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TSA to begin accepting Apple Wallet IDs from February 2022

Wallet Ios
Wallet Ios (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • The TSA is to begin accepting digital ID cards at two airports in February.
  • Four airports should support the new ID cards, via Apple Wallet, by the end of March.
  • It isn't known which airports will be used as the digital ID card testbed.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will begin to accept accepting digital driver's licenses as forms of identification from February 2022, although only in two airports initially. The plan is to add more airports beginning March 2022, however.

Apple unveiled the support for IDs to be saved in its Wallet app during WWDC in June alongside an iOS 15 demo, but the feature has seen delays ever since. Now, according to the Secure Technology Alliance and a report by 9to5Mac, it seems that the TSA will begin to allow Mobile Driver's License (MDL) cards to be used at two airports from February with more coming online in March. Nobody is saying which airports will be involved, however.

During a panel about early mDL adoption, TSA shared its plans to begin accepting mDL use in airports at two state locations starting February of next year. The pilot program will add two additional states around March of 2022. TSA says standards-based digital ID's, such as state-issued mDL will help streamline and secure the identity verification process. Instead of TSA staff examining a physical ID card, manually comparing a traveler's ID photo to their face, and verifying flight information, a machine will automate the process.

Using the digital cards will work in much the same way that Apple Pay does — users will touch an NFC reader with their iPhone or Apple Watch and the data verification process will begin.

Oliver Haslam
Contributor

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.