Comment: When Will The UK Add Government IDs In Wallet?

Appleosophy | Comment: When Will The UK Add Government IDs In Wallet?
Image: Apple

With friends across the pond in the United States, (albeit only some states as of now) being able to have their government IDs on their iOS or watchOS Wallet app – it begs the question: When will this innovation come to the UK? Some Americans can get their state IDs such ad driver’s licenses put onto their phone’s wallet and kept secure, fully authenticated and ready to replace carrying it around in a physical wallet or in the back of your phone case.

The Infrastructure

The UK’s contactless infrastructure is arguably far superior than the US’s system for payments and identification. Most businesses now only operate using card machines such as Square or SumUp, meaning cash is no longer king. Travel systems can be used with Apple Pay by simply tapping your phone on the automatic gates at stations, depots and terminals across the United Kingdom already.

This was most recently demonstrated in a creative ad campaign by Apple in London, depicting how easy it was to use contactless payment with Apple Pay to travel.

Apple Pay on TfL
Image: Apple

To add government IDs such as driver’s licenses to this mix would make sense as so much documentation is digital nowadays. The infrastructure for adding official documents to your Apple Wallet is also loosely in place, given that not all 50 states have this feature implemented – but the UK is one government without state-by-state roadblocks like in the US. Adopting the integration wouldn’t be straightforward necessarily, but definitely possible in the current technological climate.

Personal Comments

The amount of people I know that always have their ID in the back of their phone case is unbelievable. As a tech enthusiast I always like to keep my devices clean and scratch free in order to preserve the device and keep it’s value high. By having an ID card constantly rubbing against the back of your phone, you are constantly making tiny micro abrasions to the back of your iPhone. To add to this, constantly taking your case off to get the ID card out is also damaging to the case, meaning you’re doing way more harm to your tech than if there was a digital alternative to having your ID in the Wallet app. Even if you’re smart and have a case with space for cards and cash, you still have to carry around the card with you, posing a risk if it falls out or gets left behind somewhere.

Yoti Citizencard
Image: Yoti Citizencard

Existing Technologies

Unofficial IDs are currently being offered by external organizations such as Yoti — where you are given a physical ID, but are also able to provide ID using just your phone. You have to download their app from the App Store and also submit your documents to them for verification however. It’s free for your first card and you can pay to replace the card if you lose it, however your digital ID is always stored securely. This is a step in the right direction towards digitizing the ID space for the UK, however it needs to be pushed to the government-level in order to be implemented into the native iOS experience like in the US.


To bring this comment to a close, the main question is: Will we see this coming to the UK any time soon? Judging by the uptake in the US and the slow development, it’s unlikely to see this in the next few years as Apple is renowned for piloting technology in the US before bringing it to other countries. An example of this is with Apple Pay, which was only recently made available in South Korea. It’s a shame it’s likely to take a while, but once IDs can be put into your iPhone’s wallet in the UK, there will be almost no reason to carry a wallet or have cards put in the back of your phone case!

To our Appleosophy UK readers, do you agree with this? What’s your take on having digital government ID? Be sure to comment below or Tweet us at @Appleosophy!

Chris Grainger
Author: Chris Grainger

Chris is a tech enthusiast always looking for new products and services to try out and share with his awesome community of Apple fellows on Appleosophy!

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Previous Post
Appleosophy | Lucid Air now offers Seamless Connectivity with Wireless CarPlay Integration

Lucid Air now offers Seamless Connectivity with Wireless CarPlay Integration

Next Post
Appleosophy | Kuo: Apple is planning to release a new version of the AirPods Pro with a USB-C charging case

Kuo: Apple is planning to release a new version of the AirPods Pro with a USB-C charging case

Related Posts