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iPhone, Apple Watch may function as car keys after iOS 13.4 update

iPhone and Apple Watch owners may soon be able to use the devices as car keys, according to evidence found in the first beta version of iOS 13.4.

The code for iOS 13.4 contains references to a CarKey API, according to 9to5Mac. The feature will allow people to use their iPhone and Apple Watch to unlock and lock the doors of NFC-compatible cars, as well as start them up. This will work even if the devices have run out of battery, and even if there is no network available.

The pairing process for the feature will be carried out through Apple’s Wallet app, after which the car manufacturer’s app will continue the set-up. After placing the iPhone near the car’s NFC reader, the CarKey will appear in the Wallet app, after which the key may be added to a paired Apple Watch.

The CarKey feature will also make it easy for the car’s owner to share the key to other people, as they may be invited through the Wallet app to access the key for the car through their own iPhones and Apple Watches.

The technology is not new, as some cars already available in the market already offer the option of unlocking and starting them from their owner’s phone. However, the set-up process may be confusing, and the system is fragmented because the car manufacturers have to build them on their own. With Apple’s CarKey, it will be a system by a company that has developed numerous tech services that may be applicable to several car brands and models at once.

Apple appears to already be in talks with certain automobile manufacturers for the implementation of CarKey, but the specific details of the feature will likely not be available until iOS 13.4 draws closer to its release. However, there is the possibility that CarKey will not be available immediately at the launch of iOS 13.4, with its launch pushed back to later versions of Apple’s mobile operating system.

In iOS 13.3, one of the major additions was parental controls that monitor and limit children’s phone calls, FaceTime calls, and text messages, while also tracking their contact list, through the operating system’s Screen Time feature.

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