NFC-Based Digital Key Specification Released Ahead of Apple's Rumored CarKey Feature on iPhone

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Amid rumors that Apple is working on a "CarKey" feature for iPhone, the Car Connectivity Consortium today announced that its NFC-based Digital Key Release 2.0 specification has been finalized and made available to its members, which includes Apple.


The specification enables mobile devices to store, authenticate, and share digital keys for vehicles with end-to-end security and privacy. The specification includes support for a low-power mode, meaning that a vehicle can still be unlocked with a smartphone that recently ran out of battery, similar to Power Reserve mode for Apple Pay transit cards.

Moving forward, 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.

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.

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


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.

Based on leaked iOS 14 code, it appears that BMW may be among the first automakers to support the CarKey feature. It is unclear when Apple plans to announce the feature, but it is expected to preview iOS 14 next month.

Article Link: NFC-Based Digital Key Specification Released Ahead of Apple's Rumored CarKey Feature on iPhone
 

calzon65

macrumors 6502a
Jul 16, 2008
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This could be a cool feature, but I would not put it past BMW to stick me for some kind of expensive software upgrade LOL ... fingers crossed.
 
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AngerDanger

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Dec 9, 2008
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ghanwani

macrumors 68000
Dec 8, 2008
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This could be a cool feature, but I would not put it past BMW to stick me for some kind of expensive software upgrade LOL ... fingers crossed.
Yeah they were nickel- and dime-ing their customers for CarPlay...

until they realized their cars are no longer anything special and they had to dial it back a bit.

///M(arketing)
 

imola.zhp

macrumors 6502a
Jun 1, 2010
953
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Mud Island (Memphis), TN
What’s the point of releasing regressive standards? You need to take out our phone to lock / start, but typically not your fob.
Its a start, we have to start somewhere. When no one finds it useful above carrying around your fob they will do better with the next iteration.

One question I have about this is when hand washing the car am I going to have to take off my watch and remove my phone from my pocket? I have to put the fob away from the car (or in the car) as it is because when hand washing it the car will lock and unlock randomly.
 

balconycollapse

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Aug 7, 2003
209
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Ames, IA
Privileges could work for fleet vehicles, teenagers, valets, maintenance shops, gig economy tasks, rental and ride share with smart contracts. It’s a slow burn thing we didn’t know we wanted until it’s ubiquitous and forgot what it was like to lose the keys.
 

citysnaps

macrumors 603
Oct 10, 2011
5,995
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San Francisco
Privileges could work for fleet vehicles, teenagers, valets, maintenance shops, gig economy tasks, rental and ride share with smart contracts. It’s a slow burn thing we didn’t know we wanted until it’s ubiquitous and forgot what it was like to lose the keys.
Absolutely. Another would be the ability to have delivery services, or even friends, leave packages in your trunk via a one-time code would be great.

I reminded of the, "Whoever asked for 1,000 songs in your pocket?" chorus a decade ago.
 

now i see it

macrumors 603
Jan 2, 2002
5,191
10,534
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
Let's see... How can we make opening a car door as complicated as possible?

While it's obvious that an iPhone could wirelessly unlock a car with special hardware installed, the question needs to be asked- should it?

And who thinks all the car makers are going to go along with this?
If there ever was an example of a solution looking for a problem, this idea has got to be one of them.
 
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hubieonekanubie

macrumors regular
Jul 15, 2010
214
192
Kansas
Would love to see this be something that could be retrofitted to older model cars with a module that could be fitted to the OBDII port or something similar.
 
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jaytv111

macrumors 6502
Oct 25, 2007
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Its a start, we have to start somewhere. When no one finds it useful above carrying around your fob they will do better with the next iteration.

One question I have about this is when hand washing the car am I going to have to take off my watch and remove my phone from my pocket? I have to put the fob away from the car (or in the car) as it is because when hand washing it the car will lock and unlock randomly.
NFC typically only works a cm or 2 away from the receiver. If your phone is in your pocket it will not trigger it at all. If you have your watch on it could trigger but only if you brush the watch right against the NFC antenna, a problem that would exist for like 2 seconds while you wipe the NFC area.
 

mcfrazieriv

macrumors 6502a
Jan 30, 2012
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What BMW models will this support? Funny that the graphic shows the i8 which just ended production last month and will not have a successor.
- - Post merged: - -

Yeah they were nickel- and dime-ing their customers for CarPlay...

until they realized their cars are no longer anything special and they had to dial it back a bit.

///M(arketing)
And then when they backtracked, iDrive 6 didn't even allow CarPlay to go full screen. My 2020 X4M Competition displays iDrive 3/4 of the screen with a giant "CarPlay" icon at the right in split screen. It took people on eBay to release a hack via USB port to go full screen... BMW still no comment.
 

827538

macrumors 65816
Jul 3, 2013
1,384
1,287
Version 3.0 seems great, 2.0 seems like more hassle than just using a wireless key.

Inching closer and closer to only having to carry a phone with me.
 

827538

macrumors 65816
Jul 3, 2013
1,384
1,287
What BMW models will this support? Funny that the graphic shows the i8 which just ended production last month and will not have a successor.
- - Post merged: - -



And then when they backtracked, iDrive 6 didn't even allow CarPlay to go full screen. My 2020 X4M Competition displays iDrive 3/4 of the screen with a giant "CarPlay" icon at the right in split screen. It took people on eBay to release a hack via USB port to go full screen... BMW still no comment.
Classic BMW, one of the reasons I ignore them when car shopping now. The subscription to use CarPlay was utterly ridiculous and a slap in the face to their customers. That, their reliability and dealer service has killed them for me.
They are the sort of manufacturer that would force you to buy a new car for something like this when we all know a software update is all that is necessary. Hard to believe but in recent years I've anecdotally found JLR to be more reliable and better service than BMW.

My 2018 Range Rover Sport got a CarPlay update for ~$200 which was fine.
 

Relentless Power

macrumors Nehalem
Jul 12, 2016
33,203
34,206
Version 3.0 seems great, 2.0 seems like more hassle than just using a wireless key.

Inching closer and closer to only having to carry a phone with me.
Yes please. I want convenience. And if that means I can leave my key Fob behind, where my phone ultimately can tethered to the car directly, I’m fine with that. It’s not that key fobs are unnecessary, but it’s less bulk into my pocket that I can leave potentially behind. Plus, I’d probably be more likely to lose my $300 key fob to my Charger Scat Pack V.S. My iPhone.

If you think about it, if the iPhone can potentially utilize key fob features, then this would serve the purpose of leaving the fob behind, because we carry our phones with us everywhere anyways for emergency reasons/contacts, etc. A phone is a necessity, the fob is an accessory that has the potential to be left behind.
 
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