TSA PreCheck members can now use iPhone as ID at ATL checkpoint

This Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019, photo shows the Apple Wallet app on an iPhone in New York.

Credit: Jenny Kane

Credit: Jenny Kane

This Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019, photo shows the Apple Wallet app on an iPhone in New York.

Some travelers will soon be able to use their iPhones to present a digital version of their driver’s license to go through security at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

Georgia is the latest state in partnership with Apple to deploy digital ID technology for use at airport security screening, allowing travelers to use a digital version of their driver’s license on their iPhones for identification.

It comes after Arizona, Maryland and Colorado deployed the technology over the last 15 months.

But the ability to use a digital ID at airport security doesn‘t apply to everyone in Georgia.

Those who want to use a digital ID at the security checkpoint must be members of TSA’s PreCheck trusted traveler program and must upload their Georgia driver’s license into their Apple Wallet. It requires an iPhone 8 or later, with the latest version of iOS.

PreCheck members who want to use a digital ID should go to the South security checkpoint at Hartsfield-Jackson, which is equipped with newer ID reader machines.

The Georgia Department of Driver Services says that those who use digital IDs must still carry their physical driver’s license or state ID on them as backup.

Georgia DDS also says law enforcement does not accept a digital ID on iPhone or Apple Watch.

The scanners at the South security checkpoint already allow passengers to skip the step of scanning their boarding passes at the security checkpoint, because their ID is already linked to their flight information in TSA’s system. The credential authentication technology machines are in use at some, but not all checkpoints and airports.

“Over time, we expect the locations accepting Georgia Digital Driver’s License and IDs to grow, but we are excited now to allow customers the option to present their credential easily and securely at TSA checkpoints,” said DDS Commissioner Spencer Moore in a written statement.

Some digital identity verification technologies have raised privacy and security concerns. The Georgia Department of Driver Services on its website says Digital ID is voluntary and uses privacy and security built into the iPhone and Apple Watch “and also offers increased security and privacy benefits a physical ID card can’t match.”

Georgia DDS says the digital ID is presented through encrypted communication by scanning the device, and users will be asked to authorize the identity information by using Face ID or Touch ID. Information about usage is encrypted and stored on the device, according to Georgia DDS.

An American Civil Liberties Union report released in 2021 said a digital ID system could improve privacy and control “if done right — but it could also become an infrastructure for invading privacy,” if it eventually becomes more convenient to show ID and thus easier to ask for it, making demands for ID more frequent.

The digital ID is the latest way for travelers to avoid taking out their driver’s license at the checkpoint. At Clear security lanes, travelers can verify their identities using facial recognition or fingerprints instead of their IDs.

TSA also debuted a facial recognition camera at the South security checkpoint in 2021, to allow passengers to verify their identities without having to pull out their IDs. That was part of a rollout of biometric technology in the domestic terminal by Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines, which at the same time opened a PreCheck bag check lobby using facial recognition at the lower level Terminal South curbside at Hartsfield-Jackson.

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines rolled out facial recognition at Hartsfield-Jackson’s international terminal in 2018.