Arizona is the first to integrate Apple’s biometric verification at airport security checkpoints.
Arizona will be the first state to offer residents the option of presenting driver’s license and state ID verification at Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints through Apple Wallet.
Users can add their license and ID information to the Wallet app and use their iPhone or Apple Watch to selectively present identity information at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) checkpoints. Colorado, Hawaii, Mississippi, Ohio and Puerto Rico will soon add this feature for its residents as well, in addition to seven other states Apple announced in September.
This feature will initially will be available only at PHX for TSA PreCheck passengers from Arizona.
To add their ID to Wallet, residents scan the front and back of their identity card and take a selfie with series of facial and head movements. The state verifies and approves the user’s request to add their driver’s license or state ID to Wallet.
At TSA checkpoints, travelers can present their digital IDs by tapping their Apple devices at the identity reader. Once presented, they will be prompted with the information they are about to share and can consent to providing it with Face or Touch ID.
Apple’s biometric authentication takes advantage of the privacy and security features already built into the company’s devices. Unlike physical cards, Wallet shares only the information needed for a specific interaction. Additionally, the identity data is encrypted and does not require individuals to hand over their device.
Other states have experimented with digital driver’s licenses. Louisiana’s LA Wallet, which originally launched in 2018 but gained popularity during the pandemic, is used by 670,000 state residents across 1.2 million devices. Utah also tested mobile driver’s licenses through a pilot program in April 2021.
“As mobile device technologies continue to advance and become more secure, TSA is committed to leveraging those technologies wherever possible to enhance airport security, reduce touchpoints, provide greater privacy protections to individuals, and facilitate greater accuracy in identity verification capabilities at TSA checkpoints,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said. “We expect PHX to be the first of many airports this year to feature this innovation as TSA continues to enable a more efficient checkpoint experience for passengers.”
“With this technology, Arizonans are at the front of the line for experiencing a streamlined airport security process,” Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said. “This puts our state at the leading edge of a new technology that offers choice, convenience, privacy and security.”