Utah driver licenses, IDs coming to Apple Wallet

Utah's driver's licenses are taking another step toward the digital age.

Apple announced Wednesday that Utah is among eight states that opted into a program that will make driver's licenses and identification cards available through the Apple Wallet platform, which will allow Apple users to access their licenses using their phones or even watches.

Once the service is available in the state, Utahns who are also Apple customers will be allowed to add their driver's license or state identification card to their individual accounts by tapping the "+" button in Apple Wallet and adding their information, according to the company. Those who own an Apple Watch can also choose to pair their license or ID to the device.

After they've added that information, an Apple customer will be asked to scan their physical card using their phone and also take a selfie that will be "securely provided to the issuing state for verification," according to the tech company. Finally, a customer will be asked to complete "a series of facial and head movements during the setup process" as one last security step to authenticate the process.

They will then have the ability to present their identification to Transportation Security Administration authorities at certain airports and other areas equipped to accept digital licenses. According to Apple, customers can tap their iPhone or Apple Watch at a TSA station with an identity reader and that will prompt the reader to display only information that a TSA agent needs for security purposes.

Face ID and Touch ID is requested before that information is sent.

"The addition of driver's licenses and state IDs to Apple Wallet is an important step in our vision of replacing the physical wallet with a secure and easy-to-use mobile wallet," Jennifer Bailey, Apple's vice president of Apple Pay and Apple Wallet, said in a statement released by the company on Wednesday.

Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland and Oklahoma also enrolled in Apple's program along with Utah, the company announced Wednesday. Arizona and Georgia will be the first to make it available to residents.

It wasn't immediately clear when the service will be available for Utah residents. The Utah Department of Public Safety has yet to respond to questions.

Jess Anderson, the commissioner of the Utah Department of Public Safety, said in a statement that Utah is a "forward-looking state" and looks forward to the partnership with the tech giant.

"We regularly hear from people who want to access their driver's license through their phones. This is a great opportunity for Utah to work with Apple in an innovative use of technology. This secure mobile license adds convenience while helping keep Utah safe," his statement read, in part.

Utah already rolled out a similar digital license option through a partnership with the tech company GET Group North America. Utah Community Credit Union and Harmons — at two of its locations — were the first two companies to accept it as a form of identification but more companies are expected to join by the end of 2021 as it remains in a pilot program stage. It's scheduled to be rolled out statewide next year.

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Ryan Williams, the quality assurance manager for the Utah Public Safety Driver's License Division, said mobile licenses offer Utahns the convenience of having identification on their cellphone, as well as contactless information transfers and enhanced privacy. That is, it allows Utahns to choose what information they want to share. So if someone only needs to confirm they are 21 to purchase alcohol, they can do that without sharing other information not necessary for that transaction, like their name, address or birthdate.

"I think it's a big convenience for people to leave their wallets at home," said David Kelts, director of Mobile ID Product Development for GET Group North America, in an interview last month. "And I think the additional control over data will end up being important for people."