Apple car key function expected to expand: Is your vehicle on the list?

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Soon more car owners will be able to unlock their vehicle using only their favorite Apple device.

The Apple car key feature, which allows certain vehicle owners to unlock and start their car using a digital car key stored within the Apple Wallet app, is expected to become available on Hyundai and Genesis vehicles this summer, according to a Bloomberg report.

Currently, the software is only available on BMW models 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, X5, X6, X7, X5M, X6M and Z4 that were produced after July 1, 2020.

The car key feature is only available on iPhone XS or later, as well as Apple Watch Series 5s or later, both of which must be equipped with their most recent software updates.

After following set-up instructions from the vehicle manufacturer to pair your smart devices with your vehicle, users can unlock and start their car with ease.

The quickest way to use the digital car key feature is with Express Mode, which allows car owners to use the digital car key without unlocking their Apple device or providing additional authentication, such as Face ID or Touch ID.

Apple car key function expected to expand: Is your vehicle on the list?

How exactly the digital car key functions varies based on the specific vehicle, according to Apple.

Some cars use “passive entry” to lock, unlock and start the vehicle. When you approach the car while carrying your device, the vehicle will automatically unlock and allow you to start the car once you enter. When you walk away from the car with your device, it will automatically lock. Users receive notifications on their device whenever the vehicle is locked or unlocked.

Other cars require users to hold their device near the vehicle’s door handle in order to lock and unlock. To start the car, users must hold their iPhone or Apple Watch next to the vehicle’s car key reader.

Finally, certain cars allow users to lock, unlock and start the vehicle remotely by simply tapping the key in their Apple Wallet app. Users receive notifications whenever their car key is used remotely.

Even if your iPhone is on the brink of dying and has entered power reserve mode, users can still use their iPhone to unlock and start their vehicles for up to five hours, so long as they have Express Mode enabled.

Users can even share their digital key with friends or family members who they would like to grant vehicle access.

And don’t worry if you’ve changed your mind about granting access to a particular person. Car key holders can revoke access to anyone they’ve previously shared their key with at any time.

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