watchOS 6.2.8 brings digital car keys to Apple Watch

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watchOS 6.2.8 is out now!
Digital car key support in watchOS 6.2.8 has the potential to make Apple Watch much more useful.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Starting Wednesday, an Apple Watch can be used to unlock a car, replacing the key, thanks to the release of watchOS 6.2.8. But it’s early days yet for this feature, as it doesn’t yet have wide support.

In addition, this software update enables people in a handful of additional countries to take advantage of the ECG in Apple’s wearable.

iOS 13.6 golden master means the future’s almost here

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iPhone car key feature is a rumor no more.
A fortunate few can use iOS 13.6 to unlock their car. Only a handful of models are supported at launch.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple seeded what might be the last version of iOS 13 and the iPad equivalent exclusively to developers on Thursday. This “golden master” update brings the debut of CarKey, allowing iPhones to unlock or start vehicles. There are other new features as well, not just bug fixes.

In addition, what are apparently the final betas of watchOS 6.2.8 and tvOS 13.4.8 went to developers too.

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

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CarKey
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.

iOS 13.6 beta confirms that iPhones will work as car keys

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iPhone car key feature is a rumor no more.
No room for doubt. iOS 13.6 Beta 2 flat out says Apple Wallet is getting virtual car keys.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple inadvertently confirmed rumors that iPhones will soon function as car keys. Buried in the privacy information for Apple Wallet in the iOS 13.6 Beta is a lengthy description of the upcoming feature.

Called “Adding and Managing Car Keys,” the verbiage details how wireless keys can be added to Wallet and how they can be shared.

Apple is one step closer to turning iPhone into a car key

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A Tesla Watch app concept.
With Apple embracing digital keys, this Tesla Watch app concept shows what might soon be a standard feature.
Photo: Eleks Labs

Apple is a charter member of the Car Connectivity Consortium, which on Monday unveiled a new version of its system to enable phones to act as digital keys.

This meshes with an unconfirmed report from February that Apple plans to add this feature to iOS 14.

CarKey screenshots show how drivers will start their cars via Wallet app

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CarKey access type 1
Here's how you'll interface with CarKey.
Photo: DongleBookPro

A new CarKey feature for iOS 14 will let drivers start up compatible vehicles from their iPhone or Apple Watch, using a digital car key in their Wallet app. Leaked screenshots that appeared on Twitter this week show what the user interface might look like.

Tapping on the digital car key in the Wallet app will reveal the car model and automaker. It also offers the ability to share your key with another person. And an Express Mode works without requiring Face ID or your passcode.

watchOS 6.2 arrives with in-app purchases and ECG support for 3 new countries

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Apple Watch likely will gain new health-related features.
Apple Watch ECG functionality just got unlocked for more people.
Photo: Apple

Apple pushed out a big software update to Apple Watch wearers today that expands ECG functionality on the Series 4 and Series 5 to users in Chile, Turkey and New Zealand.

watchOS 6.2 was released to the public today alongside iOS 13.4, iPadOS 13.4 and macOS Catalina 10.15.4. The new watchOS update also adds a couple of new features, including the ability to make in-app purchases for Apple Watch apps.

Apple could be working with BMW on CarKey feature for iOS 14

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BMW-Digital-Key
BMW could be first to support the feature this fall.
Photo: BMW

Apple is working with German car manufacturer BMW to develop a brand-new CarKey feature for iOS 14, according to a new report out Tuesday. It seems BMW could be first to support the feature this fall.

CarKey is expected to make it possible to unlock and even start compatible vehicles using only your iPhone or Apple Watch. It could also allow for key sharing between family and friends.

CarKey feature buried in iOS beta might let iPhones replace car keys

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A Tesla Watch app concept.
A concept design for an Apple Watch app designed to communicate with a Tesla.
Photo: Eleks Labs

Apple reportedly added code to iPhone and Apple Watch to let these devices function as car keys, giving users one less thing to constantly carry around.

The company began work on such a feature years ago, and supposedly how has finally reached the point where it’s building the feature into iOS and watchOS.