BMW adds CarKey support to its app ahead of iOS 13.6 release

Wwdc 2020 Carkey Demo
Wwdc 2020 Carkey Demo (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • BMW has updated its BMW Connected app.
  • The update adds support for Apple's CarKey feature.
  • The BMW 540i will be the first model to support digital car keys.

BMW is ahead of schedule and ready to support Apple's digital car key.

Reported by MacRumors, BMW has released an update to its BMW Connected app that adds support for Apple's new digital car key feature. The update will allow BMW customers with a compatible model to use their iPhone as a digital car key to unlock their car.

According to the release notes, the BMW Digital Key for the iPhone will allow customers to not only lock and unlock their car by holding the phone near the door handle but start it by placing the iPhone in the smartphone tray as well. You can also share your key to give access to your car to others, but it is limited to five people.

BMW says that the feature will be supported in the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, X5, X6, X7, X5M, X6M and Z4 models, but that the car must be manufactured after July 1st, 2020 in order for the feature to be built in. They did not mention if previous models will be able to be upgraded to support the feature.

Apple's CarKey feature is supported on the iPhone XR, XS, and later, as well as on the Apple Watch Series 5.

You can read the full release notes from the update below:

At the Apple Worldwide Developer Conference BMW and Apple announced that BMW will become the first carmaker to enable its customers to use iPhone as a fully digital car key. The strong relationship of both companies led to a real BMW car key stored securely on iPhone in Apple Wallet.The BMW Digital Key for the iPhone will enable you to lock and unlock your car by holding iPhone up to the door handle and start it up by placing iPhone in the smartphone tray. The car owner can also share access to up to 5 friends. The Digital Key will be also available via your Apple Watch. Setup of the Digital Key can be done through the BMW Connected App while the Digital Key is stored in Apple Wallet after setup.We are excited to announce the availability of Digital Key for iPhone for a broad range of models: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, X5, X6, X7, X5M, X6M and Z4 if manufactured after July 1st 2020. If your vehicle is capable it will be shown on the vehicle tab. Compatible iPhone models will be iPhone XR, iPhone XS or newer and Apple Watch Series 5 or newer. Make sure you always have the latest version to benefit from these updates. Stay connected and enjoy a seamless mobility experience!

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.