Technology can be a wonderful convenience, but it usually comes with a price. That's no reason to completely avoid it, but it is a good idea to consider the pros and cons of each new development.
A new feature coming to Apple's iOS in 2022 is that you will be able to store your driver's license and state ID cards in your Apple Wallet. Eight U.S. states have already signed up for digital IDs, including Georgia.
If you have your ID on your phone, you could likely breeze through TSA security lines, check-in at your doctor's office, or prove your age at a liquor store without fumbling through your wallet. Businesses or institutions could verify your identity from your phone in less than a second using an NFC scanner.
Another great benefit is that if someone steals your iPhone to use your ID, you can disable it remotely or potentially track where the fraudsters impersonated you to catch them more easily. Whereas if your wallet is stolen, you most likely will never see it again.
"Sounds great, what's the big deal?"
Convenience nearly always comes at a cost, and there is a danger that this creates opportunities for greater levels of surveillance. There are many unanswered questions about how else these digital identities could be used, and by whom. Data gathering has long been an issue with digital giants like Apple, Google, and Facebook, and this new "feature" makes it even easier for them to catalog millions of personal IDs. Another major issue is that identity documents will be easier to share, so businesses, government institutions, and websites may share them with 3rd parties without your knowledge.
If digital IDs become widely used, interactions with the government and businesses could also change. For example, would you let a police officer carry your phone back to their car? And what will happen when the government declines to authenticate your digital ID or notices you have an expired license?
Apple says that Georgia, Connecticut, Arizona, Iowa, Maryland, Kentucky, Utah, and Oklahoma will be the first states to let people use digital driver's licenses and IDs. So if you are an early adopter, you can use your digital ID at some TSA checkpoints, but you'll still need a physical ID in every other case while the rest of the world catches up with this technology.
For now, I can only guess how this technology will change our world. I am sure that many people will use Apple Wallet to store their IDs but there will be many holdouts who want to see what the long-term consequences of it will be. So the question of whether you should keep your ID in Apple Pay is a personal one based on if you prefer convenience or privacy. Odds are that all IDs will eventually be digital and this is a step towards that direction, but for now, you still have a choice in the matter.
Since Apple is scheduled to release this sometime in 2022, I wanted to make you aware so that you can do your research and make a decision that you feel confident about.