Most airlines will let you use a digital copy of your boarding pass, but now some states allow residents to scan airport security with a driver’s license or other approved ID stored on their iPhone or Apple Watch.
Instead of rooting through your Pocketbook, all you have to do is update your Apple Wallet.
“Adding driver’s licenses and country IDs to Apple Wallet is an important step in our vision to replace the physical wallet with a secure, easy-to-use mobile wallet,” said Jennifer Bailey, vice president of Apple Pay and Apple Wallet. In a 2021 statement.
It hasn’t completely changed the situation globally yet: while 12 states have committed to digital identities, only three have begun to formally accept them. And while the airport you’re departing from may accept a pass on your Apple Watch, the service may not be extended with the same courtesy on your return flight.
The Transportation Security Administration already supports the technology at specific airport security checkpoints. So it’s really a question of when, not if, that option will become a national standard.
Here’s what you need to know about putting your driver’s license in your Apple Wallet, including how to do it and which countries recognize digital IDs.
Read more: The Department of Homeland Security is postponing the deadline for obtaining real identification at airports
How do I add my driver’s license to my Apple Wallet?
Apple built the technology to upload your ID to your Apple Wallet iOS 15 for iPhone. The process is similar to adding a new credit card.
First, tap the “plus” button at the top of the screen in Wallet. (If you have an Apple Watch paired with your iPhone, it will ask you to add your license there as well.)
You’ll then scan your physical driver’s license with your iPhone’s camera and take a selfie, “which will be securely provided to a state of issue for verification,” according to Apple.
You will also be required to complete a series of facial and head movements as an “extra security step”.
Once your identity is verified by the issuing country, it will be added to your wallet.
In order for your license or ID to be added to Apple Wallet, it must be issued from a participating country. In addition, you will need:
- iPhone 8 or later, or Apple Watch Series 4 or later, with the latest version of iOS or WatchOS
- Face ID or Touch ID is turned on
- An Apple ID with two-factor authentication turned on
- Your device region is set to United States
Also, passengers only withOn their boarding pass they are eligible for digital passes, according to the TSA website, though the agency said it plans to add an option for other passengers in the future.
Only one license or ID can be added to your iPhone and paired with your Apple Watch at a time.
What airports accept digital ID?
Apple initially announced in 2021 that eight states were participating in the program, then raised the number to 12 this year.
But these are states committed To accept Apple Wallet IDs, you don’t currently.
Right now, only Arizona, Colorado, and Maryland support digital identification—and only at select security checkpoints at these airports:
- Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport
- Baltimore/Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport
- Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport
Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma and Utah have agreed to support the initiative, as has Puerto Rico, though no specific timelines have been announced.
Other countries are expected to join this list: Bailey said last year that Apple is “already in discussions with many other countries”.
And in November, the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles said it was “exploring” the option of a digital ID.
“State has set up a study committee on the idea and they are still researching it,” spokeswoman Maranda Williams told The State, in Columbia, South Carolina.
Aside from Apple’s efforts, some states allow residents to upload their driver’s licenses to their phones through state-run apps, such as LA Wallet in Louisiana. But these are for driving and age verification purposes and are not yet accepted by the TSA.
How do I use an authorization stored in my Apple Wallet at the TSA?
To present your digital ID, tap your iPhone or Apple Watch on the ID reader at the security checkpoint.
You will then be asked to authenticate your identity using Face ID or Touch ID.
If successful, a checkmark should appear on the screen.
According to Apple, “You don’t need to unlock, show, or hand over your device [to a TSA agent]. ”
Is this technology safe?
According to Apple, it is.
The company says the software uses the same privacy and security features already in the iPhone and Apple Watch to prevent tampering and theft.
“Driver’s License or State ID data is encrypted,” reads a statement on Apple’s support website. “Neither a state issuing authority nor Apple can tell when or where you use your license or ID, and biometric authentication with Face ID and Touch ID helps ensure that only you can view and use your license or ID.”
The TSA has also certified digital IDs.
“Digital identity has the potential to enhance airport security and enhance the passenger experience by reducing touch points, providing greater privacy, and more accurate identity verification,” the agency said in a statement.
My state accepts digital IDs. Do I still need my physical license at the airport?
yes. The program is still in its infancy, and there’s no guarantee that the checkpoint you use to accept a driver’s license will be set up on your Apple Wallet.
According to the Transportation Security Administration’s website, “All passengers must continue to have their physical driver’s license readily available.” “This TSA officer may ask for a physical ID in addition to a digital ID.”
Where else can I use my digital ID?
with theApple said that in June, apps that require age or identity verification should be able to accept ID cards stored in the Apple Wallet app. Uber Eats and car-sharing service Turo have been cited as apps that could potentially offer this functionality, according to MacRumors, but neither has officially done so.
Apple added that retailers, restaurants and other places will take advantage of this feature in the future.
Digital IDs are not currently accepted by the police or motor vehicle departments.
I have an Android phone. Can I upload my identity to Google Wallet?
In a December 2022 system update, Google announced that it was a beta tester that would allow Android phone users to upload their driver’s licenses to Google Wallet “for convenient, private, and secure viewing.”
Google said the feature will be available in “select US states,” and it didn’t indicate which ones or when.