BMW Updates Connected App With Car Keys Support

Apple at WWDC announced Car Keys, a new feature designed to allow digital car keys to be added to the Wallet app on the iPhone, allowing iPhones and Apple Watch models to be used in lieu of a physical car key.


Apple at the time said the feature would come to both iOS 13 and iOS 14, and the first Car Keys partner, BMW, today added support for the feature to its BMW Connected app. With Car Keys support, a BMW Digital Key for the ‌iPhone‌ can be added to the Wallet app on the ‌iPhone‌.

The feature allows the ‌iPhone‌ to be used to lock and unlock the car by holding it up to the door handle, and it can also start the car when the ‌iPhone‌ is placed in the smartphone tray in the vehicle. Access to a car can be shared with up to five friends or family members, with various restrictions available.

BMW’s Digital Key for ‌iPhone‌ feature works with a number of BMW models: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, X5, X6, X7, X5M, X6M and Z4 if manufactured after July 1st 2020. Compatible vehicles will be shown on the vehicle tab in the app.

An iPhone XR, XS, or newer is required, and for those who want to use an ‌Apple Watch‌, an ‌Apple Watch‌ Series 5 or newer is required. When Car Keys was announced, BMW said the feature would require iOS 13.6, which Apple has not released, so it’s not clear if the digital key feature is functional at this time.

For more on how Car Keys works and its feature set, make sure to check out our guide.

(Thanks, Florian!)

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

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.

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