a screenshot of a phone

Apple is throwing its tech savvy into solving travel problems. For a company which was once the butt of a joke, which went something along the lines of “it’s like being lost in Schitt’s Creek, with Apple Maps”, that’s great news.

Google Maps has always been the most talked about travel app, but some new iOS featured headed to an iPhone near you may soon take the cake, with everything from encrypted digital room keys to passing through TSA without pulling out your wallet!

Apple iOS 15 Travel Updates

The world of apps and iOS updates continues to hammer away at pain points in travel. First, the addition of the mobile boarding pass allowed travelers to skip the airport check in counter, but Apple’s latest maneuver aims to take things further.

Apple plans to create an Apple Wallet feature for digital ID’s, allowing users to store a digital copy of their state ID in the virtual wallet.

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Virtual ID For TSA Airport Security

This would allow travelers to pass through all TSA checkpoints without reaching into their pocket or pulling out their physical wallet and grabbing for ID, instead just using their phone to validate both boarding pass and photo identification.

“Starting in participating U.S. states, add your ID to Wallet for use when you travel. With a tap of your iPhone or paired Apple Watch, you’ll be able to securely present your ID to speed through TSA security checkpoints. Presenting your identification is easy and secure with Face ID or Touch ID. Your ID in Apple Wallet is protected by the same technology that makes Apple Pay private and secure.”


Newly Updated Augmented Reality Directions

If you’ve ever set foot in a major city, you’ve seen someone standing on a corner trying to figure out which way that little dot on the map is taking them. Apple seeks to catch up with Google, with strong new augmented reality map directions.

a screenshot of a phone

Basically, you point your phone like a camera, and arrows will appear on the screen, which show you where to head. It’s the closest thing to virtual lines appearing in the air and giving you directions.

This handy feature should make navigating through cities easier than ever, provided you still watch out for things like cable cars zipping in front of you in real life!

Secured Digital Room Keys With Hyatt

Apple is working with Hyatt to create encrypted digital room keys, which will work with iPhones and Apple wearables. Unlike a physical room key, which could still be used if lost and unnoticed, these should only work when the phone is unlocked.

In other words, they should actually provide greater levels of security at hotels than you currently find, since guests would need their fingerprint or biometrics to unlock the phone.

a screen shot of a phone

Digital room keys exist across many brands, but the aim is to take the technology further, by allowing Hyatt to push check in features through, on a more timely and virtual basis. No more lines, or chaotic check in environments.

Think: a phone notification saying your room is now ready and your key is already downloaded, rather than approaching a desk, and waiting to be told the same thing.

Hyatt says up to 1,000 hotels should be ready to receive these digital keys and fully virtual check in processes (perhaps using the new ID feature, and saved credit cards) by the fall of 2021, which means it won’t be long before travelers can give it a test run.

Disney, Ferries And More

Integration and acceptance is ultimately what drives value, when it comes to features like the Apple Wallet. The more places you can use them, the more they can do, the better.

Apple now allows ‘touch free’ access to Disney Parks, with added features such as virtual queueing. In a world where every person to person interaction is under great scrutiny, getting your hands on passes for the family and participating in a virtual queue for top attractions is a tremendous achievement.

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Apple Aims To Make Travel Seamless

Forgot your wallet? Who cares. Want to speed through the airport just using your phone, or watch? Want a heads up that it might rain in about 20 minutes, so you may want to reconsider that picnic in the park? That’s the direction Apple is taking toward travel.

Apple is pursuing integrations with leading ferry companies, mass transit and more, to bring a time where all you really need to leave the house is your phone or wearable. Eventually, it may happen. You can catch up on all the new Apple updates, here.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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1 Comment

  1. I like the Hyatt digital room keys. But this is not new in hotels. Hilton brand hotels have been doing this for a few years, including virtual check in and using their app to select your room a day before arrival. The last time I stayed at a Hilton brand the digital key on my phone even opened the hotel garage’s gate when I first arrived.

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