HomeGarageKeyless entry! BMW approves iPhone as car key

Keyless entry! BMW approves iPhone as car key

Your iPhone can lock, unlock and start your BMW, and you can share your key with your friends (but why would you?)


At the Apple Worldwide Developer Conference this week, BMW announced it would become the first automaker to enable customers to use their iPhones as a fully digital car key.

BMW, bemoaned for its original, complicated and confusing iDrive device mounted on the center console, also was the first to integrate the iPod into its vehicles and the first to offer CarPlay. 

“The upcoming BMW Digital Key for the iPhone will enable customers to just tap to unlock and easily get going by placing the iPhone in the smartphone tray and pushing the start button,” Apple and BMW said.

“The car owner can also share access with up to 5 friends including a configurable car access option for young drivers which restricts top speed, horse power, maximum radio volume and more.”

The companies note that a traditional key still can be used should the car owner’s iPhone turn off because of low battery charge, and that the system will be compatible with the Apple Watch.

iPhone will open access to upcoming BMW vehicles

BMW said the Digital Key for iPhone will be available in 45 countries on vehicles manufactured after July 1, 2020. Compatible iPhones include the XR, XS or newer as well as the Apple Watch Series 5 or newer.

For more information, visit the BMW Digital Key website.

At the event, BMW also announced a new GPS feature for CarPlay to plan travel in BMW electric vehicles that selects the optimal route based on range and charging stations. The system will be available next year in the BMW i4.

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


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