Maryland will become one of the first states where you can store your driver’s license on your phone — if you’re willing to send Apple a picture of your license and a selfie for verification.
The state is among a half-dozen that are debuting mobile driver’s licenses and state identifications with Apple, the company and state leaders announced Wednesday.
The Transportation Security Administration has agreed to accept the mobile licenses at airport checkpoints, the first locations where they will be used. iPhone and Apple Watch users will be able to “seamlessly and securely add their driver’s license or state ID” to the Wallet app, Apple said.
“Maryland is proud to be a leader once again in safe innovation with the implementation of mobile driver’s licenses,” said Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, in a statement. “As we look to the future, we are committed to enhancing convenience and accessibility while maintaining the highest safety and security standards for our state and citizens.”
It’s unclear exactly when it will begin. The program will kick off in Arizona and Georgia and expand later to Maryland, Connecticut, Kentucky, Iowa, Oklahoma and Utah, Apple said, but the states will provide their respective timelines.
The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration said it looks forward to offering the new capability while “continuing its mission to provide premier customer service and enhanced convenience in the safest way possible for all Maryland residents.”
“We will share more information on availability at a later date,” the MVA said.
Jennifer Bailey, Apple’s vice president of Apple Pay and Apple Wallet, called the mobile identifications “an important step in our vision of replacing the physical wallet with a secure and easy-to-use mobile wallet.”
“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,” Bailey said.
Transportation Security Administrator David Pekoske said keeping driver’s licenses on phones would “enable a more seamless airport security screening experience for travelers,” especially those who want more touchless options amid a protracted pandemic.
“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,” Pekoske said in a statement.
While the move to mobile is likely to prompt security concerns, Apple said it provides more, not less, security to both users and the states adopting the program. The user will be required to scan their physical license or ID and take a selfie to be provided to the state for verification, Apple said.
“As an additional security step, users also will be prompted to complete a series of facial and head movements during the setup process,” Apple said in its announcement.
Neither the company nor the states know when or where users present their IDs, Apple said. Biometric authentication using Face ID or Touch ID “ensures that only the person who added the ID to the device can view or present their ID or license,” the company said.
Users won’t need to hand over their phones, either. The licenses and IDs are presented digitally through encrypted communication between the device and the identity reader, Apple said.
Mobile licenses and IDs have been in the works for years in Maryland. Hogan announced a pilot program in 2017 to develop and implement a statewide mobile license, and the earliest version was offered to volunteers at some businesses in a two-year pilot.
Two years ago, the Maryland General Assembly passed House Bill 180, authorizing the MVA to issue electronic credentials, which the MVA said is “the next step in making this cutting-edge technology available to all Marylanders.”