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Apr 12, 2001
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The Car Connectivity Consortium today announced that its Digital Key 3.0 specification with support for Ultra Wideband and Bluetooth LE connectivity will be made available to members like Apple by the middle of 2021.

bmw-car-key-photo.jpg

At WWDC 2020, Apple introduced a new NFC-based digital Car Key feature that allows users to unlock and start their vehicle by holding a compatible iPhone or Apple Watch near the driver-side door. Similar to credit cards and boarding passes, digital car keys are stored in the Wallet app on devices running iOS 13.6 and watchOS 6.2.8 or later. So far, the feature is only compatible with select BMW models manufactured after July 1, 2020.

With support for Ultra Wideband, Digital Key 3.0 will enable hands-free, location-aware keyless access to vehicles and other location-aware features for an improved user experience. The specification will allow Apple to improve its Car Key feature so that users can unlock and start a compatible vehicle without taking their iPhone out of their pocket. NFC will continue to be supported as a "mandatory back-up solution."

The improved Ultra Wideband version of Apple's Car Key feature would require devices with the U1 chip like iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 models.

BMW previously announced plans to offer Digital Key Plus, an enhanced version of Apple's Car Key feature, in its new iX electric vehicle. BMW said the feature would be available in Europe starting in late 2021 and in North America by early 2022.

In addition to providing a hands-free, location-aware experience, BMW said Ultra Wideband's precision would ensure that relay attacks, where the radio signal is jammed or intercepted, are not possible, resulting in improved security.

"Digital Key Release 3.0 addresses security and usability by authenticating the Digital Key between a vehicle and the mobile device over Bluetooth Low Energy and then establishing a secure ranging session with UWB, which allows the vehicle to perform secure and accurate distance measurement to localize the mobile device," said the Car Connectivity Consortium.

Apple previously said the new version of its Car Key feature with Ultra Wideband support would be available in 2021, but an exact timeframe is unknown. Apple will be hosting a virtual event today at 10 a.m. Pacific Time.

Article Link: Apple's Digital Car Key Feature Set to Gain U1 Ultra Wideband Support With Mid-2021 Spec Update
 

Johnny907

macrumors 65816
Sep 20, 2014
1,428
2,390
Let’s hope it’s more secure than the actual key fobs car makers are using these days.
Case in point: my sister’s week old Audi SQ8 was stolen while she was in the grocery store for 20 minutes last month. You’d think a car that new and that expensive would have unbreakable wireless encryption, but apparently you’d be wrong. Video shows a dude walking up after she leaves, waves something in front of the door for a couple seconds until it unlocks, gets in and 30 seconds later drives off.
 

Razorpit

macrumors 6502
Feb 2, 2021
312
496
I like the idea of this technology, but having to take my phone out of my pocket or holding my watch to the door seems like a step backwards from just grabbing the door handle and having the fob do the work now.

Having had various phone crashes, low battery, etc. I’m not going anywhere anytime soon and leaving the tried and true fob method we have now.
 

Razorpit

macrumors 6502
Feb 2, 2021
312
496
Let’s hope it’s more secure than the actual key fobs car makers are using these days.
Case in point: my sister’s week old Audi SQ8 was stolen while she was in the grocery store for 20 minutes last month. You’d think a car that new and that expensive would have unbreakable wireless encryption, but apparently you’d be wrong. Video shows a dude walking up after she leaves, waves something in front of the door for a couple seconds until it unlocks, gets in and 30 seconds later drives off.
That’s the one downside of the current fobs. Encryption needs to catch up with the times.
 

Marzzz

macrumors regular
Nov 1, 2002
247
336
The Desert
I am currently using the Digital Key with my compatible car, still trust it only for short trips (like the gym) but it seems to work okay. So with an iPhone 12 and my current car, will this just require a software update?
 

EmotionalSnow

macrumors regular
Nov 1, 2019
216
646
Linz, Austria
I like the idea of this technology, but having to take my phone out of my pocket or holding my watch to the door seems like a step backwards from just grabbing the door handle and having the fob do the work now.

Having had various phone crashes, low battery, etc. I’m not going anywhere anytime soon and leaving the tried and true fob method we have now.
It wouldn't be hard to just unlock the car with the phone in your pocket. Don't know though if they are planning to add that functionality.
 
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Unregistered 4U

macrumors 68040
Jul 22, 2002
3,910
2,623
I like the idea of this technology, but having to take my phone out of my pocket or holding my watch to the door seems like a step backwards from just grabbing the door handle and having the fob do the work now.

Having had various phone crashes, low battery, etc. I’m not going anywhere anytime soon and leaving the tried and true fob method we have now.
I think that’s just for the picture :)… or at least I HOPE it is as this is supposed to be a god replacement for passive entry systems where the car unlocks with a button push if the fob is nearby.
 

digitalexplr

macrumors 65816
Dec 13, 2016
1,324
870
Central Missouri
Hopefully it gets expanded to all car models.
Probably are car models from some date in the future forward. I doubt they would make it backward compatible.

I really don't see the advantage of this. Now all I have to do is touch my door handle and the car unlocks. How is having to pull out my phone out or put my wrist to the door and advantage?
 

Shivetya

macrumors 68000
Jan 16, 2008
1,627
270
I am very happy with my Tesla working with blue tooth to open the car and such. I haven't seen a broadcast booster system which exploits it similar to how fobs are exploited. even better we can further protect our car with a pin to start. Ford even allows pin to access the car with their EV
 

subi257

macrumors 6502a
Sep 13, 2018
707
697
New Jersey
Let’s hope it’s more secure than the actual key fobs car makers are using these days.
Case in point: my sister’s week old Audi SQ8 was stolen while she was in the grocery store for 20 minutes last month. You’d think a car that new and that expensive would have unbreakable wireless encryption, but apparently you’d be wrong. Video shows a dude walking up after she leaves, waves something in front of the door for a couple seconds until it unlocks, gets in and 30 seconds later drives off.
The wireless key fob is usually handled by the same ECU that does TPMS. I am not sure about the encryption, they seem to be susceptible some stray RF. There are 3 or 4 places that every time I drive down the same block, it sets of my TPMS pressure warning.
 

siddavis

macrumors regular
Feb 23, 2009
181
460
I like the idea of this technology, but having to take my phone out of my pocket or holding my watch to the door seems like a step backwards from just grabbing the door handle and having the fob do the work now.

Having had various phone crashes, low battery, etc. I’m not going anywhere anytime soon and leaving the tried and true fob method we have now.
It wouldn't be hard to just unlock the car with the phone in your pocket. Don't know though if they are planning to add that functionality.
Not sure if you read the post, but it's right there that they can utilize the ultra wideband tech so you don't have to take the phone out of your pocket. That's the point... an improved user experience.
 

Razorpit

macrumors 6502
Feb 2, 2021
312
496
I think that’s just for the picture :)… or at least I HOPE it is as this is supposed to be a god replacement for passive entry systems where the car unlocks with a button push if the fob is nearby.
“allows users to unlock and start their vehicle by holding a compatible iPhone or Apple Watch near the driver-side door.”
I hope you’re right.

One other thing I just thought of; I can use my fob to start my vehicle from a reasonable distance. Unless there’s a cellular radio/always on Wi-Fi who wants to have to go out to the vehicle just to start it? Especially in the winter.
 
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Razorpit

macrumors 6502
Feb 2, 2021
312
496
Not sure if you read the post, but it's right there that they can utilize the ultra wideband tech so you don't have to take the phone out of your pocket. That's the point... an improved user experience.
I saw it but I don’t know what the definition of ultra wide band is. What kind of range are we talking about?
 

HarryWild

macrumors 68000
Oct 27, 2012
1,907
653
Would be sweet if Apple could duplicate existing FOB into the iPhone so we would not need to carry the recentangle device on ourselves anymore.
 

Unregistered 4U

macrumors 68040
Jul 22, 2002
3,910
2,623
I hope you’re right.

One other thing I just thought of; I can use my fob to start my vehicle from a reasonable distance. Unless there’s a cellular radio/always on Wi-Fi who wants to have to go out to the vehicle just to start it? Especially in the winter.
The fob wouldn’t disappear, this would, I think, allow you to start your car from the fob, but get in and drive using the passive entry with the phone.
 

bwayne

macrumors regular
Mar 3, 2021
136
141
For a recent BMW owner this functionality already exists with the secure fob. And the fob has so many additional features it makes this iPhone feature pointless out of the gate.
 
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alexandr

macrumors 68030
Nov 11, 2005
2,648
4,245
11201-121099
For a recent BMW owner this functionality already exists with the secure fob. And the fob has so many additional features it makes this iPhone feature pointless out of the gate.
right, but this technology is meant to limit the amount of fobs you shlep around with you.
 
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