Apple unveils NFC car keys

Apple's Emily Schubert introduces Apples NFC car key during the iPhone maker's virtual WWDC event
CARKEY: Emily Schubert introduces Apple’s NFC car key during the its virtual WWDC event

Apple iPhone users will be able to lock, unlock and start vehicles using a new NFC CarKey feature from next month, Apple has announced, with BMW the first vehicle manufacturer to add support for the new service.

CarKey is based on Car Connectivity Consortium standards and, from next year, will also include support for ultra wideband (UWB) technology, “so you’ll be able to keep your iPhone in your bag or pocket and still securely unlock and start your car.”

“In addition to adding this feature to iOS 14, we’re also enabling it in iOS 13,” Craig Federighi, senior vice president of software engineering, explained during Apple’s WWDC 2020 keynote.

Owners of 2021 BMW 5 series vehicles, which will be available from next month, will be the first to be able to take advantage of CarKey. “We expect to see support for this standard starting in new cars next year,” he added.

“It uses NFC and you just tap to unlock. I place my phone on the charging pad and then push to start,” Emily Schubert, senior manager of car experience engineering, explained during a demo of the new service:

“Digital keys have security benefits,” Schubert added. “They live in the secure element of your iPhone and, if it goes missing, you can turn off your keys remotely via iCloud. They’re even easier to share than a physical key. Copies don’t involve trips to the dealership and you can share from wherever you are with iMessage.”