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BMW announces Digital Key for iPhone

At the Apple Worldwide Developer Conference, held on the 22nd June 2020, it was announced that BMW will become the first carmaker to enable its customers to use their iPhone as a fully digital car key.

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. Standardising 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.

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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