Driving licence could be added to Apple Wallet, turning driver's iPhone into an ID

The iPhone-based feature has traditionally being advertised for storing payment cards and passes – but the DVLA might be going to get rid of the last reason that some people need to carry their wallet

Andrew Griffin
Friday 13 May 2016 16:30 BST
Drivers in the UK and France have the most powerful driving licences in the world
Drivers in the UK and France have the most powerful driving licences in the world (iStock/Getty)

The DVLA could be about to get rid of plastic driving licences.

Oliver Morley, the CEO of the British driving authority, has teased on Twitter a “prototype” of a feature that would let people store their licence in their phone.

The feature is not yet released and was teased as “something we’re working on”. But if released it could represent a major change in the way that driving licences are used and issued.

The picture shows a driving licence inside Apple’s Wallet app. That’s where cards are stored for the Apple Pay payment system, as well as other passes like tickets and loyalty cards.

How to use Apple Pay

The company has always presented the app as a way of getting rid of people’s traditional wallets, and it has become more useful with the rollout of Apple Pay, meaning that iPhones can be used instead of a payment card. But if the feature shown off in Mr Morley’s tweet is true then the agency could get rid of the last reason that some people keep their wallet around.

Listed on the licence in the image are the driver’s birth date, the date of issue for the licence and its expiry. It also includes the driver’s name and picture.

The teaser comes just a year after the DVLA got rid of the paper part of the driving licence entirely, leaving only the plastic card that is issued to everyone who can drive.

It isn’t clear how a digital version of the driving licence would replace the real one. For one, such an image is easy to fake – since all that would be needed is an image on the screen, it would presumably be very possible to create a false version that included a fake name or birth date.

But the pass could just as easily be connected to a database or other feature that would verify any press that was presented. Already many venues connect to a database of IDs that allow them to check whether a person should be let in – and the driving licence tool could presumably run on a similar service.

That would allow it to simply be checked in the same quick way that tickets are – representing more of a link to the information on a verified service, rather than a way of showing that information itself.

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