Consumers will be able to send their friends and family their car keys via iMessage in an upcoming feature, expected to be added to iOS 14 when it’s unveiled at this year’s WWDC.
As we’ve previously reported, Apple is working on a feature called CarKey, designed to allow users to store their keys on their iPhones and unlock and drive their cars without a key.
According to the second iOS 13.4 beta, users will be able to send their CarKey to other users via iMessage.
“CarKey is not available in group conversations. You can send CarKey in conversations with an individual,” strings read in the latest iOS beta, suggesting that the feature will be available for users to send their car keys to their close friends and family.
Once the key has been shared, that person will be able to use their phone or Apple Watch to unlock any compatible car by holding their device near the NFC reader.
It’s expected that these NFC keys can be permanent (for a partner, for example) or temporary (to give to a friend, mechanic, or even a business contact who needs to borrow a car for the afternoon).
When users are sent a CarKey, they’ll receive the following automated message from Apple:
[Vehicle Owner] invited you to use their [Vehicle Model] with unlock and drive access. This allows you to use your iPhone and Apple Watch to unlock/lock the car, start the engine and drive.
Similar to Apple Pay and Apple Cash, CarKey will work via Touch ID and Face ID to ensure that the person who is holding the device has permission to access the car.
However, there is also an Express Mode in the iOS code, suggesting an ‘emergency’ option in rare cases.
It’s widely expected that Apple will be partnering with vehicle manufacturers for the launch of CarKey, suggesting that the feature may need to be factory-installed, similar to CarPlay.
There’s no word on when Apple will launch the new feature, but it could come as soon as March when the company is expected to hold a Special Event.
Alternatively, Apple may hold off and premiere the new feature during the Worldwide Developers Conference this June.
What are your thoughts on CarKey? Are you looking forward to it? Let us know on social media and check back soon for more news and rumors on everything Apple, every week.