Apple’s ‘CarKey’ lets users send digital keys via Messages

Apple is working on a new “CarKey” feature that will allow an iPhone or an Apple Watch to unlock, lock, and start NFC-compatible vehicles, as first discovered in iOS 13.4 beta 1. Digital CarKey “keys” are stored in Apple’s Wallet app.

Juli Clover and Steve Moser for MacRumors:

Apple CarKey. Pictured: Apple CarPlay
Apple CarPlay
CarKey keys will be able to be shared with people in individual conversations but not in group conversations.

From iOS 13.4 beta 2: CarKey is not available in group conversations. You can send CarKey in conversations with an individual.

Sharing a CarKey with someone will allow that person to use their ‌iPhone‌ or ‌Apple Watch‌ to access a compatible car by holding the device near an NFC reader located inside of the vehicle. Keys can be permanent (for a spouse) or temporary (for a valet driver or mechanic).

People who receive a digital key over the Messages app will see text letting them know how it works.

[Vehicle Owner] invited you to use their [Vehicle Model] with unlock & drive access. This allows you to use your ‌iPhone‌ and ‌Apple Watch‌ to unlock/lock the car, start the engine and drive.

MacDailyNews Take: Ooh, like CarPlay, we’re going to want to make sure we have Apple CarKey-enabled vehicles, so, yes, this is another smart way to strengthen Apple’s Hotel California ecosystem*. You’re going to want an iPhone, an Apple Watch, and, eventually, Apple Glasses even more in the future!

*You can never leave (nor will you want to – cue the Joe Walsh guitar solo)!


  1. I will be interested in seeing how Apple implements this feature, if it is going to be used for anything beyond the very rare event when I would loan my car to someone and not be in the same location where I could just give them my key.

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