WWDC, Apple showed off Car Key, an upcoming iPhone/Apple Watch feature that allows you to unlock and start a car over NFC and leave your car keys at home.
As soon as an iPhone or Apple Watch is paired with your car, you will only be able to unlock and start it with your mobile phone or watch. Unlocking is done by holding the device close to the car’s NFC reader, which is often positioned in the door handle.
Unlocking is then approved via Face ID or Touch ID if you’ve selected this option; alternatively, you can use Express Mode, which bypasses verification and simply unlocks the vehicle when the device is close.
Full or limited access to the car can be shared with others using iMessage. Should the mobile phone get lost or stolen, Car Key can be turned off via iCloud.
Oddly enough, the feature was discussed in the
iOS 14 presentation, but will arrive much sooner than that – it will be available in an upcoming iOS 13 update. As well as a compatible version of iOS, however, you will also need a car that supports the feature.
BMW is first
The first car to receive support for Apple’s Car Key is BMW’s recently updated 5 Series, but more compatible vehicles should be on the way. Apple is working on an industry standard for digital car keys, which will also be able to
use Apple’s U1 chip instead of NFC alone.
Apple’s Car Key uses the Digital Key Release 2.0 specification from the
Car Connectivity Consortium, so broader support will arrive as more car makers hop aboard the digital key train.
This article originally appeared on
Macworld Sweden. Translation by David Price.