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Apple Opens Digital Driver's License and State ID Program, Starting With Arizona

The tech giant on Wednesday said its new digital license technology can be used at TSA security checkpoints in Phoenix to start.

Apple's been slowly turning its Wallet app into an actual wallet replacement.
Screenshot/Apple

Apple on Wednesday inched a step closer to replacing real-world wallets with the one on its iPhone, opening up its digital driver's license and state ID program in Arizona. The initiative, built into Apple's iOS 15 software that powers modern iPhones, was announced last summer and will expand to Colorado, Hawaii, Mississippi, Ohio and Puerto Rico "soon."

"We're thrilled to bring the first driver's license and state ID in Wallet to Arizona today, and provide Arizonans with an easy, secure, and private way to present their ID when traveling, through just a tap of their iPhone or Apple Watch," said Jennifer Bailey, Apple's vice president of Apple Pay and Apple Wallet, in a statement. Other states, including Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland and Utah have also announced plans to work with Apple to offer digital driver's licenses and state IDs. 

Read more: You can add your driver's license or state ID to Apple Wallet in iOS 15. Here's how

The state ID initiative is part of Apple's ongoing efforts to turn its wallet app, built into its iPhones and Apple Watches, into a digital twin of the things we typically carry around. Already, the company supports retail membership cards, airplane ticketing systems and many credit cards from American Express, Master Card and Visa. Hotel companies such as Hyatt have begun offering "virtual room keys," and car companies have begun offering digital keys that people can even share with one another over text message.

Read more: How Google and Qualcomm are working to bring digital driver's licenses to Android phones

Apple says the new state ID will work just like a physical one, including at the TSA checkpoint at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport to start. Apple says its program relies on the same "secure element" hardware it's designed for storing credit cards, biometrics and other sensitive data.

In an additional effort to fight fraud, Apple said it will require users to complete facial and head scans using their iPhones during setup. Each state, Apple said, will be responsible for verifying and approving driver's license or state IDs to a user's Wallet app.