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You’ll soon be able to store your ID on your iPhone and use it at places like airports

With support from the TSA.

digital id support on apple wallet
Image: KnowTechie

Apple is working with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to enable the use of digital IDs at airports. Announced at WWDC 2021, the system will allow you to store your ID in your Apple account so you don’t have to carry the physical card around.

That’s likely the same system that Patently Apple noticed back in April, in a granted patent titled “Systems relating to a National ID Verification System.” The patent covers the authentication of a mobile user beyond Face ID and Touch ID, and talks about e-Passports.

With the TSA working with Apple on the new system, it seems that digital ID will be an option for at least domestic air travel. Apple’s system details the user’s mobile device replacing their passport, for identity purposes.

That would mean that iOS will be able to hold the usual biometrics that the security chip in modern passports holds, including name, date of birth, and information on height, weight, etc.

Two of the three Apple engineers mentioned on the patent are from the Apple Pay team, which points to the digital ID being stored inside the Apple Pay system, which makes sense from a security standpoint.

What’s slightly unusual here is that the gap between granted patents and an actual product announcement is usually longer, if there’s an announcement at all. We look forward to hearing more in the months ahead as the digital ID system rolls out.

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