Colleges in the US and Canada use virtual student IDs

Apple Wallet has been supporting contactless student IDs since 2018, with three US universities supporting the feature at launch. Since then, the program has been gradually expanded. Yesterday, the company announced that its virtual IDs will finally arrive in Canada this fall. An unspecified number of additional US universities will also adopt it for the first time.

The University of New Brunswick and Sheridan College will be the first two Canadian schools to use Apple Wallet IDs. The new US roster includes Auburn, Northern Arizona University, University of Maine and New Mexico State University, in addition to “many more colleges across the country”. The University of Alabama, one of the early adopters of the program, will also be the first school this fall to issue mobile student IDs only (to students with eligible devices). (Those with Android phones can use the digital cards through Google Pay.)

Apple claims that “tens of thousands of students” will have access to the feature this coming school year.

Duke was one of the first universities to support virtual IDs in 2018.
Photo by Lance King / Getty Images

In theory, the Virtual Student ID should provide all the functionality of a regular Student ID – holders can access restricted areas of campus or pay for amenities such as food and laundry by placing their iPhone or Apple Watch near a physical reader to place. Transaction history is not shared with Apple or stored on Apple’s servers.

The new student ID format is part of Apple’s wider effort to extend the functionality of Apple Wallet. The app can also store hotel room keys with the release of iOS 15 and supports driver’s licenses and state IDs.