Apple's Digital Car Key Coming to Broad Array of BMW Models Manufactured After July 1, Requires iOS 13.6

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During its WWDC keynote today, Apple officially announced its digital car key technology, which will let users lock, unlock, and start cars using just their iPhone or Apple Watch. BMW was announced as Apple's lead partner on the initiative, and the German automaker shared additional information on the partnership in a press release today.


BMW says that its Digital Key for iPhone will have "broad availability" across over a dozen models and dozens of countries, although it appears it will only be available in newly manufactured cars starting July 1.
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.
In the press release and associated guide, BMW highlights several of the features of the initiative including tap-to-unlock, starting the car by placing your iPhone in the smartphone tray, key sharing with up to five other users, access limits for young drivers such as restrictions on speed and radio volume, and more.


While Apple promoted the digital car key as an iOS 14 feature, it did say that it will also be available for iOS 13 users, and BMW confirms that it will require iOS 13.6, which is currently in beta testing. Apple Watch users with watchOS 6.2.8 will also be able to use the feature.

The iPhone digital car key uses the same mode as the existing Express Transit feature, so your iPhone doesn't need to be unlocked to allow access to the car or to start it, although this can be disabled to require Face ID, Touch ID, or a passcode. With Power Reserve, the digital key will continue to function for up to five hours after your iPhone shuts down due to low battery.

Article Link: Apple's Digital Car Key Coming to Broad Array of BMW Models Manufactured After July 1, Requires iOS 13.6
 
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Jmausmuc

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Oct 13, 2014
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Of course only for new cars.
i feel very appreciated as an owner of a almost brand new 2020 3 series.

good thing I’m moving from an apartment to a house next year. Tesla im coming.
 
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likegadgets

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I have a 2019 BMW that has a digital key that works with Android and came with a Wallet NFC key. I wonder what in the hardware may be missing that Android can handle but not the newly announced car key.
 
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Ad13

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It’s not software, it’s hardware. They can’t retro fit this stuff. Shouldn’t have cheaped out on a 3 series and got a 5???
 

Ad13

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I wouldn’t hold your breath. Mini is the BMW budget brand. Why would they want to implement mini before their core brand. Look at CarPlay, only just implemented on some models.
 
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Waughy

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Jun 20, 2012
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What about Mini?
I'd like to know too. Although, even though our 2016 model uses a remote key, I have no doubt it won't be supported, even if it's possible. Even if my phone can be used and i still have to use the start button, I'd be happy. The key is pretty chunky.
 

hovscorpion12

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So is Tesla capable of supporting this via software update (regardless of whether they intend to or not)?
The Model 3, Model Y have this ability. Those who own the Model X & S do not. Elon has responded to customer feature requests. If you are able to catch him on a good day, he could respond.
 
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0014

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It’s not software, it’s hardware. They can’t retro fit this stuff. Shouldn’t have cheaped out on a 3 series and got a 5???
I'd imagine if the car can handle unlocking with Android this will work (when BMW allow it to). It will probably require the latest software update to the iDrive though to enable the required security features that apple want.
 

Airforcekid

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Sep 29, 2008
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I always buy cars 2nd hand after the initial depreciation. I don’t have a disposable income, so I’ll have to wait.
Its the only way I buy too Acura BMW Lexus all take a good hit 50% sometimes after a year or two. I just purchased my current car for $16K last week with an almost zero interest rate when 3 years ago it stickered over $50K.
 

Airforcekid

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It’s not software, it’s hardware. They can’t retro fit this stuff. Shouldn’t have cheaped out on a 3 series and got a 5???
I bet their will be some good aftermarket solutions. I have essentially the same thing now with a rasberry pi and a carlock OBD2 plug in. https://www.carlock.co/ basically I use this to unlock the car via the Tag and from the app I can send a signal to trigger the remote start in my car. It took some work in forscan etc to get around some of the cars security but if I can figure it out im sure engineers at automakers and the pro tuners can as well once they see a market.
 

Scotes

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Jun 22, 2020
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So just to add to the previous comments... I've got a 2020 M340i picked up in 2019 that has all the bits including an NFC key card that I can keep in my wallet to use. What could possibly be the missing hardware for the phone to take the place of that NFC card?? Perhas we'll have to wait and see if their date is in reference to -all- of their cars including it and if you have a car with the proximity sensors already there it'll work. I guess we'll have to wait and see.
 

tigres

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I have owned several models of BMW over the years. Thinking of just keeping my E46 M3, and selling my X5. I don't drive as much now due to Covid and travel restrictions. As far as this digital key, well my first thought is who cares, that's what that 500 FOB is for, and 2, of course it does not support it before July 1 of 2020 because that is how BMW rolls, or all car companies other than Tesla.
 
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farewelwilliams

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Jun 18, 2014
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The Model 3, Model Y have this ability. Those who own the Model X & S do not. Elon has responded to customer feature requests. If you are able to catch him on a good day, he could respond.
i know they have an NFC sensor, but do those sensors work with CarKey?
 

likegadgets

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It’s not software, it’s hardware. They can’t retro fit this stuff. Shouldn’t have cheaped out on a 3 series and got a 5???
I do have a 2019 BMW (8 series) model that has some kind of hardware for the key functions including starting the car. It has virtual keys that work with Android and also has a keycard that can do the functions. I wonder what is different on the Apple hardware implementation that they cannot adapt to this model that has the hardware - just not an Apple solution.
 

hovscorpion12

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i know they have an NFC sensor, but do those sensors work with CarKey?
I have no idea. We would have to either ask Elon or Apple or test out Carkey. Elon did tweet back in 2018 after the Model 3 launch that we would the same ability, but nothing. Hoping someone one Twitter asks him again and adds it to official Tesla App. It might have to do with the MCU 2, but now that retrofits are available, I don't see why not.
- - Post merged: - -

Is this app a paid subscription plan? If so, it's a hard no.
No, unless it requires the OEM manufacturers app to work. ie, BMW carkey only works with BMW app installed.
 

macduke

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Pretty neat. I like the ability to keep my kid from flooring it. At least that's what it sounds like from the presentation with "profiles." Not that I have a kid anywhere near driving age. Maybe in 10 years this will be useful and have even more functionality! Would be great to limit to within a certain range and send a notification if they deviate from where they said they were gonna be. Don't want to be a helicopter parent but I feel like it's reasonable for them to go where they are supposed to be going and let me know if plans change, especially when they're first driving. They can get more freedom over time until 18 if they have proven trustworthy. But honestly I think most cars will be self-driving by 2030 so who knows if this will even matter by then.
 
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