Apple acquires keyless entry with iOS, coming first in BMW 5 Series


The physical keys are so 2019.


If you own a recent Tesla, like the Model 3, chances are you’ve been enjoying the key virtual lifestyle for some time. Now Apple wants to bring it into the mainstream, by baking the car’s virtual keys (but not the CarKeys) in iOS 14 – and even iOS 13 – with BMW as the first partner.

Virtual car keys are exactly what they seem: digital keys that allow you to unlock and unlock your car simply by using the NFC chip on recent iPhones. No more searching for keys at the bottom of your bag or cargo shorts; just grab your phone and voila. But, most impressively, the virtual keys in your Apple Wallet will allow you to create virtual keys quickly and easily and send them through iMessage, which means that you can grant permissions to your children, parents or friends without having to obtain a new key cut, or replaced.


BMW will be the first partner, but Apple is working to bring the technology to other brands.


The technology is based on the iPhone UWB U1 chip, which Apple says will eventually allow all manufacturers to safely and reliably detect the phone’s proximity and position, even if it’s buried in their purse. But, for now, it will only be in the new 2021 BMW 5 Series, with other manufacturers that will come next year. Since it is part of the Car Connectivity ConsortiumIt shouldn’t take long to spread.

Again, this is functionality similar to what Tesla currently offers with the Model 3, and what BMW currently offers with Android based devices. So it is not exactly the first time, but it is something we are very happy to see.

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Apple turns your iPhone into a digital car key