Apple is currently unveiling a number of tools and software it has been working on for WWDC 2020, and one of these solutions is aimed at the automotive industry – digital car keys. It’s part of iOS 14 and will allow users to unlock their car via their iPhone, provided the vehicle has the correct compatibility.
As such it doesn’t mean that simply because your car has a keyless entry system, it will be able to utilise the digital car keys solution, as Apple explained in a developer video earlier this week.
“You can now store car keys on iPhone or Apple Watch. You no longer have to bring your key fob to unlock and start your car. And with digital keys, it’s easy to share them with family or friends, and manage keys remotely,” the company adds.
Some of the other features include, storing fob details via Apple Wallet, a power reserve for iPhone where car keys will still function for up to five hours if device turns off, and the ability to share access with up to five contacts via iMessage.
It looks like BMW is the first carmaker to be embracing this solution, having already design its own proprietary offering recently.
Apple’s version, however, opens it up to far wider range of BMW vehicles, with the first to support it being the 2021 5 Series, which launches in select regions next month.
From 1st July onwards, BMW plans to roll out digital car keys via iPhone to 45 countries across the globe, but it remains to be seen if South Africa falls under this list.
The German carmaker has also confirmed that the feature will be available on any of the following vehicles if they are manufactured after 1st July: 1 Series, 2 Series, 3 Series, 4 Series, 5 Series, 6 Series, 8 Series, X5, X6, X7, X5M, X6M and Z4.
Looking at the models, it was a tad odd not to see any of the electric i options listed, as it would seem that digital car keys would be a perfect fit.
In terms of Apple device compatibility, BMW confirms that this system will work on the iPhone XR, iPhone XS or newer mobile hardware, as well as the Apple Watch Series 5.
For now it remains to be seen which other carmakers will get digital car keys, but we suspect BMW will want a bit of exclusivity with this feature in the interim.