BMW will become the first carmaker to enable its customers to use iPhone as a fully digital car key. The announcement came at Apple's WWDC2020, following a history of BMW support for Apple devices: The Bavarian automaker was the first to integrate iPod in its vehicles and the first to offer wireless Apple CarPlay.
BMW Digital Key for iPhone
The BMW Digital Key for the iPhone will enable customers to unlock their cars by a single tap and to start the car 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 owner can also share access with up to 5 people (via iMessage), including a configurable car access option that restricts top speed, horse power, and maximum radio volume, etc.
The Digital Key is accessed through Apple Wallet. It is also compatible with Apple Watch.
In case the iPhone shuts off due to low battery, the power reserve for iPhone keeps the Digital Key functional for up to five hours.
BMW has been a leading contributor to the Digital Key standard. Working closely with Apple in the Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC), BMW engaged to establish the Digital Key specification 2.0 for NFC. The next generation of Digital Key using Ultra Wideband technology is under development.
The BMW Digital Key for iPhone will be available in 45 countries for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, X5, X6, X7, X5M, X6M, and Z4 models manufactured after 1 July 2020. Compatible Apple devices include iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and Apple Watch Series 5 or newer.