Future of CarKey NFC Support in Doubt

The CarKey functionality, which allows you to place a digital version of your car key inside the iOS Wallet app, may undergo some changes in the future, no longer functioning with NFC. At least, that’s what internal codes from iOS 16.4 beta suggest.

Present on the iPhone since iOS 13.6 (in 2020), Car Keys on iOS allow the driver to not have to carry the physical car key with them, just having their phone nearby to be able to open and start the car.

But what magic is this? Actually, the system connects to the car in two ways: through ultra-wideband (UWB) used by the U1 chip and NFC, the same technology used for contactless payments with Apple Pay.

But soon Apple may abandon NFC support in these car keys.

The codes from the iOS 16.4 beta show new sections added to the iPhone’s operating system that say that a “car is not compatible with this iPhone/Apple Watch model” for devices that are only compatible with NFC.

This could limit functionality only to newer cars or those that are compatible with UltraWide band. Additionally, some iPhone and Apple Watch models that do not have the U1 chip would also be unable to incorporate the function.

What is Apple U1 Chip and how it enables nearby device location

But so far, only luxury cars offer the iOS key feature. So, the incompatibility with older (or cheaper, like the SE) iPhone models would not really be a problem for this type of user, right?

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