All About the iButton

This iButton (left) and swipe card (right) spent 10 years on the same keychain. The ink has rubbed off the iButton’s keyfob, but it’s still perfectly usable; the card is unusable (and with its hole broken, no longer can be kept on the keychain).

Note: We’ve blurred the city, state, ZIP and phone number on the swipe card to maintain privacy.

The iButton® is a 16-millimeter computer chip with its own unique ID number enclosed in a stainless steel container. Each chip has its own unique ID number which is unaffected by magnetic fields, metal detectors, water and most common chemicals.

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The chip inside the iButton.

© Maxim Integrated Products
 Used by permission.

The steel button is rugged enough to withstand harsh outdoor environments and durable enough for a person to carry on their keychain.

You can drop it, step on it, scratch it or wear it swimming. The iButton is wear-tested for 10-year durability and can be reassigned quickly and securely. It is by far the best solution for both manufacturing and office environments.

In TimePilot's time and attendance systems, the iButton is part of a keyfob that attaches to an employee's keychain. The keyfob and button combination is about the size of a house key.

The standard keyfob color is black; nine other colors are available. To order keyfobs with iButtons installed, click here.

Who else is using the iButton?

Lots of companies are using the iButton for security, convenience or efficiency. Some examples:

  • Employees at the U.S. Mint in Denver aren't allowed to carry money into the facility, so they use iButtons to operate the vending machines. Across Canada, many vending machines can be operated by iButtons or with cash.
  • A school in Celebration, Florida, issues iButtons to its students, who use them to open classroom doors and log onto computers. The school plans to expand the technology to its cafeteria, allowing students to pay for their meals with their iButton. This has the added benefit of privacy: Students are prevented from knowing which classmates are on a government-funded reduced-price or free meal program.
  • Ryder truck rental mounts an iButton on the side of each of its trucks. The button records the truck number, its rental location, the customer's name and odometer reading at the start of the rental; when the truck is returned the information is downloaded into the company's database for billing.
  • The mass transit system in Istanbul, Turkey, is one of the biggest users of the iButton. Some 1.4 million riders use iButtons to travel on the system's subways, buses, trains and ferries.
  • Researchers studying human sleep patterns have found that their test subjects have a hard time sleeping while attached to a nest of wires, so they came up with a different method: One version of the iButton (the DS1920) tracks and records temperature, so the researchers tape Maxim's temperature logger iButtons to the subjects. The iButtons contain a clock, temperature detector and memory, and can record data every five minutes during the night. In the morning, scientists simply take the iButtons and download the data they have collected. If you're interested in purchasing data-logging iButtons, click the link to at the bottom of this page.

iButtons come in your choice of 10 colors and in packs of 5, 10, 30, 50, 100 and 200. Click the button below to buy a pack now! (You'll choose your quantity and color on the next page.)

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Other uses

Interested in some of the other uses for iButtons? TimePilot also sells a wide variety of iButtons and top-quality iButton probes, readers and other devices that work with iButtons at

iButton® is a registered trademark of Maxim Integrated of San Jose, California.