Apple will accelerate users’ transition to digital driver’s licenses

digital driver's licenses

Proponents argue that digital identities will be more secure and private than physical ones.

Starting with iOS 15, scheduled for release this fall, Apple will allow users to store their state ID along with credit card details, loyalty programs, travel passes, and even driver’s licenses in the Apple Wallet app. The change could be a watershed moment for American users, prompting more states and the US government to make digital driving licenses the norm.

Digital driving licenses are nothing new. The states of Oklahoma, Delaware and Arizona have worked with IDEMIA to develop the infrastructure and companion application to support digital driver’s licenses. And Colorado and Louisiana introduced digital IDs over two years ago. However, the transition to digital versions of documents is rather slow. Every state that has authorized a digital driver’s license still requires a physical version of the document, and some digital IDs cannot currently be used outside the state in which they were issued. This is in part due to new requirements by the federal government for identity design to make it harder for attackers to forge a document.

Proponents argue that digital IDs will ultimately be more secure and private than physical IDs. A driver’s license on a mobile phone can be locked using biometric authentication. If someone steals a physical driver’s license, they gain access to confidential information. But digital driver’s licenses, for example, in Apple Wallet, will not be available to other users.

Apple did not disclose which states it is partnering with or which driver’s licenses Apple Wallet will support once the new feature launches. The company also declined to comment on whether it is working on launching digital driving licenses in states that do not yet offer them.

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