Apple released iOS16.1 back in November with a host of new tools. The United Airlines Live Activities release sees it as the first US-based carrier to integrate this helpful new feature into its App.

United Airlines Live Activities iPhone App.  {Tech} for Travel.
Credit United Airlines
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United Airlines Live Activities for iPhone

Live Activities is an interactive block in the lower half of the iPhone lock screen running iOS 16.1 or later. The API from Apple to enable 3rd party apps was also released, and now users are starting to see a steady stream of apps which offer support for this new feature.

If you own an iPhone 14 Pro or Pro Max, you’ll get twice the delight as Dynamic Island will share some of this information while using your iPhone but in other apps.

United Airlines is now the first major US airline to enhance its Apple app to support this new feature.

United Airlines Live Activities iPhone App.  {Tech} for Travel.
Credit United Airlines

What Does It Do?

United claims its customers “check their mobile boarding pass and flight status nearly 800,000 times each day”, which feels a bit light with a reported 3 million daily users and knowing how many times I check mine every time I fly!

And, with the expectation of the travel industry possibly moving back to pre-covid numbers of travellers this coming summer, United wanted to make air travel more manageable with this new technology.

iPhone owners running iOS16.1 or later, using the United Airlines app and travelling with UA will now be able to:

  • Get details like the flight number, on-time status, inbound aircraft status, estimated departure and arrival times, and more in the Live Activity on the Lock Screen or the Dynamic Island when expanded.
  • Open their boarding pass directly from the Live Activity to quickly scan during security check-in or while boarding their flight.
  • See departure and arrival gates, pre- and in-flight countdowns, and baggage carousel information right in the Dynamic Island.

United today became the first U.S. airline to support Live Activities for iPhone, giving customers real-time access to their boarding pass, gate and seat number, and countdown clock to departure time on their Lock Screen or while unlocked in the Dynamic Island, all without opening the United app.

United Airlines
United Airlines iPhone App.  {Tech} for Travel.
Credit United Airlines

How to Get Live Activities

Before you can take advantage of the United Live Activities panel, which United claims will be rolled out entirely by the end of May ’23, there are a few steps you’ll need to take.

Firstly, make sure your iPhone has been updated and is running the latest iOS, as a minimum, this will need to be 16.1 or later (Settings > General > Software Update).

Then, either install the United Airlines app or make sure you have the latest version of it running (App Store > Account > Update All). This will likely be a version higher than 4.1.81.

Finally, you must turn Live Activities on from the iOS menu. To do this:

  • Open the Settings App
  • Search for or scroll to Face ID & Passcode
  • Enter your iPhone Passcode
  • Now scroll to the section labelled “Allow Access When Locked”
  • Locate the Live Activities row and toggle the switch to Green/On
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VIATom Payne
SOURCEUnited Airlines
Tom Payne
Tom, Editor. An online publication providing news & reviews on apps, gadgets and luggage for the connected traveller.


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