A new trio of screenshots that have made their way online suggest how Apple’s often rumoured CarKey feature could work.
That said, the screenshots have a high chance of being fake. The third screenshot in the bundle is spaced incorrectly, and this leaker isn’t someone that we’ve written about before.
In the leaked images, the feature works like a card in the Apple Wallet app. You load it into the app somehow, likey through connection with an automaker’s app. Once it’s in the app, you can then use it to unlock your car. Since the card is in the wallet app, there’s speculation it might be possible to use the Apple Watch to unlock your car as well.
Cards that work by tapping use a technology called Near Field Communication (NFC). Apple locks down the use of the NFC chips on its devices so it would be very exciting to see another use case for the tech baked into Apple’s first-party systems.
This all lines up with previous rumours we’ve seen over the last few months.
— Dongle (@DongleBookPro) March 23, 2020
These screenshots also showcase a new feature that up until now, has only been available with transit passes in some regions in Apple Wallet. This feature is called ‘Express Mode,’ which allows you to use the card without triggering Face ID or Touch ID. This functionality might also work when your iPhone is dead.
Another new feature that these screenshots hint at is the ability to share your keys with other iPhone owners. The interesting part about this is you can restrict what that shared key can do. The first option only gives users access to the trunk, the second unlocks the car’s doors and the final option can unlock everything while also being able to start the car.
The screenshots all show off this feature working with a BMW i8. This lines up with previous leaks stating that Apple is working with BMW to roll out this functionality.
If Apple does release this feature in iOS 14, it will help unify digital keys that are all currently locked down to automotive manufacturer’s apps. I’m sure it would take time, but if an increasing number of manufacturers adopted CarKey support, it would quickly become an expected feature.