California launches digital IDs on iPhone… but without Apple Wallet support

Earlier this year, California Governor Gavin Newsom teased that the state would launch its support for digital IDs in a “matter of months.” Now, California is expanding the availability of digital IDs to the public… but unfortunately, Apple’s home state will not support the Apple Wallet application.

When support for digital IDs was announced at WWDC in 2021, Apple Pay VP Jennifer Bailey touted the feature as the final thing needed to let you be “fully free of your physical wallet.” As it stands today, support for using your iPhone as your ID is available in Arizona, Colorado, Maryland, and Georgia.

When Newsom made his initial announcement in January, many California residents were hopeful that the state’s digital IDs platform would integrate with Apple Wallet. Sadly, we now know for sure that that’s not the case.

This week, California expanded its testing of digital IDs to the public, allowing anyone to head to the state’s DMV website to get started on the process.

California is using its own “CA DMV Wallet” app on iPhone and Android to issue and manage digital driver’s licenses and IDs. Through the app, residents can verify their identity, complete a “liveness check,” and eventually gain access to a digital version of their ID.

Given that the program is still in a “pilot phase,” however, California says that everyone should continue to carry their physical ID cards: “Law enforcement, state government agencies, and businesses aren’t yet accepting the mDL.”

According to the California DMV, security checkpoints at LAX and SFO airports are equipped to handle mobile driver’s licenses. A handful of other airports have also added support for the feature in recent years, which is highlighted on the TSA’s website.

The pilot program is limited to 1.5 million people for the time being, so if you’re interested, head to the California DMV website today to get started.

Thanks, Ethan!

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