Initially announced in July 2020, Apple’s Car Key feature is one of the most exciting functions of the iPhone’s Wallet as it shows how close we are to having our smartphone as our only device. Although the number of cars that currently support Apple’s authentication to unlock vehicles and drive is very limited, the company plans to change that with a new Car Key Tests app.
According to 9to5Mac, this application was just released in the App Store, but it’s currently unlisted, so it can only be accessed via a direct link. The publication says this app is “meant for car manufacturers to test integration with Apple’s Car Key feature. Apple says that the app allows those companies to ‘test and validate’ requirements for the certification process of adopting Car Key through its Made-for-iPhone program.”
Only a few car models from BMW, Hyundai, and Kia currently offer Car Key support. That said, Apple wants to ramp up this feature by letting manufacturers test this integration and roll it out to various models. Here’s what the company says about the Car Key Tests app:
For use by MFi Licensees only. Use the Car Keys Tests app to test and validate connection, performance, and other key requirements for the certification process of the vehicles you develop that incorporate Apple digital car keys technology. For more information about Car Keys certification, visit the MFi Portal at mfi.apple.com.
9to5Mac notes that Apple was probably privately distributing this app to Car Key partners in the past, but making it somewhat available in the App Store can simplify the process.
More recently, the company announced shared Car Keys support with Google Pixel integration, as it had been working with the IEFT and industry members to standardize cross-platform car key sharing.
Car Keys on Wallet lets you use your iPhone or Apple Watch to lock, unlock, and start the car. While the process depends on each manufacturer, sharing your car keys can be very easy – especially now that there’s support for Android phones for the first time.
We’ll see if these changes will help Apple ramp up the adoption of this important feature.