iOS 11's New NFC Feature Being Tested for Contactless Entry to MLB Games

by

iOS 11 gives developers access to the NFC chip in Apple's most recent iPhone models for the first time, allowing for apps that are able to read NFC tags in places like museums and retail stores.

The MLB today announced that the Oakland Athletics have tested a new ticketing feature that takes advantage of NFC, letting users enter the stadium by tapping an iPhone to a ticket scanner, much like Apple Pay.

The test was conducted during six games starting on September 22 following the launch of iOS 11, and as TechCrunch points out, it marks the first time that a professional sporting event has supported contactless tickets in Apple Wallet. Tap to enter isn't radically different than scanning a barcode on a virtual ticket on an iPhone, but it's faster and less prone to errors.

Following this test, the feature, being developed by Tickets.com, will be rolled out ahead of the 2018 season for the 23 MLB teams that use Tickets.com for ticketing purposes.

NFC has been a supported feature in iOS devices since Apple Pay first launched, but Apple previously limited its use to contactless Apple Pay payments. A new Core NFC iOS 11 framework expands the functionality of the NFC chip, introducing a new "Reader Mode" supported in the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X.


With Reader Mode and a compatible app, an iPhone that's near a real-world NFC tag can recognize and read the tag, opening a linked website or providing other information about whatever's being scanned.

An example of an NFC tag at a botanical garden

NFC tags are already used in a variety of places like landmarks, botanical gardens, stores, museums, and more because Android devices have been able to read NFC tags for some time. Apple's adoption of the feature is more limited than Android because it requires companies to build an app with NFC support to read NFC tags, but it could spur wider adoption of NFC functionality.

Tag: NFC

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
36 months ago
After rummaging around, my guess is that both the Chargepoint card and the Tickets.com MLB app are using the Passkit Storecard mode (aka Rewards card).

An app can install a Store card in the Wallet, and it will transmit 64 bytes of payload over NFC. Their app could update that data.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
36 months ago

Is the Charge Point app NFC? The impression I had with iOS 11 is that while they opened up NFC, it can only receive. You can have an app open that can read an NFC tag from something else transmitting and it can display in the app what the data it contained was, but I didn't think it was able to transmit data stored on the iPhone over NFC yet. I'm of the impression this is because it could be easy to spoof things like bus passes etc but I don't think Apple has officially stated why.

Something like game tickets, that can only be used once, aren't as big of an issue as bus passes of course, but I just hadn't heard of support for this yet.

FWIW, I hope I'm wrong about this, I just haven't heard otherwise

edit: yeah, according to this ('https://www.macrumors.com/2017/07/14/ios-11-core-nfc-examples/') it's read-only, but I wouldn't be surprised if this is a case where Apple worked closely with them to offer more functionality than what Core NFC provides as a test bed for future NFC enhancements.

Apple added NFC passes in iOS 9. My guess is what MLB did has nothing to do with the iOS 11 changes. They are probably using the existing support for Value Added Service passes that was in iOS. This allows for you to hold phone to reader and transmit data back about your pass. It was originally implemented for things like reward cards.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
36 months ago
Go A's!
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
36 months ago

Unless I'm reading it wrong, it sounds like they're tapping the iPhone for entry similar to when you'd tap for Apple Pay. Something that is new with iOS 11 (allowing 3rd party apps to add cards to wallet to use with NFC/tap).

Example of the charge point app I use after updating:

Is the Charge Point app NFC? The impression I had with iOS 11 is that while they opened up NFC, it can only receive. You can have an app open that can read an NFC tag from something else transmitting and it can display in the app what the data it contained was, but I didn't think it was able to transmit data stored on the iPhone over NFC yet. I'm of the impression this is because it could be easy to spoof things like bus passes etc but I don't think Apple has officially stated why.

Something like game tickets, that can only be used once, aren't as big of an issue as bus passes of course, but I just hadn't heard of support for this yet.

FWIW, I hope I'm wrong about this, I just haven't heard otherwise

edit: yeah, according to this ('https://www.macrumors.com/2017/07/14/ios-11-core-nfc-examples/') it's read-only, but I wouldn't be surprised if this is a case where Apple worked closely with them to offer more functionality than what Core NFC provides as a test bed for future NFC enhancements.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
36 months ago

Yeah, it works via NFC now. Honestly I’m not sure the technical details behind what’s changed for iOS 11, but now I can open wallet (or double press side button on watch, but can slide between credit cards and ChargePoint card) and then tap at the ChargePoint terminals. Does this mean it just reads an NFC tag?

That's pretty awesome, I wish anything I used supported that. Based on some of the other info in this thread, it may just be using something they implemented back in iOS 9, not sure why it only now came around unless the stuff iOS 11 brings helps connect the old and new functions somehow. Either way, here's hoping we see more of this type of stuff!

It’d be great if TfL would allow Oyster cards to make use of this functionality.

Granted you can use Apple Pay but an Oyster Card is slightly faster at the entrance/exit barriers.

When I was in London this was something I thought would be perfect on the phone, though as-is Oyster cards are brilliant anyway. They're finally implementing a similar system here in Philadelphia, but it's a pretty slow roll-out so far. I'm just hoping it finds it's way on the phone/watch faster than it's taking to migrate over.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
36 months ago

Is the Charge Point app NFC? The impression I had with iOS 11 is that while they opened up NFC, it can only receive. You can have an app open that can read an NFC tag from something else transmitting and it can display in the app what the data it contained was, but I didn't think it was able to transmit data stored on the iPhone over NFC yet. I'm of the impression this is because it could be easy to spoof things like bus passes etc but I don't think Apple has officially stated why.

Something like game tickets, that can only be used once, aren't as big of an issue as bus passes of course, but I just hadn't heard of support for this yet.

FWIW, I hope I'm wrong about this, I just haven't heard otherwise

edit: yeah, according to this ('https://www.macrumors.com/2017/07/14/ios-11-core-nfc-examples/') it's read-only, but I wouldn't be surprised if this is a case where Apple worked closely with them to offer more functionality than what Core NFC provides as a test bed for future NFC enhancements.

Yeah, it works via NFC now. Honestly I’m not sure the technical details behind what’s changed for iOS 11, but now I can open wallet (or double press side button on watch, but can slide between credit cards and ChargePoint card) and then tap at the ChargePoint terminals. Does this mean it just reads an NFC tag?
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple Officially Obsoletes First MacBook Pro With a Retina Display

Wednesday July 1, 2020 3:40 am PDT by
As expected, Apple's first MacBook Pro with a Retina display is now officially classed as "obsolete" worldwide, just over eight years after its release. In a support document, Apple notes that obsolete products are no longer eligible for hardware service, with "no exceptions." This means that any mid-2012 Retina MacBook Pro 15-inch models still out there that require a battery or other...

New Mac Ransomware Found in Pirated Mac Apps

Tuesday June 30, 2020 11:44 am PDT by
There's a new 'EvilQuest' Mac ransomware variant that's spreading through pirated Mac apps, according to a new report shared today by Malwarebytes. The new ransomware was found in pirated download for the Little Snitch app found on a Russian forum. Right from the point of download, it was clear that something was wrong with the illicit version of Little Snitch, as it had a generic installer...

Unreleased iMac With 10-Core Comet Lake-S Chip and Radeon Pro 5300 GPU Shows Up in Geekbench

Wednesday July 1, 2020 10:48 am PDT by
Benchmarks for an unreleased iMac equipped with a 10th-generation Core i9 Intel Comet Lake-S chip and an AMD Radeon Pro 5300 graphics card have surfaced, giving us an idea of what we can expect from a refreshed 2020 iMac. The Geekbench benchmarks, which appear to be legit, were found on Twitter and shared this morning by Tom's Hardware. The iMac in the benchmarks would be a successor to the...

Leaker: Future iPhone Models to Come in 'Exquisite' Thinner Box

Wednesday July 1, 2020 1:57 am PDT by
Leaker L0vetodream this morning posted a tweet corroborating recent rumors that Apple's "iPhone 12" lineup won't come with EarPods or a charger in the box, adding that this will also eventually apply to the existing second-generation iPhone SE. L0vetodream also claims that future iPhone packaging will be "thinner" and "exquisite," which would make sense if Apple's handsets are set to come in ...

Apple's A12Z Under Rosetta Outperforms Microsoft's Native Arm-Based Surface Pro X

Monday June 29, 2020 10:31 am PDT by
Apple's Developer Transition Kit equipped with an A12Z iPad Pro chip began arriving in the hands of developers this morning to help them get their apps ready for Macs running Apple Silicon, and though forbidden, the first thing some developers did was benchmark the machine. Multiple Geekbench results have indicated that the Developer Transition Kit, which is a Mac mini with an iPad Pro chip, ...

Kuo: iPhone 12 Models Won't Include Charger in Box, 20W Power Adapter Will Be Sold Separately

Sunday June 28, 2020 7:56 am PDT by
iPhone 12 models will not include EarPods or a power adapter in the box, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a research note obtained by MacRumors. This lines up with a prediction shared by analysts at Barclays earlier this week. Kuo said that Apple will instead release a new 20W power adapter as an optional accessory for iPhones and end production of its existing 5W and 18W power adapters...

Rosetta 2 Benchmarks Surface From Mac Mini With A12Z Chip

Monday June 29, 2020 7:48 am PDT by
While the terms and conditions for Apple's new "Developer Transition Kit" forbid developers from running benchmarks on the modified Mac mini with an A12Z chip, it appears that results are beginning to surface anyhow. Image Credit: Radek Pietruszewski Geekbench results uploaded so far suggest that the A12Z-based Mac mini has average single-core and multi-core scores of 811 and 2,781...

Display Analyst Once Again Says No 120Hz ProMotion Display Coming to iPhone 12 Pro

Wednesday July 1, 2020 11:29 am PDT by
Apple's iPhone 12 models will not feature an upgraded 120Hz ProMotion display, according to display analyst Ross Young. Young previously said that Apple would not implement ProMotion technology until it adopted low-power LTPO display technology, a move Apple is not expected to make until 2021. In a tweet shared this morning, Young said that the none of his contacts have been able to...

Apple Seeds Third Betas of iOS and iPadOS 13.6 to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

Tuesday June 30, 2020 10:06 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the third betas of upcoming iOS and iPadOS 13.6 updates to developers, three weeks after seeding the second betas and over a month after releasing iOS/iPadOS 13.5 with Exposure Notification API, Face ID updates, Group FaceTime changes, and more. iOS and iPadOS 13.6 can be downloaded from the Apple Developer Center or over the air once the proper developer profile has been...

The New York Times Ends Apple News Partnership and Pulls All Articles

Monday June 29, 2020 11:17 am PDT by
The New York Times today announced that it is pulling out of Apple News, as the service does not "align with its strategy of building direct relationships with paying readers." Starting today, articles from The New York Times will no longer show up in the Apple News app. The news site says that Apple has given it "little in the way of direct relationships with readers" and "little control...