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Sharing Comes to Android's Digital Car Key Feature

One of the main advantages of using a phone as your car key is coming soon to certain Android devices.

Android Digital Car Key announcement at Google i/o 2021
Last year, Android launched Digital Car Key compatibility starting with the BMW i4. 

Google launched its Digital Car Key feature on select Android 12 phones last year, allowing owners to automatically unlock and start supported vehicles with the phone in their pocket -- no key fob required. On Thursday, Google announced that key sharing with friends and family members is being added to the automotive authentication technology.

Imagine being able to lend your SUV's keys to a family member for an afternoon Costco run without figuring out the logistics of getting a physical fob to them, and then revoke access with the touch of a button at the end of the day. The ability to instantly share (and revoke) access to a car is one of the biggest advantages promised by phone-as-key technology.


According to a post full of new Android updates on Google's blog, select devices running Android 12 and newer will be able to share Digital Car Key access with friends and family members. Keys can be shared to both compatible with Pixel and iPhone devices. Owners will be able to manage multiple Digital Car Keys and assign, view and change which users have access to the vehicle in the digital wallet app on their device.

"Soon" is a particularly nebulous launch window when it comes to Google and Android rollouts -- I'm still waiting on that big Android Auto split-screen redesign to come out of beta -- but current Android Digital Car Key users should keep their eyes peeled for an update in the near future.