In cooperation with Apple, BMW is the first carmaker in the world to offer customers a digital car key on their iPhone. Apple announced this feature during its first online Worldwide Developers Conference as part of the upcoming iOS 14 update.
BMW cars manufactured after July 2020 will include this feature. The first car that supports this will be the new 2021 BMW 5 Series.
How does it work?
Using the iPhone’s NFC, one can just tap on the car door’s handle with the iPhone to unlock the car and then place it in the smartphone tray and start the engine to get going.
Face ID, TouchID or a passcode is required to unlock and start the BMW. You can skip biometric authentication in the Express Mode. The Setup can be configured using BMW’s Smartphone App.
The iPhone can function as your digital key even if the phone battery dies for up to five hours. Although, if you turn off your phone manually, the digital key will only work when you turn the device back on.
You can also share the key with other people by sending them an invitation from your smartphone and add them as a user. This permission can be revoked at any time. It also gives an option to modify the access that you grant others, which restricts speed, horsepower, audio volume and more. This is useful if you have a young child.
With anything that is digital, data privacy and protection are always a concern. The key is saved on a high-security chip and the near-field communication technology guarantees the highest level of data protection. Furthermore, your car and phone information are not shared with Apple or BMW.
Apple is in the process of making it work with more cars next year.