Apple has released iOS 13.6 and watchOS 6.2.8 to the public. Besides the typical stability and performance improvements, these releases bring a hotly anticipated feature that turns your iPhone or Watch into a digital key for your car.
The feature allows users to unlock their car and start it by pressing either the iPhone or Apple Watch near a specific location on the car, such as the door handle.
The feature also allows users to give temporary car keys to friends and family using iMessage. Driver-specific profiles are also available, meaning each shared key can be configured differently. Finally, the feature should work up to five hours after your iPhone runs out of battery. Check out a detailed description of this new feature over at Apple’s website.
The Car Key feature is currently only available to owners of new BMWs (manufactured after July 2020), and Apple didn’t say when other carmakers will join the party. On Apple’s side, only the Apple Watch Series 5 and iPhone 11/XR/XS/SE will work.
Another new feature is the addition of audio stories to Apple News and Apple News+.
Apple has hired professional voice actors to produce roughly 20 audio stories per week, including audio versions of pieces by Esquire, Essence, Fast Company, GQ, New York Magazine, Sports Illustrated, TIME, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and Wired on the magazine side, as well as by newspapers such as the Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal.
The feature is available to U.S. Apple News+ subscribers.
On Apple News, the company is producing a daily audio news briefing called Apple News Today. It will be free to everyone and released in the mornings, Monday through Friday, both on the U.S. News app and on Apple Podcasts.
Finally, the Apple News app is now supported in Apple CarPlay, which makes these audio stories available for listening in your car.