At the Apple Worldwide Developer Conference, Apple announced that BMW will become the first automaker to allow customers to use their iPhone as a digital car key to unlock/lock, and start their vehicle.
The BMW Digital Key allows the user to tap the door handle with their phone or watch to unlock, place the iPhone in the smartphone charging tray, and then push the start button to get moving.
Setup of the Digital Key can be done through the BMW Smartphone App, with other automakers following suit in similar ways. The car owner can also share access with up to 5 people, including configurable access for young drivers which restricts top speed, horsepower, max radio volume, and more. Management of access can be done from inside the car as well as through the Apple Wallet app.
The “key” will be stored in the Secure Element of the iPhone and accessible through Apple Wallet. It won’t be stored on a remote server somewhere to be hacked. If your device is lost, the key can be deleted remotely using iCloud.
A power reserve feature in the iPhone allows the NFC chip to function for up to five hours after the iPhone dies due to low battery, and if you own an Apple Watch Series 5, that can also act as a digital key.
How the Apple Watch will be required to be placed in the vehicle for starting has yet to be explained.
But all of this will seem cumbersome after Ultra Wideband