Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is Tactivo from IDENTOS?
A: Tactivo is a mobile smart card reader for iOS and Android devices that provides convenient and secure access to restricted resources. Tactivo uses two-factor authentication by combining smart cards with fingerprint recognition or PIN-code.

Q: Is Tactivo available in smart card or fingerprint only versions?
A: Tactivo for iPad Air2/Air and iPhone 6 are smart card only readers while all other products in the Tactivo product family include both a smart card reader and a fingerprint sensor. If you have a new product requirement, please let us know about it using the contact form below.

Q: How is Tactivo attached to the iPhone/iPad/Android device?
A: For iOS devices, Tactivo is connected directly via the Apple Lightning connector. For Android devices, Tactivo is connected directly via the built in micro USB cable or via a standard USB cable connected to the built in micro USB receptacle.

Q: Will Tactivo make the iPhone/iPad bulky and hard to carry?
A: Tactivo is designed as a slim case, so that the device maintains its sleek design, adding very little to the device size. See individual product information for exact measurements. Tactivo mini is typically removed when not used.

Q: How heavy is Tactivo?
A: The different Tactivo versions weigh as follows:

Tactivo for iPad Air 2: 6.53 oz – 185 g
Tactivo for iPhone 6: 1.2 oz – 35 g
Tactivo mini for iOS: 0.81 oz – 23 g
Tactivo mini for Android: 0.85 oz – 24 g

Q: With which certifications does Tactivo comply?
A: All released Tactivo versions have obtained Apple MFi Certification and are FCC and CE compliant. All Tactivo products are also US Government FIPS 201 compliant and are listed as LACS Mobile Transparent Readers on GSA APL (Approved Product List). See GSA APL web site for details.

Q: What smart cards are supported by Tactivo?
A: Tactivo supports ISO 7816-4, T=0 & T=1, Class A & B (5V and 3V cards).

Q: Does Tactivo support US Government smart card credentials?
A: Yes, PIV, PIV-I, CAC and TWIC smart cards are all supported.

Q: Do I have to remove my Tactivo smart case to charge or synchronize my iPhone/iPad?
A: You can charge your iPhone/iPad without disconnecting Tactivo using a standard micro USB cable and AC adapter. Your iPhone (but not iPad) can also be charged connecting Tactivo to a PC/Mac using a standard micro USB cable. For iOS devices with the Apple Lightning connector, Tactivo must be disconnected if synchronizing using a cable but Wi-Fi synchronization is recommended.

Q: Can I use the Tactivo reader while charging or synchronizing?
A: Due to the USB design, the smart card and fingerprint functionality is not available while synchronizing to a PC/Mac using a micro USB cable. Both smart card and fingerprint functionality is available while charging using an AC adapter and during Wi-Fi synchronization.

Q: How does Tactivo affect my iPhone/iPad battery time?
A: Any accessory approved by Apple must meet stringent rules governing how much power it can consume. Exact impact on the battery life depends on the amount and type of iPhone/iPad usage.

Q: I have limited experience in working with smart cards. How do I get started?
A: The Tactivo iOS toolkit provides two different APIs for smart card interaction. The first is a C based PC/SC API similar to that used in many desktop-based solutions which provides an easier migration path from desktop to mobile. The second is an easy-to-use Objective-C API more familiar to iOS developers. The toolkit includes sample applications for both approaches. Tactivo Mobile Toolkit for Android provides Java smart card API.

Q: Can the Tactivo fingerprint and smartcard technology work independently or must both be implemented?
A: The smart card and fingerprint readers are totally independent and it is possible to develop solutions using only smart cards or fingerprints.

Q: For which Apple products are Tactivo available?
A: Tactivo smart cases are currently available for iPad Air2/iPad (2017) and iPhone 6. Tactivo mini for iOS supports any iPad or iPhone with Lightning connector. If you have a new product requirement, please let us know about it using the contact form below.

Q: What Android devices are supported or not supported by Tactivo mini for Android?
A: In general, Android devices with USB On-The-Go (OTG) should work with Tactivo mini. Since we cannot guarantee functionality on specific devices we strongly recommend testing before larger roll-outs. You can also ask our support if a specific device works, by submitting a request using the contact form below.

Q: I would like to implement support for Tactivo in my app. What tools do you provide for iOS and Android?
A: IDENTOS provides two different toolkits for iOS and Android respectively, please send us a request using the contact form below.

Q: How do I get access to the Tactivo Mobile Toolkit for iOS and/or Android?
A: Please send us a request using the contact form below.

Q: How do applications use Tactivo to add strong authentication?
A: Through the Tactivo iOS Toolkit and/or Tactivo Android Toolkit.

Q: What functionality can I add to my apps with the Tactivo Toolkit for iOS/Android?
A: Using the Tactivo Toolkit for iOS/Android, strong authentication using smart cards and/or fingerprints can be added to applications and solutions to verify card integrity and authenticity, verify cardholder identity, control access to applications or data on the mobile device, or facilitate access to secure messaging, websites, or remote services in the cloud.

Q: What are the system requirements to run the Tactivo iOS Toolkit?
A: The choice of selected target iOS determines what version of OS X / XCode. See supported versions here https://developer.apple.com/

Q: Apple failed my app with Tactivo support when reviewed in iTunes Connect. They say I’m not authorized to distribute apps that interact with the required MFi hardware (Tactivo). What should I do?
A: IDENTOS needs to whitelist your app in order for Apple to be able to proceed with the review. Please follow the instructions provided in the file “IMPORTANT – Whitelisting of apps for Tactivo.docx” included in the Tactivo iOS Toolkit package.

Q: How do I debug iOS applications that use Tactivo?
A: Tactivo iOS Toolkit has a logging feature that can be activated in runtime, tracing the library’s function calls. The creation of log or trace files provides the ability to debug and test applications during the development process, and also provides the best way to support users in the post-deployment phase. However, generating, transferring, and analyzing them can be cumbersome, especially during early development when unfamiliar with the toolkit. Both XCode and Tactivo connects to the iPhone/iPad via USB and both cannot be active at the same time. In Xcode 9 or later and with iOS 11 or later WiFi debugging options are available. Refer to Apples Xcode updates.

Q: Can I use the pass-through connection on Tactivo and debug my application using Xcode?
A: iOS does not support multiple USB host connections; therefore, it is not possible to access the Tactivo readers while connected to a computer.

Q: Can the smart card reader in Tactivo be emulated in Xcode for testing and debugging without having a Tactivo?
A: Due to the extreme diversity in the implementation of smart cards, emulating a smart card is a very complex task and is not currently provided by the toolkit.

Q: Due to the extreme diversity in the implementation of smart cards, emulating a smart card is a very complex task and is not currently provided by the toolkit.
Does the Tactivo Toolkit contain Crypto APIs?

A: At this time, the toolkit does not contain APIs for Cryptography and PKI exchanges.

Q: Do I have to use Tactivo Manager (for Android) as a standalone app or can I integrate a lib version?
A: Tactivo Manager is currently only available as a standalone app from Google Play.

Q: What type of fingerprint sensor is integrated in Tactivo?
A: It is a 381 dpi capacitive swipe sensor, 192 pixels wide. If you have a requirement for a different sensor, please let us know about it using the contact form below.

Q: I have limited experience in working with fingerprints. How do I get started?
A: The Tactivo iOS Toolkit provides a standard Objective-C API, documentation, reference implementations and sample apps demonstrating fingerprint capture, enrollment, (i.e. the registration of a fingerprint) and verification. Similar components are available in Tactivo Mobile Toolkit for Android through Java APIs.

Q: Where is the fingerprint matching processing performed?
A: Fingerprint matching is performed by the iPhone/iPad or Android processor. From version 2.0 of the Tactivo iOS Toolkit, Match-on-Card is also supported.

Q: What fingerprint template format is used by Tactivo?
A: For standard implementations with matching taking place inside the iPhone/iPad or Android device, Tactivo uses a standardized template format based on the ANSI 378 and ISO 19794-2 standards. For Match-on-Card applications, Tactivo also supports Precise Biometrics’ proprietary template format. Such implementations require a smart card with a corresponding matching algorithm from Precise Biometrics, such as Precise BioMatch J.

Q: How much time does it take to match a finger?
A: 1:1 matching on the iPhone/iPad or Android device can be done in less than 0.5 seconds. For Match-on-Card implementations, the matching time will be influenced by the smart card, but normally below 1s.

Q: Can I perform 1:N matching with Tactivo?
A: Yes, Tactivo supports both 1:1 and 1:N matching.

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