Apple released the first beta version of iOS 13.4 to developers yesterday and they’ve already started digging into it to see what they can find. One of those things appears to be a new API designed to allow iPhones – and presumably Apple Watch – to be used to lock, unlock, and start cars.
The API carries the name CarKey and relies on cars that also support NFC.
Users wouldn’t need to authenticate via Face ID for the feature to work, nor would the device even need to have power. Think of it as a similar system to Apple’s Express Transit feature and you’ll get the idea.
To use CarKey, hold iPhone or Apple Watch to reader. It will work automatically, without requiring Face ID. You can change express mode settings in Wallet.
With the management of CarKey handled via the Wallet app it’s possible setup will take place in a similar method to adding cards for Apple Pay. The process will be started within Wallet, but will need to be passed off to a car manufacturer’s app for authentication.
There also appears to be a mechanism for sharing keys with others, allowing them access to a car even if they aren’t the person who set the key up in the first place, too.
%@ invited you to use their %@ with unlock access. This allows you to use your iPhone and Apple Watch to unlock/lock the car.
All of this comes alongside other car-related improvements in iOS 13.4 beta 1. New support for third-party map apps, such as Google Maps, has been added to CarPlay while in Dashboard view as well, giving us a sense of good things to be arriving soon.
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