Today Apple finally announced the iPhone digital key at its worldwide developer conference and its first partner is BMW. The key works just how you’d expect, by replacing the need for a physical key in locking/unlocking and starting your car. But perhaps the killer feature isn’t your own phone/key, but the ability share that function with smart parameters.
Built into the software is the ability for the car owner to share access with up to 5 people including a configurable car access option which restricts top speed, power, maximum radio volume and more.
Rumors have been around for the last two years that this was coming, and while it’s great see, one question remains. How can I get it? The answer is rather simple. If you own a BMW manufactured before July 1st 2020 it won’t work. Anything beyond that will work. What we don’t know is if this functionality will be available via software update for cars with that capability. We’d guess it will, but BMW is holding that news close to the chest at this point.
At today’s Apple Worldwide Developer Conference it was announced that BMW will become the first carmaker to enable its customers to use iPhone as a fully digital car key. BMW was the first to integrate iPod in their vehicles, first to offer wireless CarPlay and now first to introduce support for BMW Digital Key stored securely in Apple Wallet for iPhone.
BMW Digital Key for the iPhone.
The upcoming BMW Digital Key for the iPhone will enable customers to just tap to unlock and easily get going by placing the iPhone in the smartphone tray and pushing the start button. Setup of the Digital Key can be done through the BMW Smartphone App. The car owner can also share access with up to 5 friends including a configurable car access option for young drivers which restricts top speed, horse power, maximum radio volume and more. Management of access can be done from inside the car as well as through Apple Wallet.
Additional features of the new Digital Key include:
- Storage in the Secure Element of your iPhone and access through Apple Wallet
- Power reserve for iPhone where car keys will still function for up to five hours if the iPhone turns off due to low battery
- Ability to share access with up to 5 friends via iMessage
- Apple Watch compatibility
BMW is a leading contributors to the Digital Key standard.
The BMW Group was quick to recognise the potential of smartphones as digital keys – if done right. Standardizing the Digital Key contributes to user experience, security and availability in smartphone models all of which were key to the BMW Group strategy for the Digital Key right from the start. Apple and BMW have been working closely with the Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC) to press ahead with the establishment of global standards. The Digital Key specification 2.0 for NFC has been released in May 2020 while the next generation of Digital Key using Ultra Wideband technology is already well underway.
Broad availability for BMW models and iPhones.
BMW is excited to announce the availability of Digital Key for iPhone in 45 countries for a broad range of models: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, X5, X6, X7, X5M, X6M and Z4 if manufactured after July 1st 2020. Compatible iPhone models will be iPhone XR, iPhone XS or newer and Apple Watch Series 5 or newer.
For more information please visit www.bmw.com/digitalkey
Also announced: smart routes for BMW electric vehicles in Apple Maps.
At today’s Apple Worldwide Developer Conference, BMW and Apple also announced a new feature that will make it easier than ever for CarPlay users to take BMW electric vehicles on longer journeys by automatically taking into account when and where to charge. Drivers can plan their trip in advance on their iPhone or simply enter their destination through Apple CarPlay when they get into the car; either way, Apple Maps will pick the optimal route based on electric range and the locations of charging stations along the way. This seamless, simple feature will first be available for BMW in the fully electric BMW i4 launching next year.