Apple’s Wallet app now supports Maryland’s state IDs and driver’s licenses, making it the second state after Arizona to gain the digital identification feature (through MacRumors† Free State residents can now use their iPhone or Apple Watch at select TSA checkpoints at participating airports, including Baltimore/Washington International and Reagan National† The iPhone won’t contain a “picture” of the card, just a means of sending information to a receiving device – and you use biometrics to confirm that the information is being sent to the device.
However, the digital IDs are not a substitute for physical ones. Maryland’s Motor Vehicle Administration (essentially the DMV) website states that: law enforcement will not accept Maryland Mobile ID, which means you still have to carry your wallet to drive and even fly. For now, the only advantage of the digital ID is that your physical ID can remain at the selected airports.
But this is just the beginning of the digital ID revolution and there will be some confusion along the way. So if you’re looking forward to a future where you don’t have to carry a wallet, adoption is key. For Maryland residents, how-to videos are available on the state’s website to help with the push, featuring: production value: we are more used to seeing Apple. That’s probably because Apple has explicitly contracted to control the marketing and other aspects of the deal with each state.
There’s a concern that once law enforcement has access to information through these devices, attention will turn to your iPhone and they may ask you to hand over your phone, even if that’s not how it’s supposed to work.
An American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) reported last year on the “Identity Crisiscaused by a shift to digital IDs pointed to a whole host of potential privacy threats to be aware of, including police access to people’s phones, user control over data, and even longer-term issues such as possible extensions of the information or requirements for use remotely. Together with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), they submitted a series of questions to the Department of Homeland Securitythat aims to address these concerns before the technology is widely adopted.
Adding a Status ID to your iPhone requires an iPhone 8 or newer with at least iOS 15.4 and a companion Apple Watch must be Series 4 or newer with at least watchOS 8.4. Once you meet these requirements, tap the plus button in the top right corner of the Wallet app, tap Driver’s License or State ID, select your state and follow the instructions, which include taking pictures of the front and back back of your ID. You will be prompted to move your face in certain directions on the camera, on a screen that resembles a Face ID control panel.
The data is sent to the state for verification, so the ID may not be available immediately after completing the process. Once you have it, however, use it by holding your iPhone or Apple Watch against the TSA check-in terminal. It responds to your digital ID (similar to how Apple’s express card works on the subway or subway), and then there’s an extra check on your device that asks your permission to continue.
That extra check means the photos taken are sent to the state — Maryland in my case — to confirm I’m the one who set it up. apples overview of Wallet ID’s privacy and security indicate that it will delete the data once the process is complete:
The subset of your ID’s data is deleted from Apple servers right after sending your request to the state. Your selfie and the video of your movements will be removed from Apple servers shortly after the state issuing authority approves or denies adding your ID to Apple Wallet.
Both Apple and Maryland claim that digital IDs are convenient and secure — and if the technology can be trusted, we’ll finally have a way to identify ourselves without handing over our personal information, which is usually on a physical card.