Apple CarKey will soon work with your iPhone in your pocket

With Apple CarKey, you can add car keys to the Wallet app, use your iPhone or Apple Watch to unlock and start your car, and share your car key with other people. If your car is compatible, you can add a car key to the Wallet app on your iPhone.

CarKey was introduced into iOS 13.4 for testing with the 2021 BMW 5 Series. It became publicly accessible on July 15, 2020 through the Apple Wallet app in iOS 13.6, iPadOS 13.6, and watchOS 6.2.8.

To date, to unlock your car, you would hold your iPhone or Apple Watch near the car’s door handle. To start your car, place your iPhone in the car’s key reader, or hold your Apple Watch near the reader. Then press the car’s start button. If you leave your car, hold your Apple device near the door handle to lock it.

Now, with the release of the Car Connectivity Consortium’s Digital Key 3.0, and once adopted by charter member Apple, users will be able to unlock and start a compatible vehicle without needing to take their iPhone out of their pocket or bag.

Digital car keys give users a way to securely unlock and start their car using just their iPhone or Apple Watch.
Digital car keys give users a way to securely unlock and start their car using just their iPhone or Apple Watch.

The Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC) today announced that its CCC Digital Key Release 3.0 specification is finalized and now available to CCC members. The new specification enables passive keyless access and engine start from a compatible mobile device via Ultra Wideband (UWB) in combination with Bluetooth Low Energy wireless technologies.

“The CCC Digital Key already enables your mobile device to be used as a key for your vehicle,” said Daniel Knobloch, president, CCC, in a statement. “With the CCC Digital Key Release 3, the user experience just got even better. The combination of Ultra Wideband and Bluetooth Low Energy will allow you to leave your mobile device in your bag or pocket when approaching to unlock and start your vehicle – making Digital Key even more convenient.”

CCC Digital Key is a standardized ecosystem that enables mobile devices to store, authenticate, and share Digital Keys for vehicles in a seamless, secure and privacy-preserving way. The CCC Digital Key Release 3.0 specification complements the Release 2.0 specification. Release 3.0 adds hands-free, location-aware keyless access and location-aware features for an improved user-friendly experience through the implementation of UWB in combination with Bluetooth Low Energy. Support for NFC technology is maintained to ensure backward compatibility and battery-low mode.

The latest Release addresses security and usability by authenticating the Digital Key between a vehicle and the mobile device over Bluetooth Low Energy. Mobile devices create and store the Digital Keys in a Secure Element that provides the highest level of protection against hardware or software-based attacks. UWB offers secure and accurate distance measurement allowing cars to locate authenticated mobile devices so that Release 3.0 not only prevents attacks but also adds a new level of convenience when entering, interacting and starting the car.

The CCC Digital Key Release 3.0 specification is now available to CCC members. Companies that would like to join CCC to support specification development and to gain access to the final spec can visit

MacDailyNews Note: The Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC) is dedicated to cross-industry collaboration in developing global standards and solutions for smartphone and in-vehicle connectivity. The Board of Directors of CCC include individuals from the Charter Member Companies Apple, BMW, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, LG, NXP, Panasonic, Samsung, and Volkswagen. The organization’s 100 plus members represent a large portion of the global automotive and smartphone market. For further information about CCC projects and to get involved, please visit

More info about how to use Apple’s CarKey here.

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