, these verifiable records can be used as proof of a completed dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, instead of carrying around the paper-based vaccination certificate from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). With Apple’s Wallet integration, it’ll be easier than ever to quickly show your digital vaccine card as you enter a place of business, like a gym, restaurant, airport lounge or even a hotel, that requires one.

In fact, I recently attended the U.S. Open tennis tournament in Queens, New York, which required all spectators aged 12 and older to show proof of at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccination. The lines to enter the venue were noticeably longer than before the pandemic, primarily because of bottlenecks with vaccine verification. If Apple’s digital solution takes off, it could help streamline this entire process.

Lines to enter the U.S. Open were longer than usual due to vaccine verification. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Apple is relying on the SMART Health Cards specification to verify your vaccine information, which as of press time, is only being used by health agencies in four states: California, Louisiana, New York and select locations in Maryland. Additionally, if you were vaccinated at a Walmart, Sam’s Club or CVS Health pharmacy, your vaccine information is likely stored in the SMART Health Card system. You can find a full list of participating providers here.

For now, Apple is currently testing the Wallet integration in a beta build of iOS 15.1. There’s no timeline available yet for when the feature will roll out, but we’ll be sure to update this post when it goes live. In the meantime, you can download and store your COVID-19 vaccination info and other verifiable health records, including test results, in the Health app if you’ve upgraded to iOS 15.0.

This isn’t the only travel-focused upgrade coming to Apple’s Wallet app. Later this year, you’ll be able to add a digital version of your driver’s license or state ID to the app. After authenticating via Face ID or Touch ID, your digital ID will be accepted at TSA airport checkpoints.

(Image courtesy of Apple)

The first states partnering with Apple on digital IDs were recently unveiled. Those in Arizona and Georgia will be able to add their documents first, with the service rolling out to customers in Connecticut, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Oklahoma and Utah soon.

Featured image courtesy of Apple.

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