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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

Following several leaks and rumors, Apple today confirmed that iOS 14 and watchOS 7 feature support for NFC-based digital car keys, allowing users to unlock and start their vehicle with a compatible iPhone or Apple Watch.


Similar to credit cards and boarding passes, digital car keys are stored in the Wallet app. To unlock your vehicle, you will simply need to bring your iPhone near the driver's side door. Once inside the vehicle, you will be able to place your iPhone on a reader or wireless charger to start your vehicle and drive, according to Apple.

For peace of mind, a power reserve feature allows the digital car keys to work for up to five hours after your iPhone battery runs out.

Apple says the feature will start rolling out to BMW customers next month, with support for the new 2021 5 Series at launch, and Apple hopes to expand the feature to other automakers over time. Apple will also make the feature available on iOS 13, and presumably watchOS 6, so that users can take advantage of it as soon as possible.

Apple also announced that it is already working on the next generation of digital car keys based on Ultra Wideband technology, which will allow users to unlock future car models without removing their iPhone from their pocket or bag. Apple expects this feature, which will utilize the U1 chip in iPhone 11 models, to become available next year.

iOS 14 and watchOS 7 are available in beta for registered Apple developers today, with public betas to follow next month. The free software updates will be released in the fall for the iPhone 6s or Apple Watch Series 3 and newer.

Update: BMW has announced that Apple's digital car key feature will be supported on a wide range of its vehicle models manufactured after July 1, 2020. Compatible devices include the iPhone XS/XR or newer and the Apple Watch Series 5 or newer.

Article Link: iPhone and Apple Watch Becoming Digital Car Keys, Feature Rolling Out to BMW Customers Next Month
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macrumors 68020
Feb 2, 2010
Woodstock, GA USA
That's a swell vehicle. I was going to get a Mini Cooper a long time ago but now I am visually disabled so I am using Uber all the time.

it really is. I bought mine in April and I couldn’t be happier. I know Kia used to get a bad wrap for being terrible but they have improved a lot over the years.


macrumors 68020
Dec 31, 2013
Dashcam with a connection can share footage of the people and vehicle so police can catch them. GPS tracking helps recover the vehicle, too. Both standard on all Tesla vehicles.

GPS and cell jammers. Easily handheld. Once you tow it somewhere quiet, pop the hood and disconnect the battery, pull the fuses, or disconnect the antennas.

OnStar is standard for over a decade, and has been around a lot longer than Tesla.

Criminals are smart, car thefts are usually organized crime, not your ordinary drug addict.

Article explaining this from 10 years ago:
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macrumors member
Sep 28, 2016
There is quite a bit of missing information here. Will other BMW's that already support NFC keys also get support from Apple? The 2021 LCI BMW 5 series is finally getting NFC support but the X5 and 8-Series among other BMW's have already had NFC key support.


macrumors 68020
Jul 12, 2009
Los Angeles, CA
my merc has NFC capabilities, I’m hoping this will come to a majority of preexisting lineups since MBZ already has Mercedes Connect on iOS which can already turn on the car, unlock the car, tell me gas range, tire pressure, etc.


macrumors member
Sep 28, 2016
A bit more information is now available:

Digital Key for iPhone will be available 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.


Jul 3, 2013
Nice, the version 3 of this will be great. Finally I can leave my keys at home - I wonder what the chance is off my Range Rover being updated to support this :/.


macrumors member
Feb 28, 2020
Dashcam with a connection can share footage of the people and vehicle so police can catch them. GPS tracking helps recover the vehicle, too. Both standard on all Tesla vehicles.

Nice tesla plug(!) horrific build quality, self igniting, customers being beta testers and non existent self driving [promised by 2018..] with an insane ceo is also standard on teslas .

I assure you that apples BMW ‘key’ implementation will be far more reliable than teslas amateurish bug filled app
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