Apple announces first states to support driver’s licenses stored in device wallet

Apple announced Wednesday that Arizona and Georgia will be the first states to allow residents to digitally store their driver’s licenses or state credentials on Apple Wallet.

The company said it was working with states across the country to allow people to add their credentials to their iOS devices. Connecticut, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Oklahoma, and Utah will be the next states to allow residents to use the feature.

One of Apple’s stated goals for the program is to make travel easier. The Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) also announced that it will accept Apple Wallet credentials at participating airports in certain states. Wallet option users can present the digital ID to TSA officers by typing it into an ID reader.

Arizona and Georgia will allow residents to digitally store their driver’s licenses or state credentials in Apple Wallet. Above, this undated image shows an iPhone.
yalcinsonat1 / Getty Images

“Adding driver’s licenses and state credentials to Apple Wallet is an important step in our vision to replace the physical wallet with a secure and easy-to-use mobile wallet,” Jennifer Bailey, Apple vice president for Apple Pay and Apple Wallet said in Wednesday’s announcement. “We’re thrilled that the TSA and so many states are already on board to help bring travelers across the country to life using just their iPhones and Apple Watch, and we’re already in talks with many more states as we are working to deliver this nationally in the future.

“This innovative new mobile driver’s license and state identification initiative with Apple and states nationwide will allow a more seamless airport security screening experience for travelers,” the TSA administrator added, David Pekoske, in a statement. “This initiative marks an important step for TSA to provide an additional level of traveler comfort by providing more contactless security screening opportunities at TSA airports.”

Apple highlighted in its announcement that Wallet will provide customers with a more secure and convenient way to present their driver’s licenses and state credentials on iPhone or Apple Watch. However, some critics are concerned about confidentiality issues, including Aram Sinnreich, a communications professor at the American University of Washington who studies technology. Sinnreich spoke to NPR about his concerns about storing credentials in Wallet when Apple first announced the plan in early summer.

“What happens when Apple gets it wrong? What happens when there is a major security breach and the information of 100 million people is leaked? Sinnreich told NPR. “We are stuck with this partner who has violated our trust and we have no legal apparatus to hold him accountable or separate us from them.”

Apple said participating states and the TSA will provide more information at a later date on when support for mobile driver’s licenses and state IDs in Wallet will be available in each state and at points of contact. TSA airport security check which will be available initially.

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