- BMW 5 Series facelift will get Apple CarKey first
- Apple CarKey will work with iOS 14-based devices initially
- This feature will work even if the user's device loses battery power
BMW has partnered with Apple to introduce virtual car key functions for its cars and SUVs. The German brand will introduce this function first on the recently facelifted 5 Series sedan and then subsequently on other BMW models. While Apple calls this feature Apple CarKey, BMW will market it as the BMW Digital Key in its vehicles.
What are virtual car keys?
They are digital keys that allow users to unlock their vehicle by using the NFC chip placed in newer phones. While this feature is already available in a few vehicles globally, it has been introduced for the first time for Apple devices. BMW already offers this tech for Android-based devices in some models; however, this is the first time the system will be available for Apple device users.
What is Apple CarKey and how does it work?
At its recent World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC), Apple announced Apple CarKey as part of the iOS 14.0 iPhone operating system, which is scheduled for release in the coming months. An update of iOS 13 will support the feature as well.
To be introduced in BMW models first, Apple CarKey is built on the iPhone's UWB U1 chip, which, according to Apple, will allow all carmakers to securely detect the phone's proximity to the vehicle, even if it is buried in the vehicle owner's purse or bag.
To unlock their vehicle, users will have to hold their Apple NFC-equipped device, such as an iPhone or Apple Watch, next to the vehicle's NFC reader panel, which is typically located in the door handle. The system will then authenticate the access request via Face ID or Touch ID to unlock the vehicle. The process can also be made quicker via an ‘Express Mode’ that side-steps authentication.
Additionally, virtual keys in the car owner’s Apple Wallet enables them to quickly create copies and send them via iMessage to their family members or friends (upto five users), allowing them to access the vehicle without the physical key. Once inside, the users need to place their Apple device on the wireless charger panel and press the ignition button to start the vehicle.
BMW says that the system will work even when the user's iPhone's battery is dead; depending on the device model, the key would work for several hours. However, if the user decides to manually switch off the device, the feature will only work once the device is switched back on.
Which cars and SUVs will be compatible with Apple CarKey?
Apple CarKey will be first seen on the recently facelifted 5 Series sedan and, in the near future, we expect this technology to be available in more BMW cars and SUVs sold globally.
Will this technology come to India?
While it has not been confirmed yet, we expect the refreshed BMW 5 Series sedan to come with this technology in India, when the car launches sometime next year.
What featuresdoes iOS14 bring to Apple CarPlay?
At the same event, Apple also announced that,on iOS 14, Apple CarPlay will come with the ability to add custom wallpapers, locate electric-car chargers in Apple Maps, and show details for parking and fast-food takeout apps, depending on the region.