Apple Makes Arizona First State to Add IDs, Drivers License to Devices

by Cole Lauterbach


Technology giant Apple now allows Arizonans to keep a copy of their driver’s license and other state ID in their digital wallets.

Apple announced Wednesday that most iPhone and Apple Watch users with Arizona state documents are now able to upload digital copies in the same manner as credit or debit cards, making it the first state to do so.

“We’re thrilled to bring the first driver’s license and state ID in Wallet to Arizona today, and provide Arizonans with an easy, secure, and private way to present their ID when traveling, through just a tap of their iPhone or Apple Watch,” said Jennifer Bailey, Apple’s vice president of Apple Pay and Apple Wallet.

Adding a state identification or driver’s license is the same process as adding another card to a digital wallet but with one additional step. The user must provide a selfie and scan both sides of the card for Apple to submit to the state for verification.

The new digital card also is accepted at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, making it possible to move through a TSA security checkpoint without a tangible ticket or identification.

“Today’s announcement marks a significant milestone in TSA’s efforts to improve airport security screening,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said. “As mobile device technologies continue to advance and become more secure, TSA is committed to leveraging those technologies wherever possible to enhance airport security, reduce touchpoints, provide greater privacy protections to individuals, and facilitate greater accuracy in identity verification capabilities at TSA checkpoints.”

The airport said in a news release the digital pass use is limited to passengers with TSA Precheck status.

“With this technology, Arizonans are at the front of the line for experiencing a streamlined airport security process,” Gov. Doug Ducey said through a spokesperson. “This puts our state at the leading edge of a new technology that offers choice, convenience, privacy and security.”

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego said the new convenience will help travelers without compromising airport security.

“Phoenix embraces innovation, and this new technology promises to improve passengers’ experience while ensuring vital security,” she said. “We are proud to partner with Apple in being an early-adopter of this modernization.”

When asked why Arizona was the first out of the gate with Apple’s new technological agreement, Ducey spokesperson CJ Karamargin said the state had built a reputation of leading on matters such as this.

“Anyone who knows Gov. Doug Ducey and follows what’s happening here in Arizona shouldn’t be the least bit surprised at this announcement,” he said. “We’re a state of firsts. We’ve led the way on civics education. We’ve blazed a trail on universal licensing. We’ve pioneered the use of telehealth. And now we’re the first in the nation to enable ID access to Apple Wallet. Things like this don’t just happen randomly.”

The move is Apple’s latest step toward its goal of a “wallet-free future.”

The company announced in September that Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Oklahoma and Utah soon would have the feature. It added Colorado, Hawaii, Mississippi, Ohio and the territory of Puerto Rico to the list Wednesday.

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Cole Lauterbach is a regional editor for The Center Square covering Arizona, California, and Nevada. For more than a decade, Cole has produced award-winning content on both radio and television.



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