BMW has confirmed it will become the first automaker to enable its customers to use an Apple iPhone as a fully digital car key.
While Apple calls the system “CarKey”, the Munich-based firm has dubbed it “BMW Digital Key”. The key is stored “securely” in Apple Wallet for iPhone.
BMW says the digital key 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”.
The digital key is set up using the BMW Smartphone App, which then allows the owner to share access with up to five individuals (including a configurable car access option for “young drivers”, which restricts top speed, peak power, maximum radio volume and more).
So, what happens if your iPhone battery dies? Well, BMW says the system includes a “power reserve” that allows the key to continue functioning “for up to five hours” if the iPhone turns off due to a low battery.
BMW says the digital key will be available in 45 countries for a broad range of models (seemingly all model lines expect the 7 Series, X1, X2, X3, X4 and i3) manufactured from 1 July 2020. Compatible iPhone models will be the XR, XS or newer and Apple Watch Series 5 or newer.