What US states will support Apple Wallet digital identity cards?
Apple announced that you'll soon be able to put your driver's license on your phone, but where will this work?
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Of the many new features Apple revealed during its annual WWDC keynote, the one with the most potential to change day-to-day lives is the ability to store your state ID within Apple Wallet. By working with local governments and storing your personal information within the Secure Element on an iPhone, not to mention working with the TSA for use in airports across the US, Apple is offering a safe way to truly ditch your physical wallet soon. The question right now is where will you be able to actually use this new feature. During the keynote, Apple said this would work in "participating states in the US" but didn't give a full list. I've done a little research, and this is where I think the first rollout is most likely to happen.
First state with a digital ID
Louisiana has a digital State ID service already, and in fact has had one since 2018. The LA Wallet app allows anyone in the state to add their state-issued ID to the app and use it in place of a physical card anywhere in the state.
Based on this, it's extremely likely we'll see the Bayou State on the list of participating states on Day 1.
First launch partner for IDEMIA
While some states have been working on a way to do all of this on their own, tech company IDEMIA has been working with several states on a digital ID approach. Oklahoma had originally launched its own service, but partnered with IDEMIA on a relaunch earlier this year. Among other things, this allowed residents to more easily convert their existing IDs to the federal REAL ID program.
One of the most recent additions to the digital ID lineup is Delaware, which released the feature back in March. A big question about digital IDs is how the app guarantees it's actually your ID on the phone. Delaware's Mobile ID app binds your phone number, a scan of your ID, a selfie and a six-digit pin together to confirm it's you. If any of these things change, the ID must be recertified by the state.
Originally released in an effort to combat identity theft in the state, Arizona's ADOT ID Card is another example of an IDEMIA-supported app available to the public. This service rolled out to the state at the end of March, so hasn't been around for very long.
Early testing has begun
At the moment, 100 people in Utah are currently testing the state's digital ID system. The state plans to expand this service to 10,000 people soon, with plans for a statewide rollout later this year.
Some early concerns, but coming soon
There's no release date for Iowa's digital ID system, but it is widely expected to be available in some form by next year. It's possible a partnership with Apple could help expedite this process, but it's too soon to tell.
No hard launch date has been given, but Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles is expected to release its digital ID program sometime in 2021. This app is being released in partnership with tech company Thales for verification and "other services" in the app.
Early adopter in theory
As one of three states to participate in a government grant for advancing the digital ID program back in 2016, it was expected Maryland would be one of the states leading the charge. While Maryland Governor Larry Hogan did announce a pilot program for this service in 2017, there's been very little movement since then. It's possible support from Apple could reboot this program, but for the moment that's unclear.
Current awaiting legislation
A bill to approve digital IDs for the state of Wyoming passed the state Senate in March of 2020, but like the rest of the world they've been a little busy over there since then. It's possible we'll see this come back to life soon, especially now that Apple has announced native support for it.
Not a lot of additional info
Like Maryland, Idaho received grant money back in 2016 to pursue digital IDs as a possibility. Unfortunately, very little has been done publicly since then. It's unlikely Idaho would suddenly be on the Day 1 list for supporting this on your iPhone, but the groundwork has already been laid for this feature so it could happen sooner than you think.
Not quite ready
Apple's home state would seem like an obvious stating point for a digital ID, given how much technology begins and ends in California, but the truth is it might be a while. There are lawmakers currently looking to introduce legislation to approve this feature for California citizens, but at the moment the state isn't fully ready to flip the switch.
The home of the first COVID vaccine passport and one of the biggest users of Apple Wallet for subway transit is not yet ready to roll out a digital driver's license. New York has been testing a number of ways to roll out digital ID for some time, but there are no active apps to use. It's possible Apple will have worked directly with state officials to make this happen at launch, but it's likely we'll see this happen slightly after.
We'll be keeping this list updated as more information comes in, but it's clear there are a ton of questions still. If two states support digital IDs, are they compatible so you can travel without bringing your card? How will digital IDs work in police situations like a traffic stop? What happens when your driver's license is a little older and you don't look like your ID anymore? Here's hoping we'll have lots of answers soon.
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