iOS 13.4 beta files refer to NFC enabled 'CarKey' feature for iPhone and Apple Watch

Apple released developer betas for iOS 13.4, macOS 10.15.4, watchOS 3.2, and tvOS 13.4 today. While not much in the way of new features for this release is known yet, the folks over at 9to5Mac have uncovered a ‘CarKey’ feature in the iOS 13.4 beta. As the name suggests, the feature will likely let users use their iPhone devices as keys to their cars, where supported, and more.

The publication found a reference to the ‘CarKey’ API that will let users leverage this feature for cars with NFC receivers. Cars that are compatible with NFC functions allow users to unlock a car with their NFC enabled smartphones by placing the device right next to the door handle. The feature reportedly will not require users to authenticate with FaceID, as is the case with Express Transit Cards.

The feature will likely need to be set up through the Wallet app in conjunction with the car manufacturer’s app. Once the setup is completed on the iPhone, it can also be added to the Apple Watch, making it a nifty addition. Additionally, there also seem to be mentions of the ability to share the keys with multiple people, such as the members of the family. The invitation can be sent through the Wallet app, after which the other users will have access to the key through their own devices.

The ‘CarKey’ feature will likely see the light of the day with the official release of iOS 13.4. The source adds that the Cupertino giant is already working with car manufacturers to implement the feature. Some models already support digital key cards through Android smartphones, such as that of BMW’s latest range of vehicles. It will not be surprising to see support for Apple’s devices come to those cars as soon as this feature is out.

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