Tuesday, June 22, 2021
News Apple iPhone Digital Key Unveiled Along With BMW Partnership Means Unlocking And...

Apple iPhone Digital Key Unveiled Along With BMW Partnership Means Unlocking And Starting The Car Using Your Phone

You can unlock and start your vehicle with your Iphone later this year

  • New Apple Digital Key will work with both iPhone and Watch to unlock compatible vehicles

  • Partnership between Apple and BMW confirmed

  • NFC technology will allow users to “tap” their phone to the handle to unlock it


Unveiled today at the World Developers Conference, the new Apple iOS 14 operating system features a digital key technology that will allow Apple iPhone and Apple Watch owners to unlock their vehicle using NFC.

Apple also announced a partnership with BMW who will become the first automaker to feature digital key capability. BMW models will start offering digital key compatibility later this year. The user will only need to “tap” their phone to the door handle to unlock their BMW and then place their phone in the tray to start the engine.

Even crazier is the ability to “share” your vehicle with friends and family members. The owner can designate up to five smartphones that can open the doors and start the engine. More impressive is the function that allows the owner to set horsepower availability, audio volume, and top speed limits for each user.

Apple Digital Key for BMW
Apple Digital Key for BMW | Photo: BMW

What about when your phone’s battery dies? Apple and BMW say you can still access the car for up to 5 hours after the phone has gone dead. The digital key technology from Apple will be available in 45 countries and available on the BMW 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, X5, X6, X7, and Z4 models manufactured after July 1st, 2020. Essentially, only the BMW X1 and X3 won’t have it at the start. The new BMW X5M and X6M will have the Apple technology as well.

Apple says that within a year, it will no longer be required to remove the phone from your pocket to access your vehicle. In other words, the capability announced today is just a first step.

Apple and BMW are working on a second project together for electric vehicles; an integration with Apple Maps that will select the most efficient route based on available range to reach destination. That will be available in the upcoming BMW i4.

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Charles Jolicoeur
Charles Jolicoeur
Charles Jolicoeur was studying to be a CPA when he decided to drop everything and launch a car website in 2012. Don't ask. The journey has been an interesting one, but today he has co-founded and manages 8 websites including EcoloAuto.com and MotorIllustrated.com as General Manager of NetMedia360. He also sits on the board of the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada. Send me an email

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