In yet another move toward holistic digitization, Apple has announced its plans to release digital IDs. The upcoming feature will only be available in certain states to begin with, but it could mark a new era for travel—and privacy.
Here are all the details on what Apple's digital IDs entail (including the ins and outs of privacy), plus when to expect this feature to drop in the real world.
Apple announces that digital IDs are coming.
Apple has been teasing its forthcoming operating system, iOS 15, for some time. Apple currently plans to drop the system in the fall, although some features won't be available right away. One of those features is the digital ID, where people can store identification in the Apple Wallet alongside credit cards.
In the announcement, Apple said, "Built with privacy at the forefront, Wallet provides a more secure and convenient way for customers to present their driver’s licenses and state IDs on iPhone or Apple Watch."
The logistics of that privacy will be a key concern for people as it isn't clear how Apple plans to use the identification data it collects when someone uploads an ID to the Wallet. While Apple has clarified that the Wallet is totally encrypted and protected from identity theft, the company could still use the data that these identifications provide to benefit its own bottom line.
Apple clarified that neither the states nor the company will be able to tell when and where IDs are being presented without prior biometric authorization. Time will tell how this will hold up in court once the government inevitably tries to hunt someone down.
TSA will comply with digital IDs at select airports.
TSA (Transportation Security Administration) will set up specific checkpoints and lanes at certain airports once the digital ID feature is live. This will enable travelers to check in without having to take out a physical identification.
Eight states join the Apple's digital ID bandwagon
Eight U.S. states have already signed on to start allowing digital IDs through the Apple Wallet.
Arizona and Georgia will lead the charge by allowing residents to use digital IDs. Connecticut, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Oklahoma, and Utah will follow suit.
Eric Jorgensen, the director of the Arizona Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Division, is particularly excited about Apple's digital IDs. He told the company, "We are pleased to work with Apple and give Arizonans the choice, convenience, and security of adding their driver’s license to their Apple Wallet."
When to expect Apple's digital IDs
Apple hasn't divulged a firm timeline for the digital ID feature. However, we know that the new operating system is dropping this fall, so Americans can likely expect an update sometime after this.
Apple said, "Participating states and the TSA will share more information at a later date about when support for mobile driver’s licenses and state IDs in Wallet will be available in each state, and which TSA airport security checkpoints and select lanes it will be available at first."