Use your iPhone to store your keys in the cloud

Summary:KeyMe allows users to store, share, and duplicate their physical keys using a digital scan that is securely stored in the cloud.

KeyMe: Use your iPhone's camera to store your keys in the cloud - Jason O'Grady

There's few things worse that losing your keys or getting locked out of a building. A New York City startup aims to solve this problem with a digital photo of your keys stored in the cloud. 

Enter KeyMe, an ingenious service and iOS app (free, App Store*) that allows you to take photos of your keys using your iPhone's camera and store them securely in the cloud. Once your "keys" are stored with KeyMe, you can make copies any time. 

(*The service is exclusive to iOS at present but Android and Windows Phone users interested in the service can joing the KeyMe email list.)

It's the cloud part that makes KeyMe shine. When your keys are in the cloud you can easily send a secure digital copy to a relative or friend that's coming to take care of your pets (or plants). Same goes with rental properties. 

There are three ways to get keys from the service:

  1. Show the picture of your key (and the accompanying KeyMe instructions) to a locksmith who can easily reproduce the key for a nominal fee — instead of the exorbitant $150 to $200 fee usually associated with a lockout. Accessing the key data to enable a locksmith to cut your key costs $9.99 as an in-app purchase.
  2. Make a key at a KeyMe kiosk (the company currently has five in NYC). Creating a spare from the cloud costs $19.99, to copy a physical key prices vary from $3.49 to $5.99.
  3. Mail order a key directly from KeyMe. Prices vary from $3.99 to $6.99, depending on the key type and shipping is free. If you order by 1 PM ET on a weekday, they’ll ship it out the same day via United States Postal Service, to arrive in 2-5 days.

Obviously security is a concern, the last thing you need is a copy of your keys floating around the Internet. Luckily KeyMe takes security very seriously. For example, it stores as little information as possible. The company doesn't store information that could link your key with a specific location or lock.

And it's not trivial to scan someone else's keys (a.k.a. a "flyby.") Both sides of a key need to be photographed off the ring and against a white sheet of paper. The company also requires two-step verification to register via the app and uses secure credit card confirmation. It also sends email notifications with every key transaction that occurs. 

Key storage is completely free and there is no limit to the number of keys that you can save and store. If you get locked out, creating a spare key from the cloud costs $19.99. To copy a physical key prices vary from $2.99 to $5.99, depending on the design.

All it really needs is 3D printer support to be complete. KeyMe isn't compatible with car keys but claims to work with most home and office keys. More details can be found in the KeyMe FAQ.

Topics: Apple, iOS, iPad, iPhone

About

Jason D. O'Grady developed an affinity for Apple computers after using the original Lisa, and this affinity turned into a bona-fide obsession when he got the original 128 KB Macintosh in 1984. He started writing one of the first Web sites about Apple (O'Grady's PowerPage) in 1995 and is considered to be one of the fathers of blogging.... Full Bio

zdnet_core.socialButton.googleLabel Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.