Upcoming iPhone Car Key feature described in iOS 13.6 privacy screens


We have been reporting on Apple’s upcoming ‘CarKey’ feature for a while now, and the latest iOS 13.6 beta gives us our best confirmation yet that the feature is imminent. On iOS 13.6, if you go to the Privacy information for Apple Wallet, Apple details several paragraphs about adding a car key to the Wallet app — a feature that the company has not yet officially announced. The find was first spotted by iPhone Ticker.

As the copy has been updated in 13.6 but not in prior releases, it suggests that Apple may be planning to launch Car Key with the release of iOS 13.6, rather than waiting for iOS 14. The company may very well announce Car Key as part of WWDC next week.

As detailed by Apple, the Wallet app will soon let you add virtual car keys compatible with ‘certain vehicles’.

A user will add a car key by signing into an App Store app from a supporting manufacturer, and following the steps to add a pass for the key. There will also be a way to directly add a car key using a pairing code screen inside of the Wallet app.

This will pair the car key authentication token with your phone. Apple will use your location and information about your account to detect possible fraud.

Car keys can be shared with family members by using the Invite button on the back of the car key pass. You can then share the car key through iMessage to other iPhone users.

Apple’s privacy information explains that it will not retain information about how you use your car, like when you lock or unlock the vehicle. However, the car manufacturer may collect this kind of information and Apple directs users to refer to the privacy policy of their automaker.

9to5Mac’s previous investigations suggest that Car Key will work with ultra-wide band chip present in iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro, or simpler NFC contactless unlock for older iPhone models. However, the big question mark is what cars will be able to work with Car Key. We’ll have to wait for Apple’s official announcement to see what partners it has got onboard.

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