Apple wants US states to devote resources and marketing to digital ID cards on iPhone

Some US states are adding support for digital IDs and driver’s licenses in the iPhone’s Wallet app, with strict oversight and control of the whole process by Apple itself.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Apple is rolling out digital IDs in Wallet in select US states
  • The company has tight control over states’ launches
  • Other requirements are unearthed in documents

How US states are implementing iPhone digital IDs

Apple expects US states to participate in and cover marketing costs associated with upcoming rollouts of digital ID cards and driver’s licenses in the Wallet app on iPhone.

CNBC has unearthed documents that reveal previously unknown tidbits regarding Apple’s tight control over digital IDs and driver’s licenses in Wallet. The company enjoys the “sole discretion” in terms of the upcoming rollouts, the report states. US states participating in these launches are expected to cover marketing costs and allocate “reasonably sufficient personnel and resources” to support the launch of the feature on a timeline “to be determined by Apple.” Read: How to remove all your cards from Apple Pay at once

All marketing materials that states create are subject to review and approval by Apple.

The certification requirements underscore that states must “prominently feature the program in all public-facing communications relating to Digital Identity Credentials.” States must also grant Apple “prior review and approval” of all marketing materials related to the program.

At the same time, Apple does not want to be liable for any results of identity verification stemming from the use of the feature (for those wondering, you’ll take a selfie to verify your identity when adding a digital ID or your driver’s licesnes to the Wallet app.

US taxpayers are expected to cover any costs associated with upcoming launches in respective states. Apple is the first to provide support for digital versions of ID cards on the iPhone. Google and partners are working on adding support for digital IDs to the Android operating system, but Apple has a first-mover advantage here.

With iOS 15, Apple is allowing digital versions of cards such as state-issued IDs and driver’s licenses to be added to the Wallet app on iPhone, iPad and Mac. Florida files as the first US state to implement support for the new feature, but digital IDs are also confirmed to launch in other states including Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, Kentucky, Iowa, Utah, Oklahoma and Maryland.

Apple is working with additional states to expand support in the future.