Apple’s digital car key feature is officially available, though we suspect only a select few will actually use it.
On 15 July, Apple rolled out CarKey as part of the WatchOS 6.2.8 update and iOS 13.6 update. The company first announced the feature at last month’s virtual-only WWDC event. It allows Apple device users to remotely lock, unlock, and start compatible vehicles and works even if their iPhone is dead.
CarKey works through the Apple Wallet app on the iPhone or Apple Watch. It even allows users to share keys with up to five friends through iMessage. Users can grant varying levels of access to their friends, and if a user’s device should ever be lost or stolen, their digital keys can easily be disabled through iCloud.
The thing is you need a vehicle that actually supports CarKey in order to use the feature. BMW is one of the first manufacturers to partner with Apple. Currently, any Series 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, X5, X6, X7, X5M, X6M, or Z4 can use CarKey – as long as the car was manufactured after 1 July 2020.
If that’s you, then update your iPhone and go put it against your car’s door handle. From there, place it on the central Qi charger and tap the ignition button.
Apple hasn’t announced yet which other carmakers plan to support CarKey.