Apple’s Wallet app now supports Maryland state IDs and driver’s licenses, marking it as the second state after Arizona to get the digital ID feature (via 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 carry an “image” of the card, only a means of transmitting information to a receiving device – and you use biometrics to confirm the information sent to the device.
However, digital IDs do not replace physical IDs. The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (essentially, the DMV) website states that law enforcement does not accept Maryland Mobile ID, which means you will still need to carry your wallet to drive and even fly . For now, the only benefit of digital ID is that your physical ID can remain hidden at selected airports.
But this is just the beginning for the digital ID revolution, and there will be some confusion along the way. So if you envision a future where you don’t need to carry a wallet, then adoption will be key. For Maryland residents, instructional videos are available on the state’s website to help with the push, with production value we’re more used to seeing from Apple. That’s likely because Apple has explicitly committed to controlling marketing and other aspects of the deal with each state.
It was feared that once law enforcement is able to access information through these devices, attention will shift to your iPhone and they may ask you to hand over your phone to them even if it isn’t. as it is supposed to work.
A report by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) last year on the “identity crisis” posed by the shift to digital IDs highlighted a host of potential privacy threats that should be addressed. , including police access to people’s phones, user control over data, and even longer-term issues like potential extensions of the information contained or remote use requirements. Along with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), they submitted a series of questions to the Department of Homeland Security, seeking to address these concerns before the technology becomes widely used.
Adding a Status ID to your iPhone requires an iPhone 8 or later running at least iOS 15.4, and an accompanying Apple Watch must be Series 4 or later running at least watchOS 8.4. Once you meet these requirements, you can tap the plus button at the top right of the Wallet app, tap Driver’s License or State ID, select your state, and then follow the instructions which include taking photos front and back of your ID. You’ll be asked to move your face in certain directions on the camera, on a screen that looks like a Face ID setup screen.
The data will be passed to the state for verification, so the ID may not be available immediately after the process is complete. Once you have it, however, you’ll use it by holding your iPhone or Apple Watch in front of the TSA check-in terminal. It will respond to your digital ID (similar to how Apple’s Express Transit Card works on the subway or subway) and then further verification on your device will ask for permission to continue.
This additional verification means that the images taken are sent to the state – in my case, Maryland – to confirm that I am the one installing it. Apple’s Wallet ID Privacy and Security Overview states that it deletes the data after the process is complete:
Your ID subset of data is deleted from Apple servers immediately after your request is submitted to the state. Your selfie and video of your movements are deleted from Apple servers shortly after the state issuing authority approves or denies adding your ID to Apple Wallet.
Apple and Maryland both tout that digital IDs are convenient and secure — and if the technology is trustworthy, we finally have a way to identify ourselves without having to hand over our personal data which is usually on a physical card.