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New Apple Feature Could Let You Open Your Car with Your iPhone

David Paul



The feature, hidden in the files of the new iOS update, would also allow an Apple Watch to act as a key fob.

Files discovered in the new iOS 13.4 update indicate that Apple will soon launch a feature allowing users to unlock, lock and start their cars using the iPhone or Apple Watches.

The files contain a reference to a framework called ‘CarKey API’ and indications that users will be able to use CarKey in ‘Near Field Communication’ (NFC) compatible cars as the device only needs to be held close to the car to activate the locking system.

Filipe Espósito, from 9to5Mac, reviewed the files from the beta version of the 13.4 update. He said: “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 are out of battery.

“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.”

The feature can also be shared with other people, such as members of your family, who can be invited through the Wallet app to gain access to the key on their own phones.


Apple has said it would be working alongside car makers with CarKey, which suggests that the feature could become a factory-installed item on some cars, sCarPlay.

In 2019 Hyundai released its own version of similar NFC software, designed to work with its new 2020 Sonta vehicles. This system worked with an app and antenna in the car’s door handle rather than through the wallet system employed by the iPhone.

David Paul

Staff Writer, DIGIT

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