iPhone owners can keep their credit cards, event tickets, boarding passes, and more all on their smartphone – so why shouldn’t they keep their car key there as well?
Rumors emerged previously about iPhones eventually allowing users to keep NFC-based keys stored onto their phones, as long as their vehicle is compatible.
The function was discovered in an early version of iOS 13.4, revealing a framework that would allow the user to lock, unlock, and even start their car while within range of the vehicle.
Screenshots were later discovered that implied such a function will exist in the Wallet app, where users can access the key like a credit card. The function appears to only exist for BMWs so far but could extend further as the functionality becomes normalized.
But Apple isn’t the only group preparing such software. The Car Connectivity Consortium, a cross-industry organization dedicated to creating the tools to connect smartphones and cars, announced that it had finalized the Digital Key Release 2.0 Specification required to make this possible.
This specification would allow mobile devices to authenticate and store digital keys in their memory databases while coding them with end-to-end encryption with the same level of security you’d expect from a physical key.
The coding will also include compatibility in low-battery mode, which allows the phone to work as a key even if the battery dies.
The current functionality does require the user to access the aforementioned CarKey interface in order for it to activate. In the future, the CCC says that they hope to adopt a 3.0 specification that will enable Ultra Wideband and passive location-aware keyless access on devices for more seamless use.