Is my iPhone compatible with Apple’s CarKey feature? See whether you'll be able to use Apple's exciting new feature.

This week, Apple lifted the lid on iOS 14, and alongside a bunch of new improvements to the home screen and a redesigned CarPlay, Apple finally announced its new CarKey feature.

For the first time, users will be able to use their iPhone or Apple Watch to lock and unlock their vehicle – and share their keys with friends via iMessage.

The good news is that Apple is clearly intent on removing another item from our pockets when we leave the house, but the bad news is that only select iPhones and Apple Watches are able to utilize the technology.

Like with Apple Pay, CarKey uses NFC technology, communicating with your car and telling it that you’re authorized to open and drive it. To make it work, Apple uses a Background Tag Reading technology, which is only available on Apple’s more recent iPhones and watches.

The iPhone XR, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max, and second-generation iPhone SE are the only iPhones that will be able to use CarKey.

Apple’s upcoming iPhone 12 range – set to be announced in September and on sale later in the year – will naturally be included in this selection. The Apple Watch Series 5 is also one of the compatible devices, and the upcoming Series 6 smartwatch will join the ranks, too.

Remember that CarKey will only be available on upcoming cars – the first, as announced by Apple, is the 2021 BMW 5 series. It may be possible for Apple and car manufacturers to make CarKey backward compatible, especially on those which already utilize smart unlocking technology, but only time will tell.

In the meantime, get ready to upgrade your car!

Are you excited about CarKey? Let us know on social media and check back soon for more.

About the Author

Everything Apple, every day. This post was written by an AppleMagazine newsroom writer.