BMW Owners Can Now Unlock Their Cars and Start Their Engines With an Android Smartphone

BMW Digital Key Plus for Android Devices 6 photos
Photo: BMW
BMW Digital Key Plus now also available on compatible Android devicesBMW Digital Key Plus now also available on compatible Android devicesApple Digital Key for iPhone on BMWApple Digital Key for iPhone on BMWApple Digital Key for iPhone on BMW
Most automakers focus on enhancing customers' digital experience in their vehicles. For instance, some manufacturers, such as BMW, allow drivers to unlock their cars using only their phones via the BMW Digital Key Plus. The company announced the Digital Key Plus is now available on compatible Android devices.
The Digital Key was released three years ago, and the Digital Key Plus one year later. The former uses the NFC (Near Field Communication) mobile standard, while the latter works via UWB (ultra-wideband). Suppose you're a BMW owner and have the company's app installed. In that case, the vehicle will react automatically, just like it would with a classic vehicle key, and unlock the doors. Moreover, you can use it to start the engine without even taking the phone out of your pocket.

Ultra-wideband is a digital radio technology for close range with high bandwidth – it provides precise localization and more security compared to NFC technology. Furthermore, the precision of UWB means that the risk of relay attacks when the radio signal is intercepted or jammed is eliminated.

At first, only Apple users could utilize the standard Digital Key via the iPhone and Apple Watch, but it also became available for Android users in 2021. At the same time, Apple users got access to the then-new Digital Key Plus, leaving Android users needing to catch up again. But now, Android users can benefit from the feature, although it depends on what phone model they have.

BMW explained that it could be set up on current Samsung Galaxy S23+ / Ultra and Google Pixel 7 Pro smartphone models. Rest assured, various older models running on Android are compatible as well: S22+, S22 Ultra, S21+, S21 Ultra, Z Fold4, Z Fold3, and Note20 Ultra, as well as Google devices, such as the Pixel 7 Pro and Pixel 6 Pro.

BMW Group collaborated with Google to develop this solution, establishing it as a global standard for the automotive industry through the CCC (Car Connectivity Consortium), the global driving force behind vehicle accessibility for all smart mobile devices.

The company aims to make digital vehicle access available for all customers, regardless of the OS (operating system) of their smartphones. The next step in achieving this goal is to provide the full range of functions on Android devices.

Late last year, BMW Group announced that the Digital Key could be securely shared between iPhone and Android users via SMS, email, or any other messaging service. You read that right – you can share your vehicle's digital key via a message without worrying about compromised security.

Android users can use the technology on Digital Key Plus-capable vehicles produced from November 2022. BMW is working on a remote software upgrade that will enable customers to use the feature on Digital Key Plus-capable vehicles manufactured before November 2022.
If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram

 Download: BMW Digital Key Plus now also available on compatible Android devices (PDF)

About the author: Mircea Mazuru
Mircea Mazuru profile photo

Starting out with a motorcycle permit just because he could get one two years earlier than a driver's license, Mircea keeps his passion for bikes (motor or no motor) alive to this day. His lifelong dream is to build his own custom camper van.
Full profile


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories