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Apple, Eight States Announce Mobile Driver's License Plan

This fall, iPhone users across eight states will be able to add digital driver's licenses and state IDs to their Apple Wallet to identify themselves at security checkpoints at participating airports.

Image Courtesy of Apple
Residents from eight states will soon be able to add digital driver’s licenses and state IDs to their Apple Wallet on their iPhones and Apple Watches. In addition to the convenience of digital IDs for daily use, the technology can also be used at security checkpoints at participating airports.

According to Apple, Arizona and Georgia will be the first to offer this feature, followed by Connecticut, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Oklahoma and Utah. Many states have been pursuing the technology as a means of modernizing state-issued identity documents.

“We’re excited to bring a new addition to our state’s modernization efforts that will make our residents’ lives easier, and keep their identities secure through the use of mobile driver’s licenses in Apple Wallet,” Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said in the Apple press release. “We’re pleased to be one of the first states working with Apple to deploy driver’s licenses and state identification cards in Apple Wallet, and we’re looking forward to taking the next steps to make sure this new feature benefits our residents.”

To use a digital ID, travelers can tap their iPhone or Apple Watch on an identity reader, which will prompt a pop-up asking for specific information from the TSA.

To comply with the prompt, travelers will use their Face ID or Touch ID on their device to share the requested information without having to unlock, show or hand over their device.

“This new and innovative mobile driver’s license and state ID initiative with Apple and states around the country will enable a more seamless airport security screening experience for travelers,” said TSA administrator David Pekoske in a statement. “This initiative marks a major milestone by TSA to provide an additional level of convenience for the traveler by enabling more opportunities for touchless TSA airport security screening.”

As for protecting travelers' information, Apple said it would enforce the following guidelines:

  1. The company or issuing states won’t know when or where users present their IDs.
  2. Customers’ identity data will be encrypted and secured through biometric authentication using Face ID and Touch ID.
  3. If a user misplaces their iPhone or Apple Watch, they can use the Find My app to lock their device and help locate it or remotely erase a device.
  4. Users do not need to unlock, show or hand over their device to share their ID.

“The addition of driver’s licenses and state IDs to Apple Wallet is an important step in our vision of replacing the physical wallet with a secure and easy-to-use mobile wallet,” Jennifer Bailey, Apple’s vice president of Apple Pay and Apple Wallet, said in a statement. “We are excited that the TSA and so many states are already on board to help bring this to life for travelers across the country using only their iPhone and Apple Watch, and we are already in discussions with many more states as we’re working to offer this nationwide in the future.”

As for how the states will use and manage the digital IDs in the course of daily business, Apple said details on the individual programs would be forthcoming.

The new feature will be available to residents of participating states as part of an Apple software update this fall.