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Your iPhone might soon double as a car key, iOS beta reveals


Apple has a mission and that mission is to make it so that people can leave their homes only carrying an iPhone in their pocket. It has already taken care of payments, public transit passes and even some forms of ID. But now it’s going a step further!

In the bowels of the freshly-released iOS 13.4 beta, 9to5Mac stumbled upon something intriguing. A new “CarKey” API has been added to the operating system. CarKey will use the phone’s NFC chip to communicate with cars that have NFC (and support the feature) and will let users start their cars without a key.

You’ll be able to add a car key to your phone through Apple’s Wallet app by placing your iPhone next to the car’s NFC reader during the setup process. Once a key has been added to the app, you’ll be able to start the car by tapping your iPhone or Apple Watch.

Face ID won’t be required for CarKey to function, just like with Express Transit Cards, which means even if your phone’s battery is dead you’ll still be able to start your car (a small charge is reserved to keep the NFC chip active).

Another cool feature that the digital key enables is the option to share your car’s key through the Wallet app. So, your spouse or other family members can use your car without having to constantly hand over the keys back and forth. This also means you can have multiple keys in your Wallet, which might be a huge benefit for corporations with large fleets of company cars.  

With car keys taken care of and home smart locks being a thing for a while, all that’s left is for Apple to figure out how to embed driver’s licenses and other government-issued IDs in its phones and the three-tap keys-wallet-phone check will be reduced to a single phone tap.


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