What is Apple Car Key?


If you drive a car that offers the CarPlay media system, there’s a great new feature on offer; Car Keys.

CarPlay brings iOS to the car. If you have a compatible vehicle, you can view Maps, play music from your iPhone, check Calendar appointments, use Siri and more; all from a touchscreen embedded into your car’s dashboard. It takes the information and media from your connected iPhone, and displays them right where they’re needed, giving you access to your iPhone’s apps and features without taking your hands off the wheel or your eyes off the road.

What is Apple Car Key
Your digital car keys reside in the iPhone’s Wallet app.


iOS 14 brings a new feature to CarPlay. Digital car keys let you unlock and start your car using your iPhone or Apple Watch. You can use the Messages  app to share your digital car keys with another iPhone user, and if you lose your smartphone, you can disable the digital keys using iCloud.


The first generation of  digital keys use NFC technology,  and are  available starting this year. They will be followed by a second-generation feature based on Ultra Wideband technology for spacial awareness. What this means   for the user is you can unlock future car models without removing your iPhone from your pocket or bag. This feature is to launch next year.



Car Key Compatible Vehicles

The Car Keys feature has already been adopted by BMW, and is included in the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, X5, X6, X7, X5M, X6M, and Z4 models made after July 1, 2020. More manufacturers will surely follow.

Apple Car Key with BMW

“Apple’s senior manager of car experience engineering, Emily Schubert, unlocks her car using her iPhone.”

Use your iPhone or Apple Watch as a car key: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT211234

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