Apple Reveals Digital Key for iPhone, You Can Have It First on a BMW

Apple Digital Key for iPhone on BMW 10 photos
Photo: BMW AG
Apple Digital Key for iPhone on BMWApple Digital Key for iPhone on BMWApple Digital Key for iPhone on BMWApple Digital Key for iPhone on BMWApple Digital Key for iPhone on BMWApple Digital Key for iPhone on BMWApple Digital Key for iPhone on BMWApple Digital Key for iPhone on BMWApple Digital Key for iPhone on BMW
Technology wizards in love with everything iOS-centric have been expecting an entire year for the annual Apple Worldwide Developer Conference. And the Cupertino-based technology giant hasn’t disappointed, revealing for the first time ever its newly minted Digital Key For iPhone - presented as a very safe and easy to use solution to use the iPhone as a car key to lock, unlock, drive, and share digital “keys” with anyone.
Of course, the idea is not new – and has been around for some time thanks to the technology that enables it, specifically “NFC” (near field communication). Examples include the famous Tesla Model 3 (which uses both the phone and a key card) but also other classical makes – such as South Korea’s Hyundai or Germany’s BMW.

During the Worldwide Developers Conference the latter also became the first officially supported automaker for the Apple Digital Key for iPhone.The new feature is part of the equally new iOS 14 version of the company’s mobile operating system and BMW will be the first automaker that allows its customers to use the iPhone as a fully-fledged digital car key.

Of course, this doesn’t come out as a major surprise – considering that BMW is among the founding partners of Apple’s CarPlay, it was the first to integrate iPod, first to introduce wireless CarPlay, and also among the last companies that allowed customers to use Google’s Android Auto.

The soon arriving BMW Digital Key for iPhone will first be enabled on the newly revealed 2021 BMW 5 Series, according to The Verge. BMW, on the other hand, signals upcoming broad availability of the Digital Key for iPhone in 45 countries for many models that will be manufactured after July 1st, 2020.

We are talking about the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, X5, X6, X7, X5M, X6M and Z4, while compatible iPhone models include the iPhone XR, iPhone XS (or newer) and Apple Watch Series 5 and above. According to the German automaker, Apple and BMW worked with the Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC) for a global standard.

The “Digital Key specification 2.0 for NFC” was completed in May 2020 and was used for this iteration. Future generations of the Digital Key will be using the so-called “Ultra-Wideband” technology and we can expect other automakers to soon adopt Apple’s new Digital Key for iPhone.

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About the author: Aurel Niculescu
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Aurel has aimed high all his life (literally, at 16 he was flying gliders all by himself) so in 2006 he switched careers and got hired as a writer at his favorite magazine. Since then, his work has been published both by print and online outlets, most recently right here, on autoevolution.
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