Home > Auto > News > Apple confirms CarKey for BMW, will allow iPhones to lock, unlock and drive cars

Apple has 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.

The iPhone-maker confirmed the news at the Apple Worldwide Developer Conference. However, leaks earlier had given enough hint of this tie-up between the tech giant and the German carmaker.

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 and Apple Watch compatibility.

BMW has announced 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.

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.

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