Apple Is Debuting Digital IDs That You Can Use at Airport Security

Simply add your government-issued ID to your Apple Wallet or Apple Watch

Apple digital ID

Courtesy of Apple

Remember when digital boarding passes were a revolutionary invention in air travel? Well, Apple is taking that technology one step further. Soon the tech company will launch digital IDs, allowing people to upload their driver's licenses or state IDs to their iPhones or Apple Watches via Apple Wallet. Best of all, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has already approved these digital ID cards to be accepted at airport security.

“This new and innovative mobile driver’s license and state ID initiative with Apple and states around the country will enable a more seamless airport security screening experience for travelers,” David Pekoske, TSA administrator, said in a statement. “This initiative marks a major milestone by TSA to provide an additional level of convenience for the traveler by enabling more opportunities for touchless TSA airport security screening.”

To upload an ID, users will have to take a photo of their card, then complete a series of head movements to capture their likeness. Concerned about privacy? Well, if you use Face ID, Apple already knows what you look like. And if you use Touch ID, it already has your fingerprints from Touch ID.

Apple digital ID scan

Courtesy of Apple

Of course, all of your data will be protected. Per Apple, "[c]ustomers’ identity data is encrypted and protected against tampering and theft. Biometric authentication using Face ID and Touch ID ensures that only the person who added the ID to the device can view or present their ID or license in Wallet."

You won't even have to show your digital ID to a TSA agent—your iPhone or Apple Watch will communicate directly with a special identity reader at the airport to verify your identity.

There is a bit of bad news, though; only a few states (and a few airports within those states) will get the new ID tech for now. Arizona and Georgia are leading the pack, then Connecticut, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Oklahoma, and Utah will follow. But should the program go well, there will likely be a country-wide rollout...eventually.

“The addition of driver’s licenses and state IDs to Apple Wallet is an important step in our vision of replacing the physical wallet with a secure and easy-to-use mobile wallet,” said Jennifer Bailey, Apple’s vice president of Apple Pay and Apple Wallet. “We are excited that the TSA and so many states are already on board to help bring this to life for travelers across the country using only their iPhone and Apple Watch, and we are already in discussions with many more states as we’re working to offer this nationwide in the future.”

Was this page helpful?