CarKey Screenshots Reveal Digital Keys in Wallet App, BMW Likely to Support Feature at Launch

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MacRumors recently discovered that Apple is developing a new "CarKey" feature that will allow an iPhone or Apple Watch to unlock, lock, and start an NFC-compatible vehicle. Just like credit cards and boarding passes, users will be able to add a digital car key to the Wallet app, eliminating the need to use a physical car key or key fob.

CarKey will allow users to approach their vehicle, hold their iPhone or Apple Watch near an NFC reader in the vehicle, authenticate with Face ID, and have the vehicle unlock automatically. Similar to Apple Pay at transit turnstiles, Express Mode would be an option, eliminating the need to authenticate with Face ID or a passcode.

Earlier this week, screenshots of what appears to be the CarKey interface surfaced on Twitter, providing us with our first look at the upcoming feature.

Source: DongleBookPro

As expected, a digital car key appears as a card in the Wallet app. Tapping on the card reveals info such as the car model, issuing automaker, a toggle switch for Express Mode, and an option to share a car key with other users. When sharing a car key, the primary user can provide others with three levels of access, including the ability to unlock the trunk only, unlock the vehicle, or unlock the vehicle and drive it.

MacRumors uncovered that users will be able to share CarKeys using the Messages app. Shared access to CarKeys can be permanent for trusted individuals, such as a family member or friend, or temporary for someone like a valet driver.

It appears that Apple will be partnering with automakers for this initiative, suggesting that CarKey could roll out in a similar manner as CarPlay. Based on the screenshots above and iOS code strings seen by MacRumors, it looks likely that luxury car brand BMW will be one of the first automakers to support the feature, as 9to5Mac noted earlier.

BMW teased the future of digital keys in a press release last year:
Today, it is already possible to lock and unlock the vehicle, start the engine and share the key with others using the BMW Digital Key as part of BMW Connected on the smartphone. But this is only the first step in a global technological transformation being shaped and led by the BMW Group.
Apple is a member of the Car Connectivity Consortium, which recently announced an NFC-based Digital Key 2.0 specification that it said would be made available by the end of 2019. The consortium said this specification establishes a secure connection between mobile devices and vehicles using NFC, even when a compatible device's battery is low.

Next, the consortium is developing a Digital Key 3.0 specification based on both Bluetooth LE and Ultra Wideband to enable passive, location-aware keyless access. This would allow you to leave your iPhone in your pocket or backpack when accessing or starting your vehicle. iPhone 11 models are equipped with an Apple-designed U1 chip with Ultra Wideband support, so Apple could choose to offer this functionality.

It is unclear when Apple plans to make CarKey available to the public. The feature is not activated in iOS 13.4, released earlier this week. CarKey could be introduced in a future update to iOS 13 or held until iOS 14, which should be previewed in June.

Article Link: CarKey Screenshots Reveal Digital Keys in Wallet App, BMW Likely to Support Feature at Launch
 

Derekeys

macrumors regular
Sep 17, 2012
180
417
Philadelphia, PA
I will be impatient with my first comment and rational with my second.

1. Why isn't this in all cars already?! Cmon Apple, BMW first? For real? How about you pick a company that starts with a more blue collar kind of demographic?

2. It's awesome that this is even starting, I'm excited for it to come to more cars in the future. I also hope it comes to many other areas such as Homes, Offices, and Hotels.
 

69Mustang

macrumors 604
Jan 7, 2014
7,208
13,297
In between a rock and a hard place
1. Why isn't this in all cars already?! Cmon Apple, BMW first? For real? How about you pick a company that starts with a more blue collar kind of demographic?
It is in cars already; well a car at least. Hyundai already has this feature in their Sonata. It's called Hyundai Digital Key. It's currently only available for Android devices, but I'm fairly certain Hyundai will have an iOS app in the near future.
Unfortunately, blue collar doesn't move the needle. The BMW brand probably has the cachet that Apple wants tied to it's digital key feature.

2. It's awesome that this is even starting, I'm excited for it to come to more cars in the future. I also hope it comes to many other areas such as Homes, Offices, and Hotels.
NFC keys for hotels has been a thing for a while now.
 

hybroid

macrumors regular
Aug 12, 2010
180
433
I will be impatient with my first comment and rational with my second.

1. Why isn't this in all cars already?! Cmon Apple, BMW first? For real? How about you pick a company that starts with a more blue collar kind of demographic?

2. It's awesome that this is even starting, I'm excited for it to come to more cars in the future. I also hope it comes to many other areas such as Homes, Offices, and Hotels.
Mercedes Me has had this for years via their app. You can unlock car, switch it on, locate if lost parking etc. Nothing new.
 

Doc C

macrumors regular
Nov 5, 2013
203
116
What happens if you run out of battery? Or worse, what if you lose your phone or it is stolen?
Isn't this creating a security hole to fix a problem that really doesn't exist?

(Yes, I understand that it's possible to lose keys too, but typically we don't take out our keys 500 times per day. On my most recent vehicles, and I suspect this is true for all vehicles now, the key can stay in your pocket. Lexus used to have a credit-card shaped key that would fit into one of the card slots in a wallet, so it didn't even take up extra pocket space.)

The Tesla Model S has a key that uses proximity, but you can also open and control it with just app - all except driving it away. Other than the size of the key fob (for a tech company, it surprises me how big the thing is), that strikes me as the most reasonable compromise.
 
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Doc C

macrumors regular
Nov 5, 2013
203
116
Idk about these screenshots, it’s not like Apple to misspell “trunk”. Spacing is all messed up too.

“Express mode” is a terrible name and the description just makes it even more confusing.

These are pretty obviously fake.

Cellular reads 5GE as well.
 

dontwalkhand

macrumors 603
Jul 5, 2007
5,305
1,318
What happens if you run out of battery? Or worse, what if you lose your phone or it is stolen?
Isn't this creating a security hole to fix a problem that really doesn't exist?

(Yes, I understand that it's possible to lose keys too, but typically we don't take out our keys 500 times per day. On my most recent vehicles, and I suspect this is true for all vehicles now, the key can stay in your pocket. Lexus used to have a credit-card shaped key that would fit into one of the card slots in a wallet, so it didn't even take up extra pocket space.)

The Tesla Model S has a key that uses proximity, but you can also open and control it with just app - all except driving it away. Other than the size of the key fob (for a tech company, it surprises me how big the thing is), that strikes me as the most reasonable compromise.
If the phone runs out if battery it’ll use express mode like transit cards. It’ll remain active for a few hours after the battery dead.
 

Doc C

macrumors regular
Nov 5, 2013
203
116
I like how Tesla has it right now. I don't need to carry a key. The car comes with 2 credit cards sized nfc cards in case the phone dies.
Must be Model 3 or X.
Or maybe I just got screwed when I got my Model S.

As I mentioned, Lexus was doing that 10 yrs ago. I wonder why it didn't catch on?
 

ghanwani

macrumors 68000
Dec 8, 2008
1,656
842
I think we have reached the point of peak technology. At this point, inventions are more gimmicks, sometimes worsen the user experience, and usually introduce a bunch of security issues.

But what do I know. I'm a luddite and still carry my credit card with me.
 

Anonymous Freak

macrumors 603
Dec 12, 2002
5,198
551
Cascadia
1. Why isn't this in all cars already?! Cmon Apple, BMW first? For real? How about you pick a company that starts with a more blue collar kind of demographic?
Probably because that's who was willing to work with them early.

I own the "least BMW BMW" - the funky city electric i3. I'd love to have this, but knowing BMW, it certainly won't be coming to existing vehicles, only new ones. (I mean, they charged an annual fee to use CarPlay until just a couple months ago.)
 

Veinticinco

macrumors 65816
Feb 25, 2009
1,010
589
Europe
+ Something practical instead of a gimmick, finally...

+ Flexible implementation

+ Obsoletes costly manufacturer keyless entry option

- Only available on selected new and high-end cars

- No retrofit options
 

ianrip

macrumors 6502
My Toyota has a key fob that uses proximity, but I still have to touch the small button on the door handle, so the technology is there, put it in the IPhone-Apple Watch is a great idea. Share with family members, loss of battery issue has to be solved or controlled. But another small step forward, and if you want to keep using your car, you'll need to buy another apple product every 3-5 years, talk about locking people in or out of an eco system 🤑💵💶💴💱WOW
 

bryce.wilson93

macrumors newbie
Oct 3, 2015
27
65
Idk about these screenshots, it’s not like Apple to misspell “trunk”. Spacing is all messed up too.
I was about to comment the same thing. That is a glaring error. I’d take this with a ginormous grain of Himalayan pink salt.
 

DeanLubaki

macrumors 6502a
May 29, 2014
769
630
Toronto
Idk about these screenshots, it’s not like Apple to misspell “trunk”. Spacing is all messed up too.

“Express mode” is a terrible name and the description just makes it even more confusing.

These are pretty obviously fake.
Express mode already exists for some Wallet cards,
It is also very much like Apple for pre-release software. This could be an iOS 14 screenshot.
 

Gsmaniac

macrumors regular
Apr 3, 2014
100
82
Finally reaching a point where all I need to carry in my pocket is my iPhone (and a lip balm). This is super ideal to me. Bring it on.
 
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