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Most airlines from Southwest to United allow you to travel with a digital version of your boarding pass. And now, some states are allowing residents to clear airport security with a digital version of their driver’s license. Instead of rooting through your bag, all you have to do is carry your Apple Wallet on you iPhone: or Apple Watch.

“Adding driver’s licenses and government IDs to Apple Wallet is an important step in our vision to replace the physical wallet with a secure and easy-to-use mobile wallet,” said Jennifer Bailey, vice president of Apple Pay and Apple Wallet. in the announcement in 2021

This is still not a universal game changer; While 12 states have committed to issuing digital IDs, only three have officially begun accepting them. And while the airport you’re departing from may accept a license on your Apple Watch, you might not be given the same courtesy on the way back.

Read more: Homeland Security delays deadline for getting real ID at airports

The Transportation Security Administration already supports the technology at select airport security checkpoints. So it’s really a matter of when, not if, the option will become standard across the country.

Here’s what you need to know about putting your driver’s license in your Apple Wallet, including how to do it and which states recognize digital IDs. For more travel information check out eleven things that should be on everyone’s travel checklist and: the difference between TSA PreCheck and Global Entry.

How do I add my driver’s license to my Apple Wallet?

To add an ID to your Apple Wallet, click the plus button at the top of the screen.

Dan Avery/CNET

Apple has created a technology to upload your ID to your Apple Wallet for iOS 15 iPhone. The process is similar to how you might add a new credit card.

First, tap the plus button at the top of the Wallet screen. (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 delivered to the issuing state for verification,” according to Apple.

You will also be asked to make a series of facial and head movements “as an extra safety measure”.

Once your ID is approved by the issuing country, it will be added to your wallet.

Before you can add your license or ID to Apple Wallet, it must be issued by a participating state. 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 enabled
  • Apple ID enabled with two-factor authentication
  • Your device’s region is set to US
Driver's license app in Apple Wallet

For now, only residents of Arizona, Colorado, and Maryland can upload their licenses.

Dan Avery/CNET

Also, passengers only TSA PreCheck can receive digital passes on their boarding pass, according to the TSA website, though the agency plans to add the option for other passengers in the future.

Only one license or ID can be added to an iPhone and paired to an Apple Watch at a time.

Which airports accept digital ID?

Apple initially announced in 2021 that eight states would participate in the program, then expanded that number to 12 this year.

But they are states done To accept Apple Wallet IDs, not currently.

Currently, only Arizona, Colorado, and Maryland support the digital ID feature, 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 all agreed to support the initiative, as has Puerto Rico, though no specific timelines have been announced.

Other states are expected to join this list. Bailey said last year that Apple is “already in discussions with many other states.”

And in November, the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles announced it was “exploring” a digital ID option.

“There’s a provision that created a study committee on the idea, and they’re still researching it,” spokeswoman Maranda Williams of Columbia, South Carolina, told the news agency.

In addition to Apple’s efforts, some states allow residents to load their driver’s licenses onto their phones through state-run apps, such as Louisiana’s LA Wallet. But they are for driving and age verification purposes and are not yet accepted by the TSA.

TSA screen on iPhone


How do I use a TSA-held license in my Apple Wallet?

Tap your iPhone or Apple Watch on the ID reader at the security checkpoint to present your digital ID.

You will then be prompted to authenticate yourself using Face ID or Touch ID.

If it is successful, a check should appear on the screen.

According to Apple, “you don’t have to unlock, show or hand in your device [to a TSA agent]”.

Is this technology safe?

According to Apple, it is.

The company says the app uses the same privacy and security features already in the iPhone and Apple Watch to prevent counterfeiting and theft.

“Your driver’s license or government ID information is encrypted,” Apple Support said in a statement. “Neither the issuing government nor Apple can see when and where you use your license or ID, and biometric authentication with Face ID and Touch ID helps make sure that only you can view and use your license or ID.”

The TSA has also approved digital IDs.

“Digital identity can strengthen airport security and improve the passenger experience by reducing touchpoints, providing greater privacy and more accurately verifying credentials,” 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 early stages, and there is no guarantee that the checkpoint you use will be created in your Apple Wallet to obtain a driver’s license.

“All passengers must continue to obtain their physical driver’s license,” according to the Transportation Security Administration’s website. “The TSA officer may request this physical ID in addition to the digital ID.”

Where else can I use my digital ID?

with iOS 16 release In June, apps that require age or identity verification should now be able to accept ID cards stored in your Apple Wallet app, Apple said. Uber Eats and car-share service Turo have been pointed to as two apps that could offer the feature, according to MacRumors, but neither has officially done so.

Apple added that retailers, restaurants and other places will use this feature in the future.

Digital IDs are not currently accepted by police or motor vehicle departments.

I have an Android phone. Can I upload my ID to Google Wallet?

In a December 2022 system update, Google announced it was beta testing a way for Android phone users to upload their driver’s licenses to Google Wallet for “convenient, private and secure presentation.”

Google said the feature will be available in “select US state(s),” but didn’t say which ones or when.


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