- Hollis Johnson/Business Insider
- Apple may be preparing to launch a new iPhone feature called “CarKey” that would allow you to unlock your car using your phone, according to 9to5Mac.
- It would work similarly to Express Transit, the feature Apple launched last year that lets you use your iPhone as a pass for public transit.
- Apple isn’t the first company hoping to eliminate the car key, but it’s another sign that the tech giant is expanding the iPhone’s usability in daily tasks.
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You can already use your iPhone as a credit card and a subway pass, but soon enough you may be able to use it to unlock your car too.
The developer beta version of Apple’s iOS 13.4 software update for the iPhone includes a reference to a feature called “CarKey,” according to blog 9to5Mac, which discovered the mention. Internal files within the software suggest that CarKey would make it possible to use an iPhone or Apple Watch to unlock NFC-enabled cars.
Pairing your iPhone with your vehicle for use with CarKey will involve launching Apple’s Wallet app and then continuing with the car manufacturer’s app, says 9to5Mac. You’ll also be able to share your digital car key with other iPhone users in your family or household, the report says.
Much like the way Express Transit works, you wouldn’t have to authenticate with Face ID or your passcode, or wake up your phone, for the feature to work. Express Transit is the feature Apple began to roll out last year that makes it possible to use your iPhone as a public transit pass. That feature is currently available in New York City and Portland in the United States as well as in London in the United Kingdom, Japan on all lines that accept Suica, and Beijing and Shanghai in China.
CarKey is yet another sign that Apple intends to broaden the iPhone’s usability when it comes to everyday tasks. Through launches like Apple Card and the digital IDs it offers for some college students, it’s clear that Apple is hoping your iPhone may one day replace your wallet.
CarKey wouldn’t be the first initiative for turning your smartphone into a digital car key. Tesla’s Model 3, for example, allows you to use your smartphone as a key, and Lincoln’s Aviator has a similar feature. Keyless ignition became standard on 62% of vehicles as of 2018, according to Edmunds. That’s only likely to continue as NFC-enabled vehicles become more common, as Global Market Insights predicts that the automotive NFC market is expected to surpass $6 billion by 2025, a jump from $700 million in 2018.