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iPhone as a digital ID: Apple has to postpone US introduction

The digital iPhone ID will start later than announced: Apple is now planning to implement the ID function at the beginning of 2022, instead of introducing it by the end of 2021, as originally planned. So far, the company has not disclosed a reason for the sudden delay. Accordingly, it remains to be seen whether technical problems or difficulties in coordinating with the participating states led to the delay.

The integration of driver’s licenses and ID cards in the “Wallet” app pre-installed on iPhones and Apple Watches is another element in Apple’s plans to make traditional wallets and physical keys superfluous in the long term. Payment cards, admission tickets and boarding passes can already be stored in Wallet, as can the first digital car keys – house, office and hotel keys are to follow soon.

Even before the postponement, Apple had only planned a comparatively small start for the ID function of iOS 15: Only a few US states want to support the function at the beginning, and the digital ID can initially only be checked by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Use at US airports – and only at certain. A specific list of airports has not yet been published.

In the future, Apple hopes to offer the digital ID function throughout the US, as well as the use of ID cards for age checks in retail stores or at events. It remains unclear whether this can also be implemented in 2022. So far, there has been no information on the introduction of iPhone ID cards in other regions such as Europe.

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The digital iPhone ID raised concerns with some US users: police officers could try to look into the smartphone during a check, so the concern. Apple emphasized that the iPhone does not have to be unlocked or given out of hand. Instead, you have to hold it up to a special reader to see which data should be queried. The transmission can then be approved biometrically. Apple relies on the ISO 18013-5 standard (mDL, Mobile Driver’s License), which Google also supports from Android 11 onwards.

There has also recently been criticism of the contracts between Apple and the participating US states. The corporation dictates the rules of the game to the governments and obliges them to provide the necessary resources – this is done at the expense of the taxpayer.


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