Apple Wallet Navigo Card

After multiple delays, Apple and the Paris area transportation authority rolled out support for Paris transit passes in Apple Wallet. It means that people can now use their iPhone or Apple Watch as a Navigo pass to ride the metro, train, tram or bus.

This is important news for Île-de-France Mobilités (IDFM) — the transportation authority — as millions of people are expected to come to Paris this summer for the Olympic Games. Android users have been able to use their phone as a Navigo pass for a while.

The Apple integration is also the result of years of negotiations with the tech company as IDFM doesn’t rely on Apple Pay, Visa or Mastercard to enable this feature. Instead, the iPhone emulates a Navigo card using the built-in NFC chip.

Yesterday, I created a virtual Navigo pass and used it to ride the metro, and it worked as expected. There are two ways to create a virtual Navigo pass. You can either do it from the official transportation authority app or directly in Apple Wallet.

For tourists who don’t want to download another app, adding a transit pass is pretty easy. You can open the Wallet app, tap the + button and add a Navigo card. After that, you can buy one ticket or more and pay with Apple Pay.

When you’re entering the metro, you can use your iPhone to “tap to ride.” You can either double-click on the iPhone side button and select the Navigo pass, or enable Express Mode. In the latter case, you can tap your iPhone near a reader, and it’ll select the Navigo pass automatically without having to unlock or wake your iPhone.

Every time you use your iPhone as a transit pass, you receive a notification that informs you how many tickets you have left. You can also see that information in the Wallet app and buy more tickets whenever you want.

The new feature is also compatible with power reserve — if you run out of battery, you can still use your transit pass with Express Mode for a few hours. And if you lose your device, you can remotely lock it using the Find My app from another device — it will disable Express Mode.

So if you’re a tourist and visiting Paris, there’s no need to visit ticketing vending machines anymore. However, if you live in Paris and you have an annual or Liberté+ subscription, you won’t be able to add your transit pass to Apple Wallet until 2025.

In other Paris news, Apple also added real-time transit information. While most people rely on Citymapper or Bonjour RATP to get around the city, you can now tap on a train station or bus stop to see the next departures. This summer, Apple will also add 3D renderings of the Parisian venues for the summer games.

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