Brexit app for EU citizens to work on iPhones by end 2019

The United Kingdom planned to launch an app that allows European Union citizens to apply to stay in the country after Brexit, but while it worked well with Android devices, officials are reportedly having issues running it on iPhones and iPads

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If the approximately 3.7 million EU citizens currently living freely in the UK want to remain after Brexit, they will face a series of bureaucratic hurdles as they apply for “settled status.”

The first of these is via an app which verifies ID documents. It doesn’t work on iPhones.

According to the New Yorker, the app, currently in trials, uses facial-recognition software and a  camera-based scanner to match users and their passports.

The home secretary has struck a deal with Apple a year after the Home Office was ridiculed for developing an app that only fully worked on Android phones, even though iPhones account for 48% of the market.

“I’ve had numerous conversations with Apple at the highest levels to ensure everyone can use the app. Together we’ve been working hard to find a solution that will allow the app to work on their devices.

“I’m pleased to confirm that Apple will be making the necessary changes and the app will be working on their mobile and tablet devices by the end of the year,” he said.

The government launched the new app last year in a series of tests but it quickly emerged that the ID verification element did not work on iPhones.

According to the BBC, the app asks three “simple” questions, requires the user take a selfie, and then to scan the contactless chip embedded in the passport to verify their identity. While Android devices are able to use NFC to communicate with the passport chip, the same process cannot be performed on an iPhone.

The passport scanning is required as an authentication procedure, only using the embedded chip to confirm the person’s identity. The app is solely for applying for the settled status designation, and while it does acquire data from a passport, it does not become an electronic passport or a form of identification in its own right.

The Home Office was heavily criticised after officials suggested that EU citizens could “borrow someone else’s phone”.

 

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