In Apple World, all you’ll ever need is your iPhone.
That vision was on full display during Monday’s WWDC, when Jennifer Bailey, Apple’s vice president of internet services, explained the updates coming to Apple Wallet in iOS 15. Specifically, she noted that going forward, iPhone owners will be able upload their driver’s license into Apple Wallet and — if everything goes according to the company’s plan — leave their tangible wallets behind.
“This fall, you’ll just scan your driver’s license or state ID in participating U.S. states,” explained Bailey. “It’s that easy. Your ID information is now in Wallet.”
It’s not exactly clear why anyone would accept an Apple scan of a driver’s license in lieu of the real thing, but Bailey promised that at least one organization is thinking about it.
“And the TSA is working to enable airport security checkpoints as the first place you can use your digital ID,” she noted.
Of course, there are potential privacy concerns when it comes to digitizing the information on your identity documents. Might it, for example, tee Apple Wallet users up for identity theft if their phone is ever misplaced or stolen? What about hackers gaining access to the information?
Bailey lightly touched on that concern, saying that the information would be “encrypted, and safely stored in the Secure Element — the same hardware technology that makes Apple Pay private and secure.”
As Apple moves to expand the number of organizations and companies that accept its digital version of an identity document, there will likely be pushback from privacy and security experts. Until Apple explicitly addresses any potential risks of storing your ID on your iPhone, it’s perhaps worth keeping in mind that your physical driver’s license can’t run out of batteries.