Apple Car Key - Everything you should know | Carplayhacks Review

· 8 min read
Apple Car Key - Everything you should know | Carplayhacks Review

Apple Car Key is the trendy and the smartest way for locking, unlocking and starting your car. The most interesting thing is it it virtual and you can have it inside the Wallet App inside your iPhone, so that you do not have to worry about keeping your car keys physically.

Let's discuss about Car Key comprehensively.

What is Apple Car Key?

Apple Car Key is the digital protocol that lets NFC capable devices like iPhones and watches control  NFC-capable vehicles with unlock, lock, start options.

Apple replaces most of our daily needs and items by the iPhone. Now they are going to replace your car keys with their latest versions. Car Key is another new feature introduced in iOS 13.4 beta. This will allow you to open doors, start your vehicle, and control different settings through your iOS devices such as iPhone, tab, Mac, and Apple Watch.

Car Key came up with enhancements as an iOS 14 CarPlay feature and we can see that Apple has paid more attention to improving this. In the CarPlay iOS 15 new feature list, Car Key is found with enhanced security. You can find more accuracy and security in Car Key came with CarPlay iOS 16 update.

As indicated by the iOS inside kernel data, clients will have the option to utilize Car Key in NFC-compatible vehicles. If your vehicle is NFC compatible, all you have to do is hold your iOS gadget close to the vehicle to utilize it as the vehicle key.

One of the most fascinating things with Car Key is that you can simply share your key with others through messenger or any. More like a smart house key option. And you can give custom user privileges to them. As an example, you can give permanent user privileges to your wife while you can give temporary user privileges to your daughter or a relative.

How to install Apple Car Key

To install Car Key you need a Car Key compatible car. Most of the Apple CarPlay compatible car makers are planning to have this feature and for now you can experience this with Car Key compatible BMW cars only.

The Car Key installation process is done through the Apple Wallet application. (It will be important to have the vehicle manufacturer’s app to continue with the process.) Clients should put the iPhone on the NFC reader of his vehicle during the installation procedure. Here, now your keys are accessible with your Wallet app. Also now you can add or use it from any iOS device easily.

how to install apple car key

Requirements to have Apple Car Key

  • A compatible car with Wallet App.
  • iPhone XS or later with iOS 13.4 or above, or Apple Watch Series 5 or later.
  • Sign in to the device with Apple ID.
  • Set up a passcode for authentication.
  • Be connected to the account provided by your car's manufacturer. (You can get the manufacturer or dealership assistance for this)

How to add car keys to the Wallet app on your iPhone

Other than setting it up for the first time, you need to set it up if you get a new iPhone or after resetting the current phone.

Follow these steps to add Apple Car Keys on your iPhone

  1. First, open the car manufacturer's app.
  2. Then, follow the instructions to set up a key.
  3. When the app sends you to the Wallet app →  tap Continue.
  4. Place your iPhone on the key reader as shown in the onscreen instructions, then wait for your iPhone and car to pair.
  5. After that Tap Done.

Add car keys from an email / Text Message

Depending on your vehicle, you might be able to add car keys from a link that your car maker sends to you in an email or text message.

Follow these steps to add Car Keys from an email or text message:

  1. When you add your car to the account that's provided by its manufacturer, you receive an email that will help you begin the car key process.
  2. Secondly tap the link in the email.
  3. When the app sends you to the Wallet app →  tap Continue.
  4. Then place your iPhone on the key reader as shown in the onscreen instructions, then wait for your iPhone and car to pair.
  5. Tap ‘Done’.

Same way you can set up Car Keys using the infotainment display of your car. For that, Navigate to the key section of your car's information display, then follow the onscreen instructions. When prompted, follow steps 3–5 from above in the Wallet app.

Importance of NFC for a virtual Car Key?

First of all, NFC standards for Near Field Communication. It can also be described as a short-range wireless connection among NFC support devices. NFC is another great innovation that makes some of our day to day complex works. Such as money transactions, digital contents transactions, and connecting digital devices within a simple touch.

Why should you use Apple Car Key?

To unlock and start the car quickly. We all know that’s how tragic situations we face when we lose our vehicle keys or forget our keys. Indeed, rather than utilizing your cell phone to call your companion and request the help or bring your keys, imagine a scenario in which you can use your smartphone to unlock your vehicle door, and start your vehicle. Truly! Now you can have your car keys also on your smart device using this Apple Car Key application. Isn't it more safe and convenient compared to physical car keys?

How to use Apple Car Key ?

There are 6 main functionalities of Apple Car Key as follows:

  1. Lock and Unlock Car
  2. Start Car
  3. Use Express Mode
  4. Share Car Key with someone else
  5. Revoke a shared Car Key
  6. Delete a Car Key

1. Lock and Unlock car

Lock and unlock the car has been made really easy with Apple Car Key. What you simply have to do is hold your iPhone or Apple Watch near the car's door handle. On the other hand, if you hold the iDevice near the door of an unlocked car, you can simply lock it within seconds.

2. Start car

Simply start the car with Car Key as follows:

  1. Place your iPhone in the car's key reader, or hold your Apple Watch near the reader.
  2. Then press the car's start button.
  3. Subsequently car will start immediately.

3. Use express mode

Express Mode lets you automatically unlock your car door and allows you to quickly start the vehicle.

This is turned on by default when you add a car key to the Wallet app and you can simply turn it off with the following steps. But if you turn it off, you need to authenticate each time you use your iPhone as a Car Key.

How to turn off Express Mode:

  1. Open the Wallet app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap the card for your car key.
  3. Tap the More button which is indicated by three dots .
  4. Turn off Express Mode.

4. Share Car Key

Car Key can be shared with anyone you want and they should be iPhone users with a compatible device signed in with an Apple ID and turned on a passcode. Once the recipient taps on the invitation on their iPhone or Apple Watch, the Wallet app opens and guides them on how to add and use the car key.

Follow these steps to share your Car Key with another person.

  1. Firstly open the Wallet app on your iPhone.
  2. Then tap the card for your car key.
  3. Tap the More button .
  4. Tap Invite.
  5. Tap Set Access, then select the level of restrictions that you want to place on the shared car key.
  6. After that, tap Invite. A new message appears.
  7. Begin typing a person's name in the message's To field, then tap their name when it appears. If the recipient isn't in your contacts, you can type a phone number.
  8. Finally tap the Send button indicated with an arrow.

5. Revoke a shared Car Key

You can any time revoke access to a car key that you have already shared. Simply follow these steps.

  1. Open the Wallet app on your iPhone.
  2. Then tap the card for your car key.
  3. Tap the More button .
  4. Tap the name of a person you've shared the car key with.
  5. Finally tap Revoke Access.

Note: The person receives a notification telling them that the car key has been revoked.

6. Delete a Car Key

To delete the car key from your iDevices, you can follow these steps.

  1. Open the Wallet app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap the card for your car key.
  3. Tap the More button .
  4. Then tap Remove This Car Key.
  5. Tap Remove to confirm.
apple car key compatible cars

Apple Car Key compatible Cars

BMW is the very first vehicle manufacturer that introduced NFC functionality into the automobile industry. Currently, there are many car models in the market compatible with NFC functionalities. Also, several vehicle companies promised to mobile companies at the Car Connectivity Consortium that their modern vehicle models will support the NFC facility. So users can use this Apple Car Key or any application NFC needed with their cars. BMW, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Lincoln, Tesla, Audi, Honda, Toyota, Volkswagen, Cadillac, Volvo, and Hyundai are some of the leading car manufacturers that use NFC technology in some of their car models.

BMW car models compatible with Apple Car Key

  • BMW series 1,2,3,4,5,6,8
  • X5, X6, X7
  • M5, M8
  • X5 M, X6 M
  • Z4

Apple Car Key compatible phones

Even if your iPhone is running the latest software, Apple’s Car Key feature is only available on iPhones released in 2018 or later. That includes:

  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone SE (2nd generation)

Also, keep in mind that your iPhone should run on iOS 13.6 or a later version in order to enjoy this functionality.
You can simply go to Settings → General → Software Update and update your iOS version to a later one for iOS 13.6.

ios 15 apple car key

Apple Car Key iOS 15

IOS 15 was released for the public in September 2021 and in the iOS 15 update, Apple has amplified the functionality of Apple Car Key with the assistance of Ultra Wideband Technology.  Now the Car Key users can securely unlock and start the supported vehicle. The interesting fact is that the user does not have to remove the iPhone from the pocket / bag. Also the exact spatial awareness ensures that the phone is with you when you start the car and same way you will not lock the car leaving your phone inside it.

Having a huge space means Apple has paid more attention in enhancing Apple Car Key features. So we can expect more improvements with this in the future.


To conclude, with this application now you can have your car keys anywhere, with anyone you want. There are a lot more things you need to know about the latest iOS versions and applications. Be in touch with us for the latest news about iOS gadgets, updates, and jailbreaks.

Moreover, Apple Car Key will surely be enhanced with more functionality and security in the future. So stay tuned with for more updates and hacks on Apple CarPlay to enhance your in-car life !!!