When Apple announced you could unlock your car with an iPhone or Apple Watch, it was welcomed as one of the neatest things the company had devised. Sure, it was limited to just a few cars, required an iPhone XS or more recent or an Apple Watch Series 5 or later, but it was undeniably cool.
Now, as noted by MacRumors, Apple has announced that you can share your Apple Car Key with others, even if they don’t have an iPhone. First off, that means compatibility with one phone only: the Google Pixel, though there are several different models in the range, so that’s something, though to work, the phone needs to run Android 12 or later.
Inside the Wallet app on the iPhone, there’s a facility to share your key by sending it to other users. You pick a contact and choose whether you want to require an activation code or not. You can then share the key by sending a Message, WhatsApp or email and the other person can now unlock and start the car with their Pixel phone.
Of course, you may not want this person to have access on a permanent basis, but thankfully it’s easy to end the sharing, just by opening the Wallet app, tapping the Car Key and the People button. Once you’ve tapped Stop Sharing, they can no longer access the car through their phone.
This is quite a big deal: Apple has worked with the Internet Engineering Task Force to set up an industry standard for sharing keys like this. After all, it needs to be simple to use while at the same time being completely secure—a tricky balancing act.
Google has said it will expand the compatibility of this feature to other phones beyond the Pixel.
Some Car Keys go further, with the capability to turn the heating or air con on or off remotely, and it’s likely the digital car key will get even more features in the future.
For now, though, an exceptionally cool feature has just become more widely accessible.