The Transportation Security Administration confirmed that it will start accepting Apple Wallet’s new digital IDs starting in February 2022. It looks set to be the first agency to support the new feature, which Apple announced in June.
Two airports will be part of the pilot program initially, but the TSA plans to add another two in March 2022 before a wider rollout next year.
TSA will adopt digital IDs next year
When Apple unveiled digital IDs for the Wallet app at its Worldwide Developers Conference in June, the plan was to launch it sometime this year, with the TSA being its first supporter. Unfortunately, like a number of new additions to iOS 15, Apple later delayed the rollout.
Apple Wallet is now scheduled to get digital ID support next year. And, as promised, the TSA will be first to accept them, according to an announcement this week by the Secure Technology Alliance. The press release says mobile driver’s licenses, aka mDL, “are gaining traction in at least 30 U.S. states” and preparing to take to the sky.
“TSA is preparing to begin its phased rollout, with mDL Apple Wallet integration being its first step, which will allow select security checkpoints in participating airports to be the first locations,” the announcement read.
“TSA says standards-based digital ID’s, such as state-issued mDL will help streamline and secure the identity verification process.”
Machines take over
As things stand, TSA staffers check physical ID cards and ensure they match up with your face. But once digital IDs become available, “a machine will automate the process” for faster, more secure checks.
This feature won’t be exclusive to iPhone users, either. It’s part of the TSA’s wider plan to make mobile driver’s licenses mainstream for all flyers, regardless of which smartphone they use. Apple is just first to the party.
Of course, in addition to the TSA’s support, your state will need to adopt digital IDs, too. For now, Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Oklahoma and Utah are the only ones that have confirmed support.