While iOS 18 can automatically unlock HomeKit-capable smart locks, you'll need to buy a new one to enjoy the cool new feature

Level lock plus and iPhone
(Image credit: Level)

When Apple announced iOS 18 at the WWDC event on June 10 it confirmed a slew of new features. While Apple Intelligence understandably took most of the headlines, there's one new feature that could be a big quality-of-life improvement for smart lock owners.

The new feature in question is the ability for an iOS 18 iPhone to automatically unlock a smart lock just by being close to it, allowing owners to walk to their door and open it without ever taking their iPhone out of their pocket. That's a solid upgrade, but there's a catch.

While many people might already have a HomeKit smart lock installed, they'll have to buy a new one if they want to take advantage of this feature — no current model has the ultra wideband chip required to make it work.

Security on lock

Multiple smart lock companies confirmed the news to The Verge including Aqara, U-tec, Yale, August, Level, Lockly, and SwitchBot.

"Almost universally, the manufacturers I talked to said they were exploring potentially incorporating the tech, but only U-tec said it had a UWB lock in development," The Verge's Jennifer Pattison Tuohy reports. U-tek apparently said that its next-gen Ultraloq smart lock will support UWB when it arrives towards the end of this year.

As for iOS 18, that's also set to ship to the public later this year. A mid-September launch is expected, right around the same time that Apple announces the iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Pro.

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Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.