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Leaked screenshots reveal what Apple’s new CarKey feature is going to look like

Published Mar 27th, 2020 7:06PM EDT
iOS 14 Features
Image: Alex Tai/SOPA Images/Shutterstock
  • A new iOS feature called CarKey will allow iPhone and Apple Watch owners to unlock and drive their cars by relying upon their devices as opposed to a physical key.
  • Owners will be able to grant third-party individuals one-time keys that would enable them to unlock a car directly from their own device.
  • Evidence of CarKey first surfaced in an iOS 13.4 beta, though Apple may wait to release the feature until it unveils iOS 14 later this year.
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

When Apple released the first iOS 13.4 beta in early February, one of the more notable additions was a brand new CarKey API that makes it possible for Apple Watch and iPhone owners to start, lock, and unlock their vehicles directly from their devices.

Even cooler is that the API will allow device owners to share access with friends and family members via one-time keys. Imagine, for instance, the ability to remotely give a friend of yours the ability to unlock and drive your car with their own iPhone or Apple Watch.

At this point, it remains unclear if this feature will be available as part of a mature iOS 13 release or if it’s something Apple is saving for iOS 14. In the meantime, though, a screenshot of the CarKey interface appears to have leaked on Twitter.

There are a few notable things worth pointing out in the tweet below. For starters, note the option of an Express Mode which would allow the feature to work without requiring users to authenticate via Face ID of entering in a passcode.

You’ll also note that the CarKey interface offers three varying types of access to a vehicle. This certainly makes sense because sometimes you might just want to give someone access to your car to retrieve something as opposed to giving them the ability to drive your car. These three different access categories include Trunk Access (unlock the trunk only), Access Only (unlock the car only), and of course, Access and Drive.

Also, note the button which makes it relatively easy for users to invite people to whatever level of car access they deem appropriate. What’s more, it’s easy to remove users and some individuals can be added permanently. Everything happens within the Wallet app, and if you tap the key, you can see the specific car you have access to, which in this case is a BMW i8:

Again, it’s not clear if CarKey is something we’ll have access to with iOS 13 or in iOS 14. That said, there’s a strong chance that CarKey — simply by virtue of how compelling a feature it is — will be something Apple will want to show off with iOS 14. Of course, the million-dollar question is how that might happen. Recall, WWDC this year is canceled, and though Apple is promising to do an online-only event, the impact of the coronavirus was so extensive that it prompted Google to cancel its I/O event entirely.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.

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