It looks like Apple’s mobile ID might get up and running – on a limited basis – in February of this year, if a somewhat vague timeline provided by the Transportation Security Administration is any indication.
The TSA participated in a recent mobile driver’s license-focused workshop organized by the Secure Technology Alliance (STA), during which the organization revealed that it will begin accepting mobile driver’s licenses at two airport locations in February of 2022, followed by locations in two additional states in March.
In a STA blog post detailing the TSA’s comments, the organization said that the TSA “fully supports the mDL movement for travel authentication,” with the “mDL Apple Wallet integration being its first step”. That language could still refer to state-run mobile driver’s license programs that are compatible with the iPhone’s digital wallet, but it certainly seems to point toward the Apple mDL itself as the starting point for a more general rollout of mDL support on the part the TSA.
Apple first revealed that it was working on a mobile ID solution at its Worldwide Developer Conference in June of last year, noting that it was already working with the TSA to ensure that its mobile ID would be accepted at airport locations as part of the traveler screening process. Toward the end of the summer, Apple followed up by revealing its initial partner states for the mobile ID project, which included Connecticut, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Oklahoma, Utah, Arizona, and Georgia.
While Apple had initially suggested that its mobile ID would launch by the end of 2021, the company quietly postponed the launch to “early 2022” in November, after media reports exposed the amount of control Apple appeared to have over the projects in its agreements with certain state partners.
For its part, the TSA appears committed to working with Apple on its program. Apple has indicated that its mobile driver’s license solution will feature a sophisticated onboarding process including biometric selfie video checks, an aspect that surely appeals to the security-conscious government organization. According to the STA’s account, the TSA believes that state-issued mDLs will “streamline and secure the identity verification process.”