Carrying around the Aadhaar card, the biometrics-based unique identifier, recently became a lot easier when the supervisory agency UIDAI launched the mAadhaar app for Android devices. The app enables you to store all your Aadhaar details, such as name, date of birth, gender, address, etc. on your smartphone, instead of having to keep the physical card with you anymore. But the UIDAI clarified, the mAadhaar app is still in beta testing stage, and we quickly realised this to be true when we checked it out. Here we take a look at the mAadhaar app, its features, and areas where it can do with some improvements.
mAadhaar app: What is it?
For one thing, the features present in the mAadhaar app are still pretty limited. Using the app, you can download you Aadhaar details to your device, which can be used in place of the Aadhaar card itself. The downloaded details include your photo, name, date of birth, Aadhaar number, and a QR code that people can scan to get your Aadhaar information.
Beyond that, you can use the mAadhaar app for Android to see if your biometrics are locked or unlocked, and you can change this status. Of course, it was already fairly simple to lock and unlock your biometrics, via the UIDAI website, but having it available through an app on your phone should simplify things.
One more thing that you can do with the app is generate a time-based OTP (TOTP) through the app, which can be used instead of the SMS-based OTP. This is a useful feature given how unreliable SMS networks can be – if you’ve tried to authenticate anything (such as e-verifying your tax filings, perhaps) with your Aadhaar number, then you know how much of a delayed response this can lead to at times. Having a TOTP option should, hopefully, be much more reliable and faster.
mAadhaar app is a work in progress, and has several areas of improvements for now
In fact, the mAadhaar app itself is a great example of why SMS OTP does not really work. That’s because, in order to use the app, when you enter your Aadhaar details, you’re verified via SMS OTP. Except of course, when we tried to use it, there were a huge number of issues. The SMS did not come and it took multiple attempts before we finally got it. The app tries reading the SMS automatically, except the app would freeze automatically, and we had to start over from the beginning.
This went on multiple times, with the app crashing rather than being willing to add us, until finally, with no real explanation, it worked and we were in.
mAadhaar app: Areas of improvement
Another issue with the way SMS OTP has been implemented with this app is that you can’t manually enter the OTP. You have to give the app access to your SMS inbox, and if you were thinking that you could keep the app on your tablet while getting the OTP on your phone – that’s not going to work. This also means that you can’t store your family members’ Aadhaar details using the Aadhaar app, as the number that’s linked to your Aadhaar should match with the SIM card in your phone. That’s quite likely intended as a security precaution, and thus not likely to change over time.
On the other hand, the mAadhaar app is expected to add new features over time, which would be great, because right now it’s of limited use. TOTP is one reason why we would want to have this app; unlocking biometrics quickly is another area which could be useful. But unless you’re using the Aadhaar for a lot of authentications, it’s not clear why you’d need to have these features on your phone.
5 things you should know about the mAadhaar app
Watch the video below to check out the five things you need to know about the new mAadhaar app, such as checking out the updated look of the Aadhaar card if you update some details, among others.