The Apple Watch just got a great new party trick

A game-changer for many Apple Watch wearers

Apple Watch
(Image credit: Apple)

The Apple Watch has gained some fabulous abilities over the years, including potentially saving your life. And while this latest addition will be more of a figurative lifesaver than a literal one, it’s still a very neat party trick.

With watchOS 6.2.8, Apple has introduced the digital car key feature. That means you can unlock your car with a swipe of your wrist against the lock like science fiction fantasies come true. Add Siri to the much-rumored Apple Car and at that point you’re basically Knight Rider. 

Of course, the inherent coolness of the feature is somewhat undermined by the lack of vehicles that support it. Right now, only certain BMW cars manufactured after July 1 2020 are compatible – themselves an expense that makes the Apple Watch and iPhone look like trinkets in comparison. 

Speaking of limitations, the feature is only available in Apple Watch Series 5 for now, but you can bet it’ll be in the upcoming Apple Watch 6 as well. If you don’t have an Apple Watch, your iPhone will work just as well – provided it’s running iOS 13.6. You can also start the engine by placing the iPhone on a charging pad.

It’s undeniably a handy feature, especially if you’re in the habit of forgetting your keys. For me, though, I wouldn’t feel comfortable abandoning my keyring altogether. Say what you want about car keys, but they aren’t made useless by a sharp drop onto a concrete floor, nor do they need charging. Apple has thought about the latter point, mind: the official support site explains that your iPhone will still work as a key for up to five hours after it runs out of battery.

Still, it would be pretty surprising if Apple didn’t showcase the feature whenever it's able to show off the new Apple Watch and iPhone 12. While we’d previously heard the traditional September event had been pushed back to November thanks to coronavirus, it looks like we may be seeing something in two months’ time after all