Rivian developing ‘Apple Watch as a key’ feature, native Apple Music integration

Home » Rivian developing ‘Apple Watch as a key’ feature, native Apple Music integration
Rivian developing 'Apple Watch as a key' feature, native Apple Music integration


While Rivian isn’t working on CarPlay support, the EV maker is planning a few other features that Apple fans will appreciate. In a recent Q&A session this week, Rivian’s head of software development, Wassym Bensaid, revealed that the company is actively testing support for allowing Apple Watch to serve as a key for R1T and R1S vehicles.

Rivian talks Apple Watch integration, Apple Music, and more

According to a user on the Rivian Forums, Bensaid said during the Q&A session that support for “Apple Watch as a key is being actively looked into/tested” and is on the company’s “roadmap” for a future software update.

No further details on this feature or timeline were shared. Apple offers its own Car Key feature, but it’s unclear if Rivian would adopt this or develop its own custom solution.

Also during the event, Bensaid elaborated more on Rivian’s decision not to support CarPlay. This follows a recent interview with Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe, in which he explained that RIvian’s decision not to use CarPlay is driven by its desire to be the “arbiter or head chef” of the in-car software experience.

Bensaid added to this explanation by saying Rivian is working to natively integrate some of the features that CarPlay would offer, including improved support for notifications and text messages. The company is also working to improve its own voice assistant, which Bensaid acknowledges is “not the best.”

We know that text messaging is really one of the important features and one of the reasons of why customers are missing CarPlay, we’re working on that. I think those of you who already have an R1T on an R1S, you know that our voice assistant today is not the best. I’m being super transparent with you. So we’re working also on a number of changes and updates there.

So we’re taking it step by step. First, improve the voice assistant experience as a whole. And then after that, we will integrate the messaging experience.

Finally, Bensaid confirmed that the company is working on integrating new audio and video streaming services with its own infotainment system. This would include things like Apple Music and Netflix, though Bensaid stopped short of saying too much on the subject because “it’s companies who have very big confidentiality requirements.”

Rivian also shared a video on YouTube with parts of the Q&A session, though it doesn’t seem to include the entire event. You can check that out below.

9to5Mac’s Take

If Rivian is going to continue resisting CarPlay support, then these are the types of features it needs to integrate to keep Apple fans happy. “Apple Watch as a key” is something that would be especially compelling. It would give Rivian a leg up on other companies like Tesla, which currently doesn’t natively support using Apple Watch as a car key.

Hopefully, Rivian is able to make good on these promises. Apple Music support is one of the most commonly-requested features, and that is something already offered by Tesla.

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