Someone’s finally putting the driving license in a smartphone app

Smartphones already have an incalculable number of uses, and one of the big things people have been working on is trying to make sure that they can replace the wallet. But systems like Apple Pay are all well and good until you realise that your wallet/purse is used to carry around things other than your credit cards. Things like your ID.

Fortunately the Iowa Department of Transportation realised this and has decided it would be a good idea to put state driving licenses in a smartphone app. It will contain all the same information as a regular plastic card, and will be considered a valid form of ID by Iowa government authorities and airport security. A PIN number is used to authenticate the information, and a spokesperson has said that fingerprint scanners and facial recognition may also be introduced at a later date.

As handy as this may seem, there are some obvious drawbacks. For starters there is no way to lock access to the rest of your phone at the moment, so if you were to hand over your phone to, say, a police officer, there’s nothing preventing them for sifting through your phone. Thankfully this concern has been noted, and there will apparently be a system that locks up the rest of your phone once your driving license is on screen. If that will be present at launch is unclear.

There are also the obvious issues of trying to figure out what happens if you run out of power, and ensuring that sensitive information on your phone is kept safe. In fact, these issues have delayed the app’s release so that developers can get everything perfected.

It’s not going to be replacing the plastic driving license for quite some time, and whether there will ever be a system like this in the UK is anyone’s guess. It is, however, fantastic that this sort of thing is actually happening. If anything, it would be one less thing you have to remember when you leave the house.

Featured Image: William Petroski/Des Moines Register

Tom Pritchard