New ‘CarKey’ feature in iOS 13.4 beta brings built-in support for unlocking, driving, and sharing NFC car keys

Apple today released the first beta version of iOS 13.4 for developers, and now 9to5Mac has found evidence of a new feature that will make it possible to use the iPhone as a car key, and more.

iOS 13.4 contains references to a “CarKey” API, which will make it possible to use the iPhone and also the Apple Watch to unlock, lock, and start a car. According to the system’s internal files, users will be able to use CarKey in NFC-compatible cars, as they only need to hold the device near the vehicle to use it as a key.

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It will not be necessary to authenticate with Face ID, similar to what happens with Express Transit Cards. This also means that the feature will work even with iPhone or Apple Watch out of battery.

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.

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The pairing process will be done through the Wallet app, and then it will be necessary to have the car manufacturer’s app to proceed with the setup. Users should place the iPhone on top of the NFC reader in the car during the initial process, and then CarKey will be available in the Wallet app. After that, the key can easily be added to Apple Watch.

Another interesting information is that CarKey can be shared with other people, such as family members. Drivers can invite them also through the Wallet app to have access to the key on their own Apple devices.

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