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How to use your car key on your iPhone or Apple Watch

On Monday, we looked at how to add your car key to the Wallet app, and use your iPhone or Apple Watch. Today let’s look at how to use it.

You can use your car key to lock or unlock your car, start your car, and more. This feature might work differently depending on the model of your car.

When you add your car key to the Wallet app, Express Mode might be turned on automatically. Express Mode allows you to use your car key without waking or unlocking your device, or authenticating with Face ID, Touch ID, or a passcode.

Lock, unlock, and start your car with passive entry

With some cars, you can use passive entry to lock, unlock, or start your car. All you need to do is have your device with you.

  • When you approach your car with your device, it unlocks. 
  • Once inside, you can start your car.
  • When you walk away from your car with your device, it locks.

You receive notifications on your device when your car locks or unlocks.

If you don’t have Express Mode turned on, enter your passcode to confirm and your car will lock, unlock, or start.

Lock, unlock, and start your car by proximity

With some cars, you lock, unlock, and start the car by holding your device close to the door handle or key reader.

  • To lock or unlock you car, hold your device near the car’s door handle.
  • To start your car, place your iPhone in the car’s key reader or hold your Apple Watch near the reader. Then, press the car’s start button.

Lock, unlock, and start your car remotely

With some cars, you can use your device to remote lock, unlock, and start your car, and use other features.

  1. On your device, open the Wallet app.
  2. Tap your car key.
  3. Depending on your car, you’ll see different options, such as lock, unlock, or start.

When you use your key remotely, you receive a notification.

(This how-to is based on my experiences and info on Apple’s support pages.)

the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.
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