CarKey Privacy Policy Detailed in iOS 13.5.1, Suggesting Launch Could Come Soon

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Buried in the iOS 13.5.1 update, there's a privacy policy for the "CarKey" feature that Apple has in the works, suggesting that a launch could perhaps be coming soon. CarKey is designed to allow an iPhone or Apple Watch to be used in lieu of a physical key in certain vehicles with NFC connectivity.


First noticed by German site iPhone-ticker.de, the CarKey privacy info can be found in the current iOS 13.5.1 release and the iOS 13.6 beta. There's no word yet on when CarKey will be released, but quite a bit of info about the feature has leaked over the course of the last few months as signs of it have shown up in various versions of iOS 13.

There's not a lot of new info about CarKey in the privacy policy, but it does sum up how CarKey works, setup, and the sharing of CarKey keys through Messages. It makes it clear that Apple does not collect or retain information on vehicle usage, though the vehicle manufacturer still may collect vehicle usage information based on their own privacy policies.
Wallet allows you to add and share car keys for certain vehicles. You may add a car key by signing in to your vehicle manufacturer's app or entering a pairing code in Wallet to claim the vehicle as your own and to pair your device with your vehicle. If successful, your device sends Apple a one-time owner redemption token. Apple uses the redemption token, information about your Apple account and your device, and your location at the time of provisioning (if Location Services is enabled) for fraud prevention purposes.

To set up your car key, Apple shares a unique device identifier with your vehicle manufacturer. This device identifier is different for each vehicle manufacturer to help protect your privacy. Your vehicle manufacturer may connect this device identifier with other information it has about you and will process information it has about you according to its privacy policy.

You may share car keys by tapping Invite on the back of your car key pass, selecting the access type that you would like to grant, and sharing the car key pass using iMessage. To help set up and manage car key passes, Apple forwards to the vehicle manufacturer information about with whom a pass is shared and what level of access was granted. Apple also shares a unique device identifier for the pass recipient with the vehicle manufacturer to enable them to manage your pass. For pass recipients, just as with owners, the vehicle manufacturer may connect the device identifier with other information it may have about the recipient and process such information according to its privacy policy.

Apple does not collect or retain information on vehicle usage, such as when you use your car key pass to lock or unlock the vehicle. Your vehicle manufacturer may collect vehicle usage information according to agreements you have with them. We encourage you to review your vehicle manufacturer's privacy policy for more information.
Digital CarKey keys will be stored in the Wallet app alongside credit cards, rewards cards, gift cards, and other items on iPhone and Apple Watch. These keys will let an iPhone or Apple Watch unlock, lock, and start vehicles equipped with NFC.

Vehicle owners will be able to share a digital CarKey with another person, which is useful in valet situations, if a friend needs to borrow a car, and more. CarKey access is authenticated biometrically using Face ID or Touch ID, though there is an "Express Mode" that vehicle owners can take advantage of.

Apple will be partnering with vehicle manufacturers for CarKey, and it may be a factory installed option similar to CarPlay. CarKey requires NFC to function, so it is something that needs to be implemented by car makers.

Screenshots found in iOS 14 have suggested that BMW may be one of the first manufacturers that will support the CarKey feature. CarKey functionality could be released at any time as the NFC-based Digital Key Release specification that powers it was finalized in May and provided to Car Connectivity Consortium members including Apple.

CarKey screenshots

Given that CarKey is a major feature and iOS 14 is on the horizon and set to be unveiled next week, CarKey could perhaps be included in the iOS 14 update.

Article Link: CarKey Privacy Policy Detailed in iOS 13.5.1, Suggesting Launch Could Come Soon
 

Alan Wynn

macrumors 6502a
Sep 13, 2017
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This cannot come soon enough for me. I hope my car supports my Apple Watch soon. It would be great to not have to carry the giant key fob with me. One less thing I need. If only I could get rid of my license and passport, I would be overjoyed.
 

CTHarrryH

macrumors 68020
Jul 4, 2012
2,214
856
Still don't understand the need, at least for some cars - which would probably be the ones to get it. I have a Subaru - I leave the key in my pocket - grab the door handle and it unlocks - leave the car touch the outside of the handle and the car locks - don't need to take key out of pocket to start run the car. So what will this give me - ok the ability to "lend" a car key - which I don't think I have ever done.
Obviously all facts not known yet but having to take phone out and put it close to car is a negative to me.
The cars will have to have function plus if the stuff is right an app designed to work with it. I would think any car that has that will already have functions similar to what I have.
We will see
 

Will.O.Bie

macrumors 6502
Aug 29, 2016
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Hopefully this is something they can deliver to existing BMW's with Comfort Access and doesn't require an entirely new car.
If you've been a BMW owner for a long time, you would know they WOULD DEFINITELY require you to pay for an "upgrade" or just buy a new car for you to use this feature.
 
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Alan Wynn

macrumors 6502a
Sep 13, 2017
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Still don't understand the need, at least for some cars - which would probably be the ones to get it. I have a Subaru - I leave the key in my pocket - grab the door handle and it unlocks - leave the car touch the outside of the handle and the car locks - don't need to take key out of pocket to start run the car. So what will this give me - ok the ability to "lend" a car key - which I don't think I have ever done.
You explained the need clearly in your own post. You need to have the key in your pocket. With this, you only need to have your phone or your watch with you. One fewer thing to carry.
 

CWallace

macrumors 604
Aug 17, 2007
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Seattle, WA
My new Hyundai Sonata offers this via Android, so hoping they planned to offer this with iOS, as well, when it becomes available.
 

somethingelsefl

macrumors 6502
Dec 22, 2008
442
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Tampa, FL
“CarKey” is less identifiable than “AirPlay” or “FaceTime”

let’s stop naming products with the “creatively uncreative” naming strategy. Music TV Watch Map
 

farewelwilliams

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Jun 18, 2014
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really hope Tesla adopts this. many times i would run to my car and the car doesn't detect my phone in range and refuses to unlock.
 

MisterK

macrumors 6502
Jan 9, 2006
426
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Ottawa, Canada
Still don't understand the need, at least for some cars - which would probably be the ones to get it. I have a Subaru - I leave the key in my pocket - grab the door handle and it unlocks - leave the car touch the outside of the handle and the car locks - don't need to take key out of pocket to start run the car. So what will this give me - ok the ability to "lend" a car key - which I don't think I have ever done.
Obviously all facts not known yet but having to take phone out and put it close to car is a negative to me.
The cars will have to have function plus if the stuff is right an app designed to work with it. I would think any car that has that will already have functions similar to what I have.
We will see
I agree. My BMW's keys are always in my pocket and my car just opens from my proximity when I pull the handle. I suppose the use case here if I ever locked myself out I could just use my phone? Because pulling my phone out is more work than I currently need to do.
 

Alan Wynn

macrumors 6502a
Sep 13, 2017
708
691
My new Hyundai Sonata offers this via Android, so hoping they planned to offer this with iOS, as well, when it becomes available.
Your Sonata lets you unlock and start your car using NFC on an Android phone or just lets you use an app to unlock it? None of the Hyundai's I have considered offered that.
 
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oneofakind

macrumors member
May 1, 2012
40
15
Bay Area
Why? Do you only buy 1 car in your lifetime?

If Apple is still working on a car, it shouldn't be rushed.

I really like what Tesla is doing, but I wish they would support CarPlay.
Today the average person buys 9 cars per lifetime. I've already on my 4th lol That doesn't give me much time for an original Apple Car and a new GEN Apple car LOL I just signed a loan with Tesla so I'll give them 6 years.
 

havenyoung

macrumors regular
Oct 22, 2013
245
133
If you've been a BMW owner for a long time, you would know they WOULD DEFINITELY require you to pay for an "upgrade" or just buy a new car for you to use this feature.
Yeah...the best case scenario is that it will be built into the existing Digital Key feature that's only available for certain Samsung Galaxy devices right now, and that is already an ongoing subscription in ConnectedDrive.
 
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ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
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I really like what Tesla is doing, but I wish they would support CarPlay.
What would CarPlay give me that the car doesn't already provide? I can already send and receive text messages (and the text actually shows on screen, unlike with CarPlay), call people, access Spotify, Podcasts, and other audio sources, and use Waze or Google Maps (although using Google Maps is silly - just use the built-in maps instead.)

There's already an SDK that Tesla has allowed some outside developers to use... I wouldn't be surprised if within the next year we finally see everyone be allowed to use it. Once that's out of the bag, whatever you want the car to do, there will be an app for that.
 

dmylrea

macrumors 68030
Sep 27, 2005
2,901
3,589
You explained the need clearly in your own post. You need to have the key in your pocket. With this, you only need to have your phone or your watch with you. One fewer thing to carry.
Sounds like a solution looking for a problem. If I could realistically leave my wallet and key fob at home and just grab my phone...
 

Lounge vibes 05

macrumors 6502
May 30, 2016
366
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This is not much to do with this article, but I thought I should mention that it’s starting to look more and more like Apple is moving away from huge yearly iOS updates, and more towards smaller seasonal updates.
13.1 came out on September 24, which was the first week of fall.
13.3 came out in December with a lot of missing features.
13.4 came out in March, with iPad cursor support, iCloud folder sharing, and some other stuff.
iOS 13.6 probably coming out on June 22, with possible car key feature.
See what I mean? Spreading out a bunch of small updates over a long period of time. I wouldn’t be surprised if we start to see this.
September adds a bunch of features, December, March, and June.
- - Post merged: - -

It makes a lot more sense than preparing one huge update for every single September with hundreds of new features, that’s initially super buggy and only is allowed three months of beta testing and 8 months of development.
With this new seasonal schedule, Apple can slowly trickle features out when they’re absolutely ready to.
- - Post merged: - -

it also would allow a lot more time for bug fixing and beta testing. For example, if Apple were to use the structure for 14:
June to September, 14.0 is beta tested.
September to December: 14.1 is beta tested
December through March: 14.3 is beta tested.
March through June: 14.4 is beta tested.
 
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nutmac

macrumors 601
Mar 30, 2004
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What would CarPlay give me that the car doesn't already provide? I can already send and receive text messages (and the text actually shows on screen, unlike with CarPlay), call people, access Spotify, Podcasts, and other audio sources, and use Waze or Google Maps (although using Google Maps is silly - just use the built-in maps instead.)
  • Calendar app that lists upcoming events and directions for each
  • HomeKit support for opening the garage
  • Apple Music
  • Apple Podcast and many third party podcast apps (more than those available for Tesla)
  • Many audiobook apps (more than those available for Tesla)
  • Many sports and news apps (more than those available for Tesla)
  • Alternate maps apps (more than those available for Tesla)
 

Alan Wynn

macrumors 6502a
Sep 13, 2017
708
691
Sounds like a solution looking for a problem. If I could realistically leave my wallet and key fob at home and just grab my phone...
I find this such an odd position. What benefit do you get from carrying your key fob with you other than open/operating your car? Unless yours does something mine does not, the answer is none. Given that, why would I want to carry it with me when I can avoid it at no additional cost to me? I always have my watch on, and most of the time I have my phone with me. If all I need is my license, I can carry it in my phone case. I would not buy an Apple watch to use this feature, but since I already have one how does this not benefit me?

In addition, key fobs are expensive, and often difficult to replace in the event they are lost or damaged, making it even more of an issue being forced to carry it around.
 
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