CarKey feature will let you unlock and start your car using iPhone


You can share keys with Messages, too.
Photo: Apple

WWDC 2020

Apple’s car-focused tech got a nifty update at WWDC, letting users start their cars with their iPhone. Announced Monday, Apple’s new CarKey digital car keys feature will allow you to unlock and start select vehicles using NFC technology.

Emily Schubert, Apple’s Engineering Manager for Car Experience showed off the feature, which promises to revolutionize the way you start your vehicle for the 21st century.

The 2021 BMW 5 series will be the first car to support the feature. It will work with both iOS 13 and iOS 14. Users simply tap their phone to unlock the door using NFC technology. They then place their iPhone on a charging pad to enable you to start the car engine. Apple is working to the technology an industry standard with its U1 chip.

The feature will also let users share keys via Messages. They can also set options and limitations for driver access, although Apple didn’t provide too much in the way of details.

This technology is something Apple has been working on for years. Back in 2015, it was granted a patent that allows users to lock and unlock car doors, start up engines, establish personalized car settings, and even shut off engines during specific time windows using their iPhones.

CarPlay got an update too

This wasn’t the only automotive tech Apple showed off at WWDC. It also debuted an overhaul of its dash infotainment system CarPlay. The new CarPlay update includes new wallpaper, and new app categories. These include EV charging and quick food ordering.


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