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Apple and Google go into digital car keys

Illustration for the article titled Apple and Google Go All In On Digital Car Keys

Screenshot: apple

Apple today announced extended support for digital car keys in iOS 15 during its WWDC basic. Combined with Google’s recent Android announcements at its own developer conference, it is clear that the major transition to digital car keys will begin in earnest later this fall.

While Apple first announced support for digital car keys last year, today the company expanded its efforts with new updates coming to Wallet in iOS 15 which allows iPhones to connect to nearby cars via UWB. Addition of support for UWB mirrors a similar announcement Google made under Google I / O regarding support for digital car keys via UWB or NFC, depending on the specific car model in Android 12.

Currently, NFC and UWB are planned to be the two most important methods for implementing digital car keys, both of which have their advantages and disadvantages. NFC usually has a much shorter range than UWB, which means you often have to be right next to your car, or even tap the phone at a specific spot on your car to unlock the door or start the car. But because NFC is already built into all but the cheapest budget phones, that is still a relatively easy way to transfer from traditional physical keys to beginner digital car keys.

On the flip side side, UWB has a potential range of more than 100 feet, which means users can be able to start the car or turn on the heat / AC remotely from inside the home, just as long as they has a relatively clear line of sight to the vehicle vehicle. The downside is that because UWB is still relatively new technology, it’s only available on a handful of devices right now, which means you may need to upgrade to a new phone to get UWB support.

Here's how Google's digital car key interface is expected to look in Android 12, with Apple visible in the image above.

Here’s how Google’s digital car key interface is expected to look in Android 12, with Apple visible in the image above.
Picture: Google

Among Android phones, the two most important devices that support the UWB Galaxy S21 + and Galaxy S21 Ultra, but not standard S21Samsung says support for UWB was not included to keep the price down. And in the future, it looks like Google is ready to add UWB support to the Pixel 6. In the meantime, Apple began adding UWB for iPhone support from iPhone 11 for iPhones. TAlthough Apple is currently at the forefront of UWB support, anyone still using an iPhone XS or older is lucky.

Apart from Tesla, the carmaker currently leading the charge for digital car keys is BMW, which has already partnered with Apple, Google and Samsung to support the initiative in selected BMW models, although other manufacturers like it Hyundai and recently, Ford has also worked to support digital car keys.

The arrival of digital car keys has the potential to make life much easier. However, it also presents a few issues, the most worrying is that just losing your phone can be a real disaster. This is because in addition to losing your primary method of making or sending messages to people, the rise of digital car keys and smart locks means that if you do not have access to your phone, you may not have access to your home or vehicle. Also, something that can get you really stranded in an emergency.

For some, that opportunity may be enough to make them Think twice about digital car keys, and although many manufacturers still provide a physical key or card key as a backup, it will be interesting to see how quickly audiences embrace digital car keys when they become more supported this fall.

But anyway, between existing carmakers like Tesla and wider support coming soon in iOS 15 and Android 12, it seems that both tech giants and carmakers are finally ready to bring car keys into the 21st century.

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