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Apple’s ‘CarKey’ might let you unlock your car with your iPhone

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It could work with your Apple Watch, too

Photo by Dan Seifert / The Verge

Apple released the first beta of iOS 13.4 today, and it apparently has an unannounced feature that might let you unlock, lock, and start your car with your iPhone or Apple Watch, as spotted by 9to5Mac.

The iOS 13.4 beta has references to a new “CarKey” API, according to 9to5Mac, which could let you hold your iPhone or Apple Watch near an NFC-compatible car to use your phone as a key. Your digital key may live in your device’s Wallet app, and you might be able to share your digital car key via the Wallet app to someone else’s Apple device, perhaps a family member or trusted friend.

Some carmakers already let you use your phone as a digital car key through their apps, but they can have some limitations. Hyundai has a digital key app, but only for Android, and the app only works with the 2020 Sonata, for example. Your car may need to have specific features, like how Volvo’s On Call app requires a vehicle with a “Volvo on Call Telematics Unit.” Perhaps Apple’s version of a digital car key would be more tightly integrated with your iPhone or Apple Watch and work with more cars.

This is only the first beta of iOS 13.4, though, and it’s unclear when the final version of that might come out or if CarKey will be included when it does.