Apple iPhone

Apple announces digital car keys for wirelessly unlocking with an iPhone

Apple announced at WWDC this week that you will be able to add a digital car key to your iPhone or Apple Watch to unlock or start your car wirelessly. The feature is part of the recently revealed iOS 14, and it will work over NFC, according to Apple.

The first car which will be supporting this feature will be the new 2021 BMW 5 Series, which will be introduced next month, and Apple says it’s working on an industry-wide standard that would make use of its new U1 ultra wideband chip instead of depending solely on NFC.

Apple says the feature will support the older iOS 13 as well. One can share the car key through the Messages app. When sharing a digital car key, one will be able to restrict certain features in the car, such as limiting acceleration, top speed, or stereo volume.

Apple says the digital car keys work without a network connection, this means one will be able to lock a car even in the depths of a parking garage. The keys can work “for up to 5 hours” after the iPhone’s battery has run out and flipped into a “power reserve” mode.

Other automakers that have already offered digital keys have similar functionality, but they’re separate apps.

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