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BMW this week announced two new vehicles with support for its Digital Key Plus feature, including the 2023 X1 and an all-new electric SUV called the iX1.

bmw-digital-key-plus-wallet-app-car-key.jpg

Digital Key Plus allows for compatible BMW vehicles to be locked, unlocked, or started with an iPhone or Apple Watch, eliminating the need for a physical key. The standard NFC version of the feature requires the iPhone or Apple Watch to be held near the driver-side door to unlock the vehicle, but Digital Key Plus utilizes Ultra Wideband technology to detect when you are near the vehicle, allowing you to keep your iPhone in your pocket.

Digital Key Plus also improves security, as Ultra Wideband's precise location awareness helps to prevent relay attacks, where the radio signal between the iPhone and vehicle is jammed or intercepted by another party.


Digital Key Plus requires an iPhone 11 or newer, or an Apple Watch Series 6 or newer, with the digital keys stored in Apple's built-in Wallet app. The feature is gradually rolling out to more BMW models, such as the 2022 iX and now the 2023 X1 and iX1. BMW also offers the standard NFC-based Digital Key feature on a wider range of 2021 and newer vehicles, with a complete list available on Apple's website.

Digital Key Plus can be set up using the My BMW app, and digital keys can be shared with up to five other users. Even if your iPhone runs out of battery, the feature still works for up to five additional hours through a Power Reserve mode.

Article Link: BMW Announces Latest Vehicles That Can Be Unlocked With Your iPhone in Your Pocket
 
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RalfTheDog

macrumors 68020
Feb 23, 2010
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Lagrange Point
This is a good thing why? You walk by your car and it is unlocked. You have your car in your garage that is open because, you are doing stuff. Your phone unlocks your car while you take a 10 minute break in the kitchen, then someone comes and nabs the stuff in the passenger seat. I hope that at a minimum, it can be turned off.

I know it relocks the door after just a few seconds. I don't like the idea of technology deciding what I want to do and when I want to do it.
 

arnoz

macrumors regular
Jun 20, 2007
233
194
Switzerland
This is a nice to have, not crucial in my opinion. Still gutted I don't have it.

From I could gather (also because I ordered a new vehicle from them end '21), a few models since end '21 and up to roughly April (at least in Europe) don't have the Digital Key feature because of the lack of chips. No NFC tag in car, so no way to use remote start via the BMW app or use the iPhone as a key.

I would have probably have been happy to use that once though… then just keep on using the regular open/close based on just touching the handle as long as I have the key on me.
 

SolidAdamantium

macrumors newbie
Jun 2, 2022
4
3
I like the idea, but as you’re walking to your car in a dark parking lot, doesn’t it make car jacking easier?

That said, looking forward to an aftermarket version to become available so this feature can be available on some of my older cars.
 
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mannyvel

macrumors 65816
Mar 16, 2019
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I've had the Toyota fob for the last few years. It's really handy, and the only problem is the tendency to leave your keys in the car by mistake. Using my phone would be nicer. And apparently the NFC works even if your phone is dead, so at least you can get in and charge it.

Big deal? Not really. But it's a nice convenience.
 

dontwalkhand

macrumors 603
Jul 5, 2007
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Phoenix, AZ
This is such a cool feature, I had it in 2019 on my Tesla Model 3😆
Tesla (and now Ford, Lincoln, Toyota, and Lexus) uses Bluetooth, not UWB. Functionally, to the end user, it isn't any different, but it is a tad more reliable than Bluetooth Keys. The Apple implementation however, will allow you to still get into your car 5 hours after the phone has died, whereas with bluetooth keys, you better hope you carry the card (Tesla) or key fobs (Ford, Lincoln, Toyota, and Lexus) with you as a backup, or at the very least, a power bank.
 

dontwalkhand

macrumors 603
Jul 5, 2007
6,377
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Phoenix, AZ
The same Tesla with the ridiculous panel gaps and no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto?

Ended up getting one of these and just suctioning it to the windshield, and using a USB to DC jack converter. The lengths you have to go through to get CarPlay. But hey, I have CarPlay now.
 

ApfelKuchen

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Aug 28, 2012
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Between the coasts
This is a good thing why? You walk by your car and it is unlocked. You have your car in your garage that is open because, you are doing stuff. Your phone unlocks your car while you take a 10 minute break in the kitchen, then someone comes and nabs the stuff in the passenger seat. I hope that at a minimum, it can be turned off.

I know it relocks the door after just a few seconds. I don't like the idea of technology deciding what I want to do and when I want to do it.
And why would this happen? My car unlocks with a fob, rather than a phone. It does not unlock when I walk past, it does not unlock when I'm in the kitchen. It'll unlock when I'm close enough to grasp the door handle.

Effectively, all this does is replace a fob with a phone or Apple Watch - eliminates carrying one extra item (key fob) as you're already carrying/wearing a device that can function as a key fob.

NFC means "near field communication" - if you don't have close proximity, nothing happens - same approach as tap-to-pay.

People spin these paranoid fantasies about every wireless technology - Apple/Android Pay, tap-to-pay chips in credit cards, remote control garage door openers, etc.. They all contain sufficient safeguards to prevent the kind of situations described. But sure, put 30 seconds of thought into something, then assume that the people who design these things have also put no more than 30 seconds of though into it.
 

RalfTheDog

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Feb 23, 2010
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Lagrange Point
But if you lost your key or locked it inside your car, I'd bet you'd want this as a backup.
Just use the button on your keys to lock your car. That way, you can't lock your keys in the car, unless you are in the car. You can however lock your phone in the car. (Would that leave your car unlocked?)
 

dwaite

macrumors 65816
Jun 11, 2008
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Tesla (and now Ford, Lincoln, Toyota, and Lexus) uses Bluetooth, not UWB. Functionally, to the end user, it isn't any different, but it is a tad more reliable than Bluetooth Keys.

The bluetooth keys do not have a proximity function, so any unlock feature without a gesture opens you up to theft based on extending bluetooth range (such as via a repeater near a ground-floor bedroom window).
 
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usagora

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Nov 17, 2017
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Just use the button on your keys to lock your car. That way, you can't lock your keys in the car, unless you are in the car. You can however lock your phone in the car. (Would that leave your car unlocked?)

I mean, yes, obviously things like this would never happen if everyone were perfect, but when a mistake does happen, it's nice to have a backup option.
 
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RalfTheDog

macrumors 68020
Feb 23, 2010
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Lagrange Point
And why would this happen? My car unlocks with a fob, rather than a phone. It does not unlock when I walk past, it does not unlock when I'm in the kitchen. It'll unlock when I'm close enough to grasp the door handle.

Effectively, all this does is replace a fob with a phone or Apple Watch - eliminates carrying one extra item (key fob) as you're already carrying/wearing a device that can function as a key fob.

NFC means "near field communication" - if you don't have close proximity, nothing happens - same approach as tap-to-pay.

People spin these paranoid fantasies about every wireless technology - Apple/Android Pay, tap-to-pay chips in credit cards, remote control garage door openers, etc.. They all contain sufficient safeguards to prevent the kind of situations described. But sure, put 30 seconds of thought into something, then assume that the people who design these things have also put no more than 30 seconds of though into it.
Why would I want my car to unlock every time I walk by the door, even if it relocks itself 30 seconds later? I am actually quite familiar with NFC RFID. It's fantastic for the applications where it is the best choice. Unlocking your car every 45 seconds while you are moving stuff around in your garage or building stuff with the 3d printer or whatever is not a good use. When I want my car door locked, I will push the button on the key. When I want my car door unlocked, I will push the button on the key. When I want to start my car, I will step on the clutch and hit the button. If I want to drift a corner at 100MPH, I will downshift when I want to downshift. I will let off the clutch as I want to let off the clutch. I will upshift and floor it when I want to upshift and floor it.
 
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