How to Use Your iPhone As an Official ID

How to Use Your iPhone As an Official ID


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Photo: Jake Peterson

In this digital age, why do we still have physical IDs? I don’t need my credit card when I can use Apple Pay; I don’t need my MetroCard anymore with Express Transit; but still, I need to bring the whole wallet with me anywhere that requires a driver’s license. Luckily, it looks like that’s changing with iOS 15, as Apple is making it possible to add an official ID to your Wallet app.

The new feature is tied to iOS 15, so it isn’t live yet. But we already know quite a bit about it; Apple will let you add your driver’s license or state ID to Wallet, so long as your state supports the feature. Once added, you can use it when going through new security lanes at participating airports. While that’s the initial use case, we hope to see this ID in Wallet feature accepted in more forms in the future, such as when buying alcohol or other age-restricted goods.

How to add your ID to your iPhone’s Wallet app

Once iOS 15 is out, and ID in Wallet is live, it’s a relatively simple process to set up. It’s the same initial process for adding other types of cards to the app; just tap the (+) button at the top of Wallet’s main screen, and follow the instructions for adding a license or ID. If you have an Apple Watch, you’ll also be prompted to add the ID to the watch.

Next, iOS will ask to scan your ID and ask for a selfie. According to Apple, your iPhone will then securely send the selfie to your state to verify your identity, and, as an additional security layer, will have you record a series of facial and head movements. Once your state verifies your identity, your ID will be added to the Wallet app.

How to use your ID in Wallet

While there are certainly many potential uses for ID in Wallet, Apple’s main idea at this time is for presenting your license or ID to TSA when going through airport security. All you need to do is tap your iPhone at the identity reader. When you do, you’ll see a prompt that displays the information TSA is requesting. That information is only released to TSA once you authenticate yourself with Face ID or Touch ID.

Apple is adamant this feature is secure; all of your identifying information is encrypted on your device, so third parties can’t access it. When you share that information with a TSA identity reader, that process is also encrypted, so the data is protected during transfer.

States that will let you use ID in Wallet

At this time, ID in Wallet is not yet active, as it is an iOS 15 exclusive. There’s no timeline for when the feature will go live; Apple has not confirmed whether this is a day-one feature for iOS 15, or whether it will take some time. Until then, Apple confirmed that Arizona and Georgia will be the first states in the country to opt-in to ID in Wallet.

However, other states are also confirmed; they just won’t take advantage of the feature until some time after Arizona and Georgia. They are:

  • Connecticut
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • Oklahoma
  • Utah

   



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