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Apple’s digital driver’s license drives slowly into Maryland

Apple has now made support for digital driver’s licenses in Apple Wallet available in Maryland, just under a year after initially announcing the first few states it would be coming to. The Wallet app update launched in Arizona earlier this year, with Connecticut, Iowa, Oklahoma, Utah, Kentucky, Colorado, Hawaii, Mississippi, Ohio, and the territory of Puerto Rico expected to follow in the coming months.

Digital driver’s licenses are an effort to turn the Apple Wallet into a true wallet replacement. Rather than simply store just your payment cards, it has now been updated to work with state IDs and driver’s licenses. You’ll now be able to use your Apple Watch or iPhone to identify yourself without leaving your physical ID card at risk of being stolen. The rollout has been slow, however. Apple needs to work with individual states to bring it online, hence the crawling pace. Arizona was the first, and Maryland is the latest so far.

“The addition of driver’s licenses and state IDs to Apple Wallet is an important step in our vision of replacing the physical wallet with a secure and easy-to-use mobile wallet,” Jennifer Bailey, Apple’s vice president of Apple Pay and Apple Wallet said. “We are excited that the TSA and so many states are already on board to help bring this to life for travelers across the country using only their iPhone and Apple Watch, and we are already in discussions with many more states as we’re working to offer this nationwide in the future.”

Adding it to your Apple Wallet is fairly easy, and you won’t have to hand over your phone to nosy TSA agents either. Verification is contactless, and your phone doesn’t need to be unlocked for the process. At the same time, this is a new technology, and there are likely to be teething problems.

While Apple is currently the only company to have this kind of service live, Google at I/O 2022 announced plans to integrate digital licenses into the new Google Wallet app as a logical evolution of its mobile wallet concept. There have also been efforts by independent apps like the U.K.’s Yoti to normalize digitized ID services, but a more concentrated push from the juggernauts of Apple and Google in concert with government authorities stands the best chance of working,

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