Apple launches new ‘Car Key Tester’ 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. However, the feature has been limited in availability and only recently expanded beyond certain BMW vehicles.

In what could be a sign that the company is speeding up car key adoption, Apple launched a new “Car Key Tester” 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 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 intended for automakers to test integration with Apple’s Car Key feature. Apple says the app allows these companies to “test and validate” requirements for the certification process to adopt a car key through the 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 connectivity, performance, and other key requirements for the certification process of the vehicles you develop that incorporate Apple’s digital car key technology. For more information on car key certification, visit the MFi portal at

It is likely that Apple distributed this app privately 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 test partners.

9to5Mac’s Take

Ideally, this means that Apple wants to increase the use of car key and extend the function to new cars and other manufacturers. The feature is currently limited to certain BMW, Hyundai and Kia vehicles.

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

I’m hoping this car key test step means we’re about to see a big expansion in availability. It remains to be seen whether it will eventually be realized. Have you ever used a car key? What was your impression of it? Let us know in the comments below.

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