Digital ID and driver’s license on iPhone states

Apple announced plans to turn the iPhone into your driver’s license all the way back in 2021. Plane tickets, movie passes, and credit cards were already digital. Now it was time to digitize government-issued identification cards.

So far, very few U.S. states actually let you add your driver’s license or state ID to Apple Wallet. However, there are more states without Wallet support where your iPhone can still become your driver’s license.

What’s the benefit of making your driver’s license or state ID available in Apple Wallet? For now, it’s very similar to using Apple Pay to checkout at a store.

Rather than presenting your physical driver’s license or state ID at TSA checkpoints in airports, simply tapping your iPhone or Apple Watch on an NFC reader can validate your identity. Boarding passes have long turned digital, and driver’s licenses are catching up.

There doesn’t seem to be a race to complete or even start the transition to digital IDs, though. For now, three states and four airports support IDs in Wallet.

You can add your ID to Wallet on iPhone in these states, according to Apple:

Apple said in 2021 that Arizona, Connecticut, Iowa, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Utah are also committed to support the feature. For now, it’s easy to find news coverage for states committing to digital ID support since 2021 without a solution in 2024.

Once your ID is added to Wallet, you can wave your iPhone to validate your identity at select TSA checkpoints at these airports, according to Apple:

While just four states support IDs in Wallet so far, there are many more additional states and territories that are at various levels of exploring support. Beyond TSA support, IDs in Wallet could be accepted in banking, enterprise, and more.

While national support for IDs in Wallet may take years, more states officially offer digital IDs on iPhone sans Wallet support. States with mobile ID apps on iPhone include:

These states have mobile apps that let you use your digital ID with contactless terminals. The setup process may require registering your phone number, scanning the front and back of your physical ID, and verifying with a selfie. Users can then “certify” their digital ID to be used for TSA, age verification, and more.

Digital IDs aren’t just more convenient. When supported, a user can verify their age for age-restricted purchases like alcohol without revealing personal information like their birth date or home address, for example.

While only four airports accept IDs in Wallet, there are many more field assessment pilot airports that accept digital ID apps. The TSA lists these locations, although TSA PreCheck is required:

If you don’t live in one of the few states that support digital IDs, you’re probably asking yourself when your state will make the list. Legislative bodies in each state and territory must propose and pass their own laws allowing digital driver’s licenses. This process is probably the biggest bottleneck.

Once legal, state officials must agree on how best to implement digital IDs. Companies like IDEMIA are making this process more straightforward, but each state tackles issues like support and security separately.

Last time I flew out of PHX, I got all excited to use my iPhone to get through security. I have TSA precheck, and I when I approached the agent desk with phone in hand, I asked her how to use my digital ID. She said, “I need your physical ID.” I responded with, “I thought we could use Apple Wallet in this airport?” And she said, “Sometimes. But not today.” 🤷‍♂️

Several states have already legalized digital driver’s licenses and state IDs but do not have a solution in place. Laws have been passed as recently as 2021, 2022, and 2023.

Some states are testing small pilot programs before officially launching support. Most states that offer digital ID support do not charge for access, but some states do charge a one-time fee of $10 or an annual fee of $2.

Having your driver’s license available in Apple Wallet on your iPhone without downloading something from the App Store is ideal scenario. If you’re wondering when your state will make the leap, it’s helpful to be familiar with digital ID laws in your state as well as recent news coverage about progress toward implementation. This data will give you the best information for managing your expectations.

Missing any data? Have you added your ID to Wallet or used your digital ID in the real world yet? Let us know in the comments.

Zac covers Apple news, hosts the 9to5Mac Happy Hour podcast, and created