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How to add your driver's license to your iPhone's Wallet app (depends where you live)

So far, a handful of states support adding your license or ID card to your iPhone or Apple Watch. Several others are planning to add it. Could New York be next?
Written by Jason Cipriani, Contributing Writer and  Don Reisinger, Contributing Writer
Reviewed by Alyson Windsor
The Apple Wallet app on iPhone open to Colorado driver's license

The Colorado driver's license in the Apple Wallet app.

Jason Cipriani/ZDNET

Are you ready for a mobile-only future where we can leave our wallets and purses behind? We're slowly inching closer to this 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 insurance cards and other wallet staples directly on your phone -- we're getting very close to being able to ditch our card holders. 

Also: 6 reasons why I switched to a digital wallet, and you should too

Apple Pay users know how easy it is to grab your iPhone, verify your identity with Face ID, and make a purchase. What if you could do the same thing with your driver's license? In four states (so far) -- Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, and Maryland -- you can. Best of all, loading your driver's license into Apple Wallet takes less than five minutes.

Below, we'll walk you through how to add your ID to your iPhone, and how and when you can use the digitized version of your ID. Check it out.

Which states currently support adding your ID to the Apple Wallet app?

The list remains a short one. Apple last year announced that Georgia is now a supported state, joining the longstanding list of Arizona, Colorado, and Maryland.

Also: How to add your transit card to Apple Wallet

In March 2022, Hawaii, Mississippi, Ohio, and the territory of Puerto Rico announced plans to add support for the feature, but as of this writing, they still haven't flipped the switch.

There's no clear timing on when the support will be available for the 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 

1. Make sure you have your physical driver's license or ID

Before you start the process of adding your ID to Apple Wallet, 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. 

2. Open the Wallet app and tap the plus sign

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.

Screenshots showing the process of adding a driver's license to Apple Wallet app
Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/ZDNET

3. Scan your ID and go through a Face ID setup

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. 

Also: How to use Apple Pay in stores and online

You'll be asked to hold your iPhone steady, with the front-facing camera looking at you, and then turn your head to the left until your phone vibrates. You'll then be asked to open your mouth, smile, close your eyes, and then turn your head to the right. If you move your phone too much, the process starts all over, so be steady! 

4. Take a photo of yourself and submit all your information to the state DMV

Finally, you'll need to take a photo of yourself using the front-facing camera and submit all this information to your state's DMV. The final screen lets you know the DMV needs to approve your request and that you'll receive an alert when that's done. 

In our testing, we expected the process to take a few hours, maybe a day. In Colorado, at least, it took just minutes for the verification to be completed.

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's naturally has a peach. Your first name and last initial will be on the card as well. 

Also: 5 iOS 16 features I can't live without now (and how to use them)

When viewing your card, you can tap the "i" icon followed by Driver's License info to view all the same information that's on your current ID, including a thumbnail of your dreaded driver's license photo. 

Information on ID in Apple Wallet app being used for TSA

The placeholder image for a Colorado driver's license.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/ZDNET

I have my ID in the Wallet app. Now what?

Fantastic question. According to Colorado's DMV website dedicated to the new feature, the only use case right now is for TSA checkpoints in airports that are equipped with the necessary reader. Denver International Airport is one such venue with readers. 

Apple and the state of Colorado released a video showing what the process is like at the airport. In short, you'll unlock your iPhone and tap the top of your phone to a reader (as if 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 requested by the TSA.

The process is similar on the Apple Watch.  

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.

I live in New York State. Can I join the program?

Unfortunately, you can't add your New York driver's license to your Apple Wallet. However, New York in June announced a new mobile app, called the New York Mobile ID, that can be used as a digital version of a New York license. 

Also: The best Apple Watches of 2024: Expert tested and reviewed

The app, available on both iOS and Android, is a complete, digital version of the physical license, and can be used at both businesses and TSA checkpoints, with some limitations. For one, it's only available at 30 airports across the country (as of this writing) and only a handful of businesses will have the technology necessary to verify a person's ID from the app. The New York DMV said it's working with additional partners to educate them on the platform, how it works, and how they can sign up.

The New York Mobile ID is not yet compatible with Apple Wallet, but considering it's new, that could change in the coming months.

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