Apple Watch Series 5, iPhone 11, and iPhone 11 Pro are among the compatible iPhone models.
In This Article...
What It Does
There are several kinds of technology that can transform your phone into a substitute key fob. For example, Tesla and Lincoln use Bluetooth low energy (BLE) as the foundation for their phone-as-key technology. NFC, which enables low-speed communication between two devices at a distance of up to roughly an inch and a half, is used by BMW, Hyundai, and Kia. The iPhone-compatible BMW model also includes a key that resembles a credit card and may be used in place of an iPhone or Apple Watch.
BLE has a larger range than NFC, but BMW claims that their NFC-based technology will continue to function for around 5 hours after a phone’s battery has completely died because there is still some power left over in the battery for features like utilizing the digital key and paying for transit.
For the digital key functionality to function, proximity sensors that are part of BMW’s Comfort Access option, which is offered across the company’s model lineup, are necessary. They can recognize a phone belonging to the owner or someone who has authority to operate the vehicle, and they are compatible with recent iPhones. According to BMW, the digital feature is compatible with the Apple Watch Series 5 or later and the iPhone XR, XS, and XS Max and subsequent iPhone models. For Apple Watches and iPhones, BMW requires WatchOS 6.2.8 or later and iOS 13.6 or later.
Once inside, simply dock your iPhone in the digital charging tray of the vehicle to turn it on. You may unlock the doors by touching your phone to the door handle.
While we didn’t test how effectively the Apple Watch interacts with the digital key, you would hold the watch close to the door handle to unlock the car and next to the wireless charging tray inside to start it. People who wear watches on their left wrist may need to perform some acrobatics in order to do this.
Getting inside and starting up CR’s rental BMW M440i xDrive with the iPhone was rather simple after setting up the iPhone for BMW’s digital key, according to Knizek. But to get into the automobile, he had to take his iPhone out of his pocket.
What is My BMW App/BMW Connected App?
Applications that connect your Apple or Android smartphone with your BMW include the BMW ConnectedDrive App and the My BMW App. Both apps share a similar foundation, but the My BMW App will eventually completely replace the BMW ConnectedDrive App.
You may program destinations before you get into your car with them, regulate the thermostat, flash your headlights, sound the horn, lock or unlock doors, and more. The ConnectedDrive App and My BMW App may also turn your phone into a Digital Key, which is the most crucial feature. Owners of iPhones can keep their Digital Key in Apple Wallet as well.
The most recent vehicles from BMW can be unlocked with an iPhone in your pocket.
The 2023 X1 and a whole new electric SUV called the iX1 are two new vehicles that BMW introduced this week that would utilize its Digital Key Plus technology.
Without a physical key, eligible BMW automobiles can now be locked, unlocked, or started using an iPhone or Apple Watch thanks to Digital Key Plus. However, Digital Key Plus makes use of Ultra Wideband technology to detect when you are near the vehicle, allowing you to keep your iPhone in your pocket. The regular NFC version of the function requires the iPhone or Apple Watch to be held near the driver-side door in order to open the vehicle.
Additionally, Digital Key Plus enhances security by preventing relay attacks, in which a third party jams or intercepts the radio signal between the iPhone and the vehicle, thanks to Ultra Wideband’s precise location awareness.
With the digital keys stored in Apple’s built-in Wallet app, Digital Key Plus requires an iPhone 11 or newer, or an Apple Watch Series 6 or newer. More BMW vehicles are gradually receiving the function, including the 2022 iX and the present 2023 X1 and iX1. A complete list of BMW vehicles that use the standard NFC-based Digital Key function is accessible on Apple’s website for models manufactured in 2021 and later.
The My BMW app can be used to set up Digital Key Plus, and up to five additional users may share digital keys. The functionality continues to function for up to five hours even if your iPhone’s battery goes out thanks to a Power Reserve mode.
The hardware required to use the apple wallet digital key feature doesn’t appear to be present in automobiles produced before July 2020. The only details I could locate about it were in a previous news release:
The first automaker to let customers use an iPhone as a fully digital car key is BMW. The BMW digital key connects with the car using NFC technology and is kept on a chip in the iPhone that is referred to as a “secure element.” The Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC), to which both Apple and BMW belong, set the requirements for its development.
Not only can the automobile be opened and closed without a physical key, but it can also be started using an iPhone thanks to the digital key. Additionally, the consumer has the quick and simple option of sharing the key with up to five persons via smartphone. This technology can also control how the car is used; for instance, if the master key is given to a young or inexperienced driver, they can be restricted in terms of speed, horsepower, and radio volume. The digital key can control many automobiles at once. The digital key’s necessary NFC hardware is available for automobiles built starting in July 2020.
Anyone who received a new NFC or wireless charging pad as part of their warranty? This activated the feature, then?
My car is a September 2019 model, and the digital key worked just well with my Android phone for about a year until I discovered that the option had been disabled (in software) due to the BS iPhone not supporting the earlier G20 versions.
My 330i was created on July 1st, 2020. My car won’t open with an iPhone. You must have a Samsung, it states. that is the previous iteration. I use an iPhone, thus this is rather bothersome.
I added my digital credit card looking key to my iPhone’s wallet app.
To activate Apple Wallet, double-tap the phone while scrolling to the digital key and holding it by the door handle.
It’s a waste since it makes me think of using traditional keys to access doors. I merely carry the key, and the door unlocks as I approach it.
none of that holding it directly to the front handle, which occasionally causes problems. I tried it in front of my cousin and looked foolish, so I abandoned the idea. even less worthwhile
I’ve been more frustrated than anything because I have the digital key feature. I’ve tried using my phone to open and lock the car, but it rarely works.
I’m content with comfort access, which unlocks as you approach and locks when you leave.
Does the iPhone support the Digital Key?
You can start, lock, and unlock your car using iPhone or Apple Watch if you have a compatible vehicle and a digital car key in Apple Wallet.
What BMW models support a digital key?
What is a BMW Digital Key, and where can I acquire one? The BMW Digital Key is compatible with the following vehicles manufactured in July 2020 or later: In addition to the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, X5, X6, X7, M5, M8, X5 M, X6 M, and Z4
Can I use my iPhone to unlock my BMW?
With the BMW Digital Key and BMW Digital Key Plus, go keyless. The key fob for your car can be replaced with an iPhone, Google Pixel, or Samsung Galaxy smartphone that is compatible. To lock and unlock, simply touch it to the driver-side door handle. To start the engine, place your device in the wireless charging tray.
Can the BMW app unlock a car?
An overview of your BMW’s range, current mileage, window and door status, and more will help you be ready for any journey.
Track the location of your BMW on a map or use the Remote 3D view to keep an eye on the area around it.
Start the engine, lock and unlock the doors, and more on your phone to control your BMW from anywhere.
With just one swipe, you may activate Remote Software Upgrades, set up a service appointment with your favorite dealer, or receive maintenance alerts.
Can I use my Apple Watch to unlock my BMW?
Yes. With a BMW Digital Key that has been shared by the primary user, other parties can use their Apple Watch to lock and unlock the BMW and start the engine. Before activating the BMW Digital Key, BMW advises connecting the Apple Watch to the Apple iPhone.
Can I use my phone to start my BMW?
A number of updates and new services for BMW automobiles have just been published. BMW owners may now choose from a variety of other options in the ConnectedDrive Store to add to their vehicles in addition to the “Uneven Road Surface alert” feature. One of them allows you to remotely preheat the temperature of your BMW vehicle, and it is called “Remote Engine Start.” While Remote Engine Start has been a feature of BMW vehicles from MY 2019, it is now also available as a new “Function on Demand” that can be added to eligible cars that weren’t initially equipped with it. This functionality can be purchased through the ConnectedDrive Store.
Through Remote Software Upgrade, the new functionality can be downloaded and installed wirelessly. This is a fantastic feature for the sweltering summer and icy winter months. You can preheat the interior by turning on the heat or the air conditioning while starting the engine from inside your house or place of employment.
Simply tap a button in the My BMW app to turn on Remote Engine Start, and your BMW’s engine will start, allowing the cabin to reach the ideal temperature. A triple-click of the lock button on the BMW key fob will also activate Remote Engine Start.