Student swipes into the Library

Johns Hopkins campus IDs get a digital upgrade

For Homewood campus students, iPhone, Apple Watch, and Android devices can now act as digital IDs to access campus buildings and make purchases

Jill Rosen
Office phone
Cell phone

Johns Hopkins University students, faculty, and staff on the Homewood campus will no longer need to have their J-Cards in-hand to enter buildings or to pay for meals. As of this week, Homewood campus affiliates can use their iPhone, Apple Watch, or Android devices instead of their plastic cards at locations both on and off campus.

JHU is only the fifth university in the country to offer the Apple Wallet app as a form of electronic campus ID on iPhone 6 and later, and Apple Watch Series 1 and later. Android users will also have an electronic option. After following the installation steps outlined on the Homewood Student Affairs mobile credential website, users may simply wave their watch or phone near a reader to gain access to a building or make a purchase.

Video credit: Patrick Ridgely and Dave Schmelick

Though the technology is available to all Homewood affiliates, it is seen as most beneficial for students, who use their J-Cards as building keys and credit cards throughout the day to get into residence halls, the library, or the rec center, and to print documents, shop at the university book store, or buy lunch. In addition to working at all campus dining facilities, the digital ID will also work at numerous nearby off-campus businesses including Eddie's, Pete's Grille, Chipotle, 7-Eleven, CVS, and Insomnia Cookies.

"Offering a digital ID option reflects our continuing commitment to enhance the services provided to students," said Kevin G. Shollenberger, the university's vice provost for student affairs. "We are excited about this and look forward to seeing students using phones to get into residence halls, for dining, and to buy things at area businesses."

Hopkins senior Ting Fang said that being able to use her J-Card through her phone will make it easier to access places on campus, even if she has forgotten to bring along her card.

"I never leave my apartment without my phone, but I can't say the same thing about my J-Card," said Fang, a senior majoring in international studies and economics with a minor in entrepreneurship and management. "In the past, there have been multiple times where my friends or I have forgotten our J-Cards and could not enter the library and even had a hard time entering our dorms to retrieve our cards."

J-Cards will still be accepted at locations where they have been accepted in the past. Those who switch to the electronic ID are advised to keep their plastic card as a back-up option.