Digital car key support for the Galaxy S21+ and S21 Ultra is finally coming
There’s a good chance your smartphone has already replaced your wallet — I rarely pull out my debit card when making a purchase anymore — and it’s coming for your car keys next. In January, Samsung announced its “digital key” feature alongside the Galaxy S21 for any UWB-equipped smartphone, but we haven’t heard much about it since. With October’s security update now arriving, the company has finally returned with some integration.
As spotted by TizenHelp, the latest security patch for the Galaxy S21 series brings digital key support to the S21+ and S21 Ultra. Once updated, users can add a support key to Samsung Pass, although we’ll have to keep waiting to find out what makes and models are currently active. In January, Audi, BMW, Ford, and Genesis were all among the companies initially said to be compatible, but specific models haven’t been detailed yet. Digital keys use a combination of NFC and UWB to unlock cars and even start the engine.
Samsung had promised car keys would come to the S21 in August — following house keys in July — though neither service shipped on time. As far as I’m aware, car keys have beat house keys to the S21, presumably because there are many more drivers than smart lock owners in the world today. Meanwhile, in May, Google announced digital key support built into Android 12, with plans to bring it to Pixels and Samsung phones this fall. Samsung Pass should be a part of the company’s plans for this feature moving forward.
Although the October patch is coming to international phones beginning today, this particular feature is limited to South Korea for now, with firmware ending in “AUIG” rather than “AUIE.” Digital key should come to markets in Europe in the United States soon.