iPhone owners with an Arizona driver’s license or state ID can now upload either to their Apple Wallet, making it the first time a US state has supported digital versions of identification in the app. But the uses remain limited, for now.
Arizona residents with TSA PreCheck can present their digital driver’s license or state ID using their iPhone or Apple Watch at select Transportation Security Administration checkpoints in Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.
But the residents will still need their physical IDs to fly home when traveling to a state not accredited in the Apple program. As of writing, only Arizona has been included in the Apple program.
Physical IDs are also still needed to, for example, enter a bar, get documents notarized, or show law enforcement, even in Arizona. However, Apple has said that it is looking into ways that people can use digital verification in the future.
Last year, Apple hinted that it was working with several states on the digital verification initiative, including Georgia, Connecticut, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Oklahoma, and Utah. The launch was supposed to be last year, but the company told CNN Business that it proved to be a more complicated process to implement and that they are working on making it available as soon as possible.
On Wednesday, Apple announced plans to introduce the feature to Colorado, Hawaii, Mississippi, Ohio, and Puerto Rico.
Digital verification is part of Apple’s plans to enhance its digital Wallet. The company already offers digital credit cards, movie tickets, car keys, boarding passes, and gift cards, which all offer convenience and may push iOS users into its ecosystem of services.
To authenticate the ID, the user will be required to take a selfie after scanning and uploading a picture of their license or their state ID card and complete facial and head movements, which are not different from how Face ID is activated. Apple says that the upload will be “securely provided” to the state for verification.
Once activated and approved, users can tap their iPhone or Apple Watch on the identity reader at the security checkpoint, and the agent will see the information required to fly. It works similarly to how people use the Wallet to make purchases at card readers.
Apple previously said information on the IDs is “encrypted and protected against tampering and theft.” Biometric authentication is also used to ensure the proper person is using the phone or watch.
Users will be shown which specific information is requested by the TSA on the user’s iPhone or Apple Watch. The user will have the option to provide that information with Face ID or Touch ID. The information is shared digitally, so users do not need to show or give their devices to authorities.
Driver’s license and state ID support on Apple Wallet is available on iPhone 8 or later running iOS 15.4, and Apple Watch Series 4 or later running watchOS 8.4 or later.