BMW and Apple announce car keys on iPhones

BMW will become the first brand to support Apple’s Digital Key for iPhone – and it will also be compatible with the Apple Watch

BMW iPhone Digital Key

BMW is to become the world’s first carmaker to allow Apple iPhone users to use their smartphone as a car key.

The new BMW Digital Key will lock and unlock the car – and also start the vehicle.

Owners can even electronically share the car key with up to five people.

It will also be compatible with the Apple Watch.

The technology will roll out later this year and all BMWs built from 1 July 2020 will be compatible.

All iPhones from the iPhone XR and iPhone XS and newer will be compatible, as will the Apple Watch Series 5 or newer.

BMW Digital Car Key: how does it work?

BMW iPhone Digital Key

The BMW Digital Key is set up through BMW’s smartphone app. Once configured, owners can tap to lock and unlock.

To start the vehicle, owners place the iPhone into the smartphone tray, and press the ‘start’ button.

It can be accessed through Apple Wallet too.

Owners can share the car key with five others through iMessage. They can also deliver a pre-configured car key that restricts power, top speed, audio volume and others.

BMW has thought ahead in case an owner’s iPhone goes flat, too: the car key will still function for up to five hours after an iPhone with a flat battery shuts down.


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Richard Aucock
I'm director at Motoring Research. I run a bit, cycle a bit, have a huge love for the automotive industry.


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