Apple has today launched one of the few outstanding iOS 15 features first demoed at WWDC. In partnership with Hyatt Hotels, Apple users will be able to use their iPhone, or Apple Watch, as their room key in the initial rollout of six hotels.
You add your key to Wallet in much the same way as you might add a cinema ticket or DisneyWorld pass, using the hotelier’s app. As soon as you book your reservation, you can add your key to the Wallet app ready for when you arrive.
The iPhone or Apple Watch is then held up to the NFC-enabled door lock to gain access. Obviously, the Wallet key won’t actually unlock the door until your check-in time.
The room number will be visible on the digital key card. If you later need to change rooms or extend your stay, your key card can be updated over-the-air without needing to physically visit the front desk.
The first six supporting properties include 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.
Key cards in Apple Wallet support Express Mode so you don’t even need to authenticate with Face ID or Touch ID to access your key; just hold your device near the reader and that’s it. The key card will also be available if the iPhone or Apple Watch runs low on battery and enters Power Reserve mode, for up to five hours after the device is otherwise ‘out of battery’.
As you might expect, the Apple Wallet-based system is designed with privacy in mind. Apple is not told when or where a room key is used.
Although the initial launch is available at just six locations, Hyatt expects to deploy the system to all of its hotels over time.