Apple wants your iPhone to unlock all sorts of doors. Their car keys feature already lets you use your iPhone to unlock some supported cars, and if you have a HomeKit door lock, you can use your iPhone and Apple Watch to unlock your home as well. And now, Apple is starting to globally roll out its support for hotel room keys.
It’s starting with a collaboration with Hyatt in six locations (Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort, Hyatt Centric Key West Resort & Spa, Hyatt House Chicago/West Loop-Fulton Market, Hyatt House Dallas/Richardson, Hyatt Place Fremont/Silicon Valley, and Hyatt Regency Long Beach), but it will soon add more hotels across the globe (according to TechCrunch, Apple won’t provide any details for hotels that will be coming on board).
The digital key serves a couple of purposes. It’s one less thing to carry around, plus, as you’re automatically checked in, you don’t need to wait in the lobby to check into your hotel room.
How to set up hotel keys in your iPhone’s Wallet app
This feature currently works using the World of Hyatt mobile app. After you book your tickets, you’ll get an option to add the booking to the Apple Wallet app, just like you do with movie tickets.
You can add keys to the Wallet immediately after booking, but they won’t be activated until your check-in time. Once the booking is added, you’ll be able to see all the reservation details in the Wallet app (like the property name, check-in date, check-out date, and more). To find out more details about the booking (like the reservation number), tap the three-dotted Menu button in the top-right corner.
Once the check-in time arrives and the room is ready, you’ll receive a notification and can check in right on your iPhone. After that, the room key will be enabled, and you can head straight to your room. All that’s left to do is wave your iPhone near the sensor, as the digital keys feature uses NFC to unlock the door.
This Hyatt venture isn’t the first time you can unlock a hotel room with your iPhone; other hotels let you use their app as a digital key, or even add the key to your wallet.
The difference is this feature uses Express Transit, the same feature that lets you tap your iPhone to enter public transit. That means no need to use Face ID or Touch ID to authenticate every time you want to open the hotel room door.
While that’s obviously convenient, it does bring up some questions about security. The biggest question being: What happens if someone steals your iPhone? As Apple has just rolled out this feature, we don’t know enough, but we’ll find out more as people start using it. We hope Apple has thought about the privacy aspect here.
One major downside? It’s locked to a single iPhone, and a single Hyatt account holder (one that’s currently logged in). You can’t share the key with a friend or family member. Once you check out, the key card will be archived automatically from the Wallet app.
The Digital Keys feature is available on iPhones running iOS 15 and Apple Watches running watchOS 8 and higher.