What the Tech? Storing Your Driver’s License on Your Phone

Apple says Georgia and Arizona will be the first two states to accept digitally stored driver licenses and state-issued IDs at airport security.

Kentucky, Maryland, Utah, Connecticut and Oklahoma are also moving forward with approval but it is not known when those states will move to accept digital IDs.

Apple users will be able to save their Drivers License and/or State ID by taking and saving photos of the front and back of the cards using Apple’s Wallet app.

When the traveler reaches an airport checkpoint at security, they’ll need only to show or scan their digital identification card.

In order for this new technology to be secure, states will need to verify the scanned photo and ID is valid and belongs to the person requesting a digital copy.

To use the digital version, the iPhone will require the user to unlock or open the Apple Wallet using Face ID or a fingerprint, depending on which device they’re using. It will then ask for permission to share the information using NFC or Near Field Communication.

TSA agents and systems will be able to see all necessary information to verify the identity of the traveler. According to snapshots from Apple’s press release, that information can include the Photo, birthdate, gender, height, weight, eye color, hair color and the barcode on the back of the identification card.

TSA will be installing new digital readers in several airports before the technology can be put into use. Airports may also add either a separate lane for travelers using digital IDs or use existing lanes specifically for the technology.

A feature of iOS15 which is due out this fall will include the capability to add ID cards to Apple Wallet when it is permitted by the state in which they live.

IDs stored in the Wallet will also appear on the owner’s Apple Watch which must also be unlocked through the user’s iPhone using Face ID.

David Pekoske, TSA Administrator said in Apple’s press release, “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,” he said. “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.”

There is no word which airports in those states will have the technology first or when the systems will be operational.


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