The beta version of iOS 13.4 references an Apple ‘CarKey’ feature, allowing drivers to unlock their cars with an iPhone or Apple Watch
Drivers could soon be able to use their iPhones to unlock their cars, if a reference in the beta version of Apple’s latest mobile software is to be believed.
Apple released the first beta version of its iOS 13.4 software this week, which contains reference to a ‘CarKey’ feature that allows drivers to use their iPhone or Apple Watch to lock, unlock or start their car.
• What is Apple Carplay and how does it work?
The feature would only work with cars fitted with NFC (near-field communication), according to 9to5Mac, and will not require the use of FaceID or a password – drivers will simply need to hold their phone near the car for it to unlock, similar to how they would with a keyless fob.
The phone will be paired with the car via the Wallet app, and will require the installation of a manufacturer-approved app in order to work. Once their phone has acquired an NFC key from the car, the user can then share that key with friends and family members to give them access.
Technology that allows car owners to unlock and control systems, such as climate control and charging, in their cars via the manufacturer’s phone app is already widely available but the Apple system would move control of the car into the Apple CarKey software and could potentially be used to unlock multiple vehicles as well as other new features.
• What is Android Auto and how does it work?
Further details will have to wait until the full release of iOS 13.4, including what security measures have been put in place for the system. There has been significant controversy over keyless entry systems, with thieves using relay attacks to steal cars fitted with such systems from people’s driveways.
Last year, Thatcham Research started issuing ‘poor’ ratings in its security tests to models that featured vulnerable keyless entry systems. Manufacturers have now developed ways of preventing relay attacks being used to steal keyless cars, one of which is fitting keyless fobs with motion sensors.
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