Back in September 2021, the TSA and Apple announced that they were working on a way for travelers to use their iPhone to get through airport security. The time has finally come for Arizona residents passing through Phoenix, with more locations on the way.
As of March 23, 2022, people with an Arizona ID can upload a digital version to their Apple Wallet and use it as identity verification at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.
“Today’s announcement marks a significant milestone in TSA’s efforts to improve airport security screening,” TSA administrator David Pekoske said in a statement. “As mobile device technologies continue to advance and become more secure, TSA is committed to leveraging those technologies wherever possible to enhance airport security, reduce touchpoints, provide greater privacy protections to individuals, and facilitate greater accuracy in identity verification capabilities at TSA checkpoints.”
Phoenix is the first of “many airports this year” that will allow the feature, Pekoske noted.
Before waltzing off to the airport without double checking that you have your ID, there are a few things to consider. First, it’s only available at this time for Arizona residents going through PHX who have their ID uploaded on their iPhone or Apple Watch. Second, it’s only available to TSA PreCheck passengers — which might just be the extra boost you’ve been waiting for if you’ve been on the fence about committing to PreCheck, Clear, or any of the other ways to bypass the line. The capability for those without PreCheck will come “soon,” according to the press release.
The third thing to keep in mind is the real kicker: The TSA states that all travelers, even those who meet the first two requirements, “must continue to carry and have readily available their physical driver’s license or identification card, or other acceptable ID listed on the TSA website.” And yes, they may need to check said physical ID before letting you pass — though you’ll need it for your return trip regardless, of course.
Yet just like with physical boarding passes, it’s still more convenient to have it all on your phone (so long as you have a good portable charger of course).
To use a digital ID, passengers tap their iPhone or Apple Watch to the TSA’s credentials reader. Then the TSA agent verifies the information and you’re all set to go past security to the incredible dining options that Phoenix Sky Harbor has to offer.
People outside of Arizona might not have to wait long. Apple listed additional states to join Wallet ID, and thus TSA passing capabilities, include Georgia, Connecticut, Kentucky, Iowa, Maryland, Oklahoma, and Utah, along with Colorado, Hawaii, Mississippi, and Ohio.