iPhone Driver’s Licenses Coming in 2015

Next year you might be able to carry your driver’s license on your iPhone or Android smartphone and leave that extra piece of plastic at home. The government moves slow, but residents of Iowa may be the first with access to Android and iPhone driver’s licenses.

We already carry credit cards on iPhone and Android devices with Apple Pay, Soft Card, Google Wallet and other secured services and the Iowa Department of Transportation is investigating the right way to deliver an e-driver’s license on iPhone and Android.


This new driver’s license would be in addition to or even in place of a traditional plastic license. Combined with Apple Pay, the iPhone could actually serve as your only wallet for many trips. This is not just a backup driver’s license on your iPhone, but the real deal that you could use anywhere you need a state-issued ID. That includes traffic stops, air travel and even when you are carded at bars or liquor stores.

Android and iPhone driver's licenses aren't as far off as you might think.

Android and iPhone driver’s licenses aren’t as far off as you might think.

“We are really moving forward on this,”DOT Director Paul Trombino told the The Des Moines Register, adding, “The way things are going, we may be the first in the nation.”


Iowa and many other states already allow drivers to show electronic proof of insurance, so adding Android and iPhone driver’s licenses are a logical next step.


Although the exact details are still coming together users would secure Android or iPhone driver’s licenses in what Trombino describes as “an identity vault app,” that would secure the driver’s license behind a PIN number or even a fingerprint.

This new digital driver’s license app would help cut down on fake IDs and help users protect their identity according to Trombino. The push behind this comes from users relying on their iPhone and Android more and more for daily business.

Mark Lowe, director of the Motor Vehicle Division at the Iowa DOT spoke with Mashable about some of the other important parts of this roll out and digital driver’s licenses. Lowe compares the Android and iPhone driver’s licenses to electronic boarding passes that consumers were wary to use, but now do so frequently.


Watch an early example of what an Android and iPhone driver’s licenses could look like in the short video above.

Unlike a plastic driver’s license, one that you carry on your iPhone or Android smartphone could be locked behind a PIN or other security to verify that it is actually the owner using the ID. The app would use digital watermarking to prevent fakes. Lowe describes one option,

“We’re looking into using optical bar codes and 3D-like photos for licenses that move, like when images come alive in still shots in the Harry Potter movies.”

If all goes well, Iowa residents should be able to get an Android or iPhone driver’s license in 2015. The Iowa DOT is hopeful that the digital driver’s licenses will be available in 2015 and Lowe tells Mashable that other states are watching and may follow in Iowa’s digital footsteps if this program is a success.