The CarKey feature Apple is currently working on will allow drivers to use their iPhone as an NFC digital key. According to the iOS 14 code, it turns out that BMW may be the first automaker to support this feature.
In December, the BMW Group said it wanted to play a leading role in integrating smart devices into its cars. He wants to provide customers with simple, connected and “keyless” access.
In addition, BMW and Apple are part of the Car Connectivity Consortium which is working on a single standard to transform smartphones into digital keys. The digital key developed by the CCC allows you to lock and unlock the door. It also allows you to start the engine and share access to your car with others via a smartphone. Unlike some Wi-Fi or Bluetooth remote control solutions, this technology uses the NFC connection.
Version 3.0 of the digital key will also benefit from UWB, the Ultra-Wideband which guarantees greater security and connection speed between the smartphone and the vehicle. This technology is already present on the iPhone 11 and later models, and is currently used by Apple for the AirDrop function.
BMW is also integrating UWB into its automotive systems, confirming that technically all the conditions are met for this partnership. iOS 14 is a confirmation. It is therefore likely that the first cars to support CarKey will be the BMWs. note that this function can also be used with Apple Watch.
In addition, you will not need to authenticate with Face ID. Just being near your vehicle with your iPhone will suffice. CarKey also works similar to Transit Express cards. This means that even with a discharged iPhone, the NFC key will remain functional.
The pairing process between iPhone and car will be done through the Wallet app. But it will also be necessary to have the application of the car manufacturer to carry out the final configuration. Users will then need to place the iPhone on the NFC reader in the car during the initial process. Then CarKey will be available in the Wallet app. Finally, all that will be left is to add it to the Apple Watch.
Another interesting piece of information is that CarKey can be shared with other people, such as family members. Drivers can invite others directly from the Wallet app. Thus, the owner will be able to give access to the car on their iPhone and Apple Watch.