Digital IDs on the iPhone will soon be introduced in California

When Apple announced iOS 15, it teased a major upgrade to the Wallet app: support for storing your ID right on your iPhone. The feature was slow to roll out and is currently only available in three states, but Gov. Gavin Newsom teases that California will introduce digital IDs in “within a few months.”

When support for digital IDs was announced at WWDC in 2021, Apple Pay VP Jennifer Bailey touted the feature as the last thing needed for you to be “completely free of your physical wallet.” As of today, the feature is available in Colorado, Arizona, and Maryland. You can use digital IDs at “Select TSA Checkpoints” at participating airports.

With three states currently supporting the feature, Apple has indicated that the following states are also working on digital IDs for Apple: Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Utah.

As discovered by MacRumorsHowever, California Gov. Gavin Newsom teased today that the state is also working hard to implement a digital ID system for residents. Newsom today unveiled its proposed budget for 2023 and 2024, noting that people will soon be able to “get their driver’s license in a digital wallet.”

While he didn’t offer any further details, Newsom boasted that the California system will be “the next level” and that the set will “do it like no other state has done.”

In just a few months we will finally have these digital wallets where you can get your driver’s license in a digital wallet. And we will do it like no other state has done. Few have that. But there are problems. We believe it will be the next level. We are so excited to see what the DMV can look like.

As you may have noticed, California is not on Apple’s list of states that have committed to supporting the storage of digital IDs in Apple Wallet. Even California itself hasn’t publicly confirmed its intention to support Apple’s platform. Details are still unclear, but California could isolate its digital ID system in its own dedicated app.

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Newsom made big promises for the implementation of digital IDs in California. Making these grandiose statements and not endorsing Apple Wallet would be a bold move, especially given that Apple itself is headquartered in California.

9to5Mac’s take

Many iPhone and Apple Watch users are eagerly awaiting the day their states support digital IDs in the Wallet app. Introducing such a feature is a massive undertaking. As we’ve seen many times, whenever Apple has to rely on individual governments for help with a feature, there are countless speed bumps along the way.

However, one of the more disappointing things is that even if a state supports digital IDs in the wallet app, the actual use case is pretty limited. Currently, the primary use case is a handful of TSA airport security checkpoints.

I really hope that we will see a rapid acceleration in the adoption of this feature. Once it’s more widely available, I’m also interested to see how many people will fully embrace digital IDs versus those who won’t be comfortable with it.

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