CarPlay and Car Key
Apple has been enhancing CarPlay with each new iOS version for the past couple of years, and iOS 14 is no exception, with the in-car system gaining the ability to set wallpapers along with several new categories of apps that will now be enabled for CarPlay, including parking apps, EV charging apps, and even quick food ordering apps.
More significantly, Apple also formally announced the Car Key framework that we’ve been hearing about over the past few weeks, providing a demo of exactly how it will work. Not surprisingly, BMW is the first partner on board, where the technology will be coming to the 2021 BMW 5-series vehicles. It’s anybody’s guess at this point when we’ll see it arriving in other vehicles.
For BMW, the technology will use NFC tap-to-unlock, and will apparently require the iPhone to be placed on the in-vehicle charging pad before starting the car. At least, that’s how Apple demoed it.
The car keys themselves seem to work in much the same way as credit and debit cards do for Apple Pay — they’re stored in the Secure Element, can be disabled remotely in the event your iPhone is lost or stolen, and even appear in Wallet alongside payment cards — although the main difference is that you’ll be able to share them with other users via iMessage.
Sharing a car key will also allow you to choose to enable a restricted driving profile, such as you might do for a teen driver, at least in the case of the BMW implementation. This will probably vary with other auto manufacturers and the features that they offer in their vehicles.