Are you ready for a mobile-only future where we can leave wallets and purses behind? We’re slowly inching closer to it being possible. Between Apple Pay and Google Pay for mobile payment options, including the ability to withdraw money from ATMs, and the fact that you can access important information like your insurance cards and other staples that go in a wallet directly on your phone — we’re getting very close to being able to ditch our card holders.
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Personally, I use Apple Pay or Google Pay on a daily basis to pay for practically every purchase. For the last few years, I’d already had my driver’s license on my phone due to Colorado’s myColorado app and its support for a digital driver’s license. Then last November, Apple and the state of Colorado announced residents of the state could add their driver’s license to the Wallet app on the iPhone, and I set it up right away.
The process took less than 5 minutes for me.
Below, I’ll walk you through which states currently support adding your ID to the Apple Wallet app, how to add your own ID to your iPhone, and, finally, how and when you can use the digitized version of your ID.
Which states currently support adding your ID to the Apple Wallet app?
The list isn’t very long. Apple recently announced Georgia is now a supported state, joining the longstanding list of Arizona, Colorado, or Maryland.
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In March of 2022, Hawaii, Mississippi, Ohio, and the territory of Puerto Rico announced plans to add support for the feature. Colorado was also included in that list, and the state officially launched support in November.
There’s no clear timing on when the support will be available for the other states that have announced plans to support the feature.
It’s slow going, but at least it’s… something?
How to add your driver’s license or ID to the Wallet app
Before you start the process of adding your ID to the Apple Wallet app, you’ll want to make sure you have your physical driver’s license or ID nearby — you’ll have to scan both sides during the process.
Start by opening the Wallet app, then tap on the + sign in the top-right corner of the screen. Next, select Driver’s License or State ID, followed by your state.
The rest of the signup process consists of scanning the front and back of your current ID, verifying that the scan is accurate, and then going through what amounts to a really weird Face ID setup process.
I was asked to hold my iPhone steady, with the front-facing camera looking at me, and then turn my head to the left until my phone vibrated. I was then asked to open my mouth, smile, close my eyes, and then turn my head to the right. If I moved my phone, the process would start all over and the movements I was asked to make would change. It never repeated itself.
It was weird.
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Finally, I had to take a photo of myself using the front-facing camera and then submit all of this information to the state DMV. The final screen let me know the DMV would approve my request and that I’d receive an alert when that was done.
I honestly expected this process to take a few hours, maybe a day. But a couple of minutes later, I received a notification that my Colorado Driver’s License was ready in the Wallet app.
The license itself doesn’t look anything like your current license or ID. There’s a placeholder image — for Colorado, it’s a ram — that shimmers and changes colors when you look at it and move your iPhone. It looks like Arizona’s has a cactus on it, and Maryland’s has a crab. Georgia? Well, of course it has a peach. Your first name and last initial will be on the card, as well.
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When viewing your card, you can tap the i icon followed by Driver’s License info to view all of the same information that’s on your current ID, including a thumbnail of your dreaded driver’s license photo.
I have my ID in the Wallet app. Now what?
Fantastic question. And to be honest, I’m still trying to figure it out myself. According to Colorado’s DMV website, dedicated to the new feature, the lone use case right now is for TSA checkpoints in airports that are equipped with the necessary reader. Denver International Airport is one such venue that has readers. However, I’ve traveled several times since adding my license to the Wallet app last November and I’ve yet to see a single reader that looks like what’s shown in the video below.
Apple and the state of Colorado released a video showing what the process is like at the airport. To sum it up, you’ll unlock your iPhone and tap the top of your phone to a reader (like you’re using Apple Pay). A camera on the reader will take a photo of you, and then, on your iPhone, you’ll approve the information that’s being requested by the TSA.
The process is similar on the Apple Watch.
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The most important part to note here is that even if someone were to try and force your iPhone to transmit your personal information, that doesn’t actually happen until you’ve approved it using Face ID or Touch ID on your phone.