Apple launches new ‘Car Key Tests’ app for iPhone as adoption lags

Apple’s Car Key feature was originally announced in July 2020 as a way to unlock your car using the Wallet app on your iPhone. The feature, however, has been limited in availability and only recently expanded beyond certain BMW cars.

In what could be a sign of the company ramping up the speed of Car Key adoption, Apple has launched a new “Car Keys Tests” app on the App Store this week.

Apple’s new Car Key app

The new Car Key Tests app was added to the App Store today, according to 9to5Mac‘s sources. The app is being distributed under Apple’s developer account but is currently unlisted. This means you can only access it via a direct link, not via App Store search or Apple’s account page.

The app is meant for car manufacturers to test integration with Apple’s Car Key feature. Apple says that the app allows those companies to “test and validate” requirements for the certification process of adopting Car Key through its Made-For-iPhone program.

Here’s what Apple says about the Car Key Tests app:

For use by MFi Licensees only. Use the Car Keys Tests app to test and validate connection, performance, and other key requirements for the certification process of the vehicles you develop that incorporate Apple digital car keys technology. For more information about Car Keys certification, visit the MFi Portal at mfi.apple.com.

It’s likely that Apple was privately distributing this app directly to Car Key partners in the past. Adding the app to the App Store simplifies that process and makes it easy for the app to be distributed to testing partners.

9to5Mac’s Take

Ideally, this means that Apple is looking to ramp up the adoption of Car Key and expand the feature to new cars and other manufacturers. The feature is currently limited to certain BMW, Hyundai, and Kia cars.

Car Key has the potential to be one of the most game-changing features for the Wallet app. It works via NFC and can not only be used to unlock your car, but also start the car, share car keys with other people, and more.

I’m hopeful that this Car Key Tests app means we’re about to see a big expansion of availability. Whether or not that ultimately comes to fruition remains to be seen. Have you ever used Car Key? What was your impression of it? Let us know in the comments below.

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