BMW Vehicles First to Offer Apple Digital Key with iOS 13.6 Update

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What are virtual auto keys?

The world's leading American company Apple will soon introduce a feature called CarKey on its iOS software.

Apple iPhone and Watch users will soon be able to securely unlock their cars with digital keys and BMW will support this feature first.

In an associated support guide, BMW highlighted several features of its Digital Key, such as the ability to tap-to-unlock a BMW and start the auto by placing a device in a compatible Qi wireless charging tray.

The technology - which BMW is calling Digital Key but is also known as Apple CarKey - was announced at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference.

Apple has developed a feature to unlock new BMWs with the iPhone
BMW Vehicles First to Offer Apple Digital Key with iOS 13.6 Update

As such it doesn't mean that simply because your vehicle has a keyless entry system, it will be able to utilise the digital auto keys solution, as Apple explained in a developer video earlier this week. However, Apple's implementation is slightly different by letting owners share the digital key.

Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering, said of traditional vehicle keys: "They've been around for over 100 years but they've become big, bulky and ripe for reimagining".

Apple previous year introduced the 18W charger and a fast-charging feature that'll charge a compatible iPhone or iPad in a fraction of the time. Users can then place the iPhone in the smartphone tray and push the engine start / stop button to start the auto. Apple could be expected for later this year iPhone 12 models attach a new power supply for faster charging. That new addition, which is already a part of the latest beta version, has shamed TikTok and many other apps - that were accessing user data through the clipboard. Apple said it will transition to ultra wideband in the next iteration of CarKey, which will allow the feature to function at greater distances and will permit the driver to leave the iPhone in a bag or pocket.

Apple and BMW have been working with the Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC) to press ahead with the establishment of global standards. They include the BMW 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 and Z4 cars and X5, X6, X7, X5M and X6M Sport Activity Vehicles (SAV).

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In addition, users can also now choose app screens they want to hide and instead jump to the library to find the app they want. New privacy features offer more transparency and control, as apps are now required to receive permission before tracking.

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