Code inside the newest iOS beta suggest Apple is working on a feature that will let users unlock their cars with an Apple Watch.
According to 9to5Mac, the beta contains references to an unreleased feature called ‘CarKey’ that will enable one to use their Apple Watch to unlock, lock, and start up their car.
The feature would feasibly only work with cars that are capable of using ‘near field communications’ or NFC which require a fob to start or unlock.
References uncovered by 9to5Mac also suggest that unlike Apple Pay, users won’t have to unlock their phones before using CarKey, meaning they will be able to just walk up to their vehicle, wave their hand, and enter.
‘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,’ writes Apple in reference uncovered by 9to5Google.
Additionally, Apple appears to be allowing users to invite family members or other trusted individuals to have access to CarKey using iOS’s Wallet app.
This means that whoever sets up CarKey can send another person an invite that allows the recipient to lock or unlock the associated car.
To connect their device through CarKey users will apparently have to wave their device in front of the car’s NFC reader to pair it and also finish setup using their manufacturer’s app.
‘Place this iPhone on top of the NFC reader in your car. Pairing process may take several minutes, do not remove it from the reader until pairing is done,’ reads text in the beta.
‘Enter the CarKey code provided by your car dealer or connect using the [Vehicle Brand’s] app.’
While there’s no clear date on when CarKey will be available for users, it will likely be released in Apple’s forthcoming iOS 13.4.
It’s possible that the release of iOS 13.4 may take longer than usual software releases, however, given the recent and bumpy iOS roll outs over the past year.