Car keys can be shared in Wallet by iPhone users and non-iPhone users: For the first time, users of non-Apple devices, such as the Google Pixel, can access the car keys stored in the Wallet app on an iPhone running iOS 16.1. In the future, Apple claims, this capability will be available on all devices running Android 12 and up.
Apple claims it has been helping develop an industry-wide standard for exchanging digital keys with the Internet Engineering Task Force and other organizations. Message services like WhatsApp, SMS, and email can be used to exchange keys.
In 2020, when Apple first introduced digital auto keys, owners of iPhones could send and receive keys via the company’s iMessage instant messaging service.
— TechCrunch (@TechCrunch) December 1, 2022
Key sharing, of course, is limited to vehicles that are able to use digital car keys. As opposed to providing a list of supported vehicles, Apple suggested that interested parties inquire directly with the relevant automaker or dealer. A number of BMW models for 2021 and 2022 can be opened and driven with digital vehicle keys on iPhones, Google Pixels, and Samsung Galaxy smartphones. Newly released for the 2022 model year are the Kia Niro, Genesis G90, and GV60, all-electric variants of the Genesis brand.
With the most recent version of watchOS, Apple’s digital car keys can be added to the Apple Watch (Series 5 or later, or the Apple Watch SE). It’s unclear now if Apple Watch users will have access to this cross-platform functionality.
The digital car keys are only one example of Apple’s many features that enable people to travel light. Apple Pay, which allows users to save their credit, debit, and prepaid card information on their iPhones, is a prime illustration of this trend. In addition, residents of those states where the iPhone is supported can now keep their driver’s license or state ID in Wallet, and guests of some Hyatt hotels can use their smartphones as room keys.