The Apple Watch’s new watchOS 5 operating system will allow students and faculty to access their ID cards digitally with Apple Wallet. Johns Hopkins said in a statement that the technology will also be compatible with iPhones.
“With a raise of the wrist, students can gain access to places including the library, dorms and events, and pay for snacks, laundry and dinners around campus simply by adding their ID cards to Wallet on Apple Watch,” said Apple in a statement.
Starting this fall, Johns Hopkins students and faculty will be able to add their ID cards to Apple Wallet, just like concert tickets or boarding passes. They can use Apple Watch or iPhone to scan the IDs on compatible readers on and around campus.
“Johns Hopkins University is delighted to be working with Apple to make it easier and more convenient for our students and faculty to access and make payments at locations on and around campus with J-Cards in Wallet on iPhone and Apple Watch,” said the university in a statement. “We look forward to bringing this to students by the end of this calendar year.”
A Johns Hopkins spokesperson couldn’t offer details about how the university plans to implement the digital ID cards, but Apple vice president of technology Kevin Lynch hinted at its 2018 worldwide developers conference that digital IDs will do everything physical IDs can. Students at universities piloting the technology will be able to access dining halls, key into their dorm rooms, pay for laundry, attend campus events, and make purchases at on- and off-campus retailers.
“This works by simply holding your watch near a reader anywhere you can use your student ID cards on and off campus,” said Lynch at WWDC.
Apple declined to comment further on the digital IDs.
It is unclear if there will be an option for students with devices that do not have an Apple operating system, such as Android phones.