TSA Preparing to Begin Accepting Mobile Driver's Licenses in February 2022

Starting in early 2022, residents of select U.S. states will be able to add their driver's license or state ID to the Wallet app on the iPhone and Apple Watch, providing a convenient and contactless way to display proof of identity or age.

apple wallet drivers license feature
According to a Security Technology Alliance blog post shared by 9to5Mac, the TSA plans to begin accepting mobile driver's licenses at airports in two U.S. states starting in February 2022, followed by an additional two states around March. The TSA did not specify which states or airports will be part of this initial rollout, and it's unclear if Wallet app integration will be ready in time or if digital IDs will be limited to states' own apps at first.

In September, Apple revealed the first states that would let residents add their driver's license or state ID to the Wallet app as including Arizona and Georgia, with Connecticut, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Oklahoma, and Utah to follow. Florida is also reportedly aiming to support the feature, while the Security Technology Alliance said several other states like Virginia and Louisiana have piloted mobile driver's license usage.

Residents of participating states will be able to tap the plus sign at the top of the Wallet app to begin adding a driver's license or state ID to the app, and then simply tap their iPhone or Apple Watch on an identity reader to present their ID at select TSA security checkpoints, without taking out their physical card or handing over their device.

Only after authorizing with Face ID or Touch ID is the requested identity information released from a user's device, and they do not need to unlock, show, or hand over their device to a TSA security officer to present their ID, according to Apple.

When adding an ID to the Wallet app, Apple said users will be required to take a photo of their face, which will be securely provided to the issuing state for verification. As an additional security measure, Apple said users will be prompted to complete a series of facial and head movements during the setup process.

Apple has not provided a specific release date for the feature beyond the early 2022 timeframe, and it is not enabled in the first iOS 15.3 or watchOS 8.4 betas. The feature was supposed to launch this year, but it was delayed.

Top Rated Comments

I7guy Avatar
12 months ago
C'mon New York and New Jersey. Let's get aboard!
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mnsportsgeek Avatar
12 months ago

Seems to be of very limited use as will only be accepted by TSA checkpoints that have the reader. No other locations that need ID will accept it. I'll be interested when local bars have the reader. Until readers are wide spread, still need the physical ID. My Colorado app ID is legally valid for many more places but I still need my physical card as places are not required, just permitted, to accept it.

Keep in mind, if there is a return flight from a state that does not offer this, you still need a physical license. This will take years to implement, but even then is it really worth it? You still need a physical ID for so many other things.
It took Apple Pay like 5-7 years to be widely accepted and even today there is still room for improvement. Nobody expects this to transform the industry overnight, but it’s a start. Same with the car key.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheYayAreaLiving ? Avatar
12 months ago
Let’s get Las Vegas on board. It would make it so much easier to get into the casinos and night clubs
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
wigby Avatar
12 months ago

I don’t feel this will transform anything compared to ApplePay. Especially at airports. This will actually slow things down potentially. Instead of having your digital boarding pass up and ready, you would have to have the digital ID up, then switch apps to your digital boarding pass. While I love the idea behind it, I just don’t see implementation being an improvement.
I don't know about that. I've spent more time waiting in line while others (and myself) try to straighten out the paper ticket than any on-screen QR code to be scanned. You're also assuming that the digital ID and digital boarding pass cannot be integrated into the same screen or scannable code.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
IIGS User Avatar
12 months ago

Keep in mind, if there is a return flight from a state that does not offer this, you still need a physical license.
What are you talking about?

If I have a compliant ID issued from a state that participates in the program (say, Maryland for example's sake) I can fly to, and from any airport in the US on that ID. I could use my compliant mobile ID from Maryland to board a flight in Philadelphia, fly to LA, and then back to Philadelphia on that Maryland ID. Or from LA to BWI on the same ID.

The TSA's systems aren't reliant on the state they are located in. They're connected through the federal government's network that includes passport, TWIC, and Pre Check systems. Those systems interface with the individual states through the federal system to electronically verify the authenticity of the identification presented.

This has nothing to do with what state your flight originates in...
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mnsportsgeek Avatar
12 months ago

I don’t feel this will transform anything compared to ApplePay. Especially at airports. This will actually slow things down potentially. Instead of having your digital boarding pass up and ready, you would have to have the digital ID up, then switch apps to your digital boarding pass. While I love the idea behind it, I just don’t see implementation being an improvement.
It’s all in the wallet app though. It’d be like 2 gestures to switch between 2 cards.

For me, the end goal is getting rid of a wallet and keys. Maybe we’re 10 years away. Maybe we’re 20 years away, but that’s the goal.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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