Apple has rolled out its digital car key function allowing iPhone and Apple Watch users to unlock the doors of their car by holding up their device to the handle.
However for this to work, you’ll need to have bought a BMW made in the past in the past two weeks, according to various Apple news websites. Only BMW cars and SUVs from its “Series” and “X” SUV range (for example a 5 Series or X6, as well as the Z4) built after July 1 can currently use this function.
Apple says it has updated its smartwatches to watchOS 6.2.8 to “add support for digital car keys for Apple Watch Series 5.” An update for iPhones to iOS 13.6 will later also add this functionality.
In late June, Apple unveiled a new iOS feature that will allow drivers of modern cars to leave car keys at home and use an iPhone to unlock them using a device’s built-in NFC chip.
Once in the car, you’ll then be able to put your phone on the charging pad and press a button to start the engine. You won’t always have to wave your phone in front of the door, and can also leave it in your bag or pocket and still gain access, Apple said.
BMW, Tesla and Audi already offer some drivers the possibility to store a digital car key on their smartphones. However, this has mostly been limited to Android devices so far.
Apple said users would be also able to share virtual keys with others using iMessage by tapping “Invite” on the back of the digital key card and setting what kind of access you want to give them.
You can then share the key card with others using Apple’s iMessage chat service, presuming the other person also has an iPhone.
“Now you can leave your keys at home and unlock and start your car with your iPhone,”
Apple also pointed to potential security benefits. Emily Schubert from Apple’s car technology division said during the opening keynote of its annual conference for software developers, the WWDC, that “if it goes missing, you can turn off your keys remotely via iCloud.”