Apple Announces First States to Support Driver's Licenses Stored in Devices' Wallet

Apple announced on Wednesday that Arizona and Georgia will be the first states to allow residents to digitally store their driver's licenses or state IDs to Apple Wallet.

The company said it is working with states across the country to allow people to add their IDs to their iOS devices. Connecticut, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Oklahoma and Utah will be the next states to allow residents to use the function.

One of Apple's stated goals for the program is to allow for easier travel. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has also announced it will accept IDs from Apple Wallet in participating airports in certain states. Users of the Wallet option can present the digital ID to TSA agents by tapping it on an identity reader.

Unlock iPhone via Voice
Arizona and Georgia will allow residents to digitally store their driver's licenses or state IDs to Apple Wallet. Above, this undated stock image depicts an iPhone. yalcinsonat1/Getty Images

"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," Jennifer Bailey, Apple's vice president of Apple Pay and Apple Wallet, said in Wednesday's announcement. "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."

"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," TSA Administrator David Pekoske added 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."

Apple emphasized in its announcement that Wallet will provide a more secure and convenient way for customers to present their driver's licenses and state IDs on iPhone or Apple Watch. However, some critics are concerned about privacy issues, including Aram Sinnreich, a communication professor at American University in Washington who studies technology. Sinnreich spoke with NPR about his concerns with IDs being stored in Wallet when Apple first announced the plan in the early part of the summer.

"What happens when Apple messes up? What happens when there is a large security breach and 100 million peoples' information gets leaked?" Sinnreich said to NPR. "We are stuck with this partner who has violated our trust and we have no legal apparatus to hold them accountable or separate ourselves from them."

Apple said participating states and the TSA will provide 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 about which TSA airport security checkpoints it will be available at first.