This article was published on July 16, 2020

Apple CarKey is out, but you’ll need a new BMW to use it

BMWs made after July 1 are compatible

Apple CarKey is out, but you’ll need a new BMW to use it

The Apple iOS feature that replaces the need for those dumfungled car keys is now here for you to use, assuming you have a compatible iPhone and car.

Following the roll out of the iOS 13.6 and watchOS 6.2.8 update this week, CarKey, Apple’s feature that will let you unlock your car with your phone, is officially here, Engadget reports.

We’ve known about “Apple CarKey” for a while now. Some cunning sleuths at 9to5 Mac spotted the feature in the developer beta code for iOS 14. Then a month later, further leaked code suggested that the feature would come to BMW vehicles first.

[Read: Hurray! Nissan’s upcoming 300-mile Ariya EV will use CCS for fast-charging]

Last month, at its Worldwide Developer Conference, Apple officially confirmed the poorly kept secret of a feature.

In short, CarKey uses the iPhone Wallet app and the supporting carmaker’s app to pair with your car. The pairing process is much like any other NFC or Bluetooth devices, and once complete, you will be able to open your car by holding your phone near the vehicle’s external NFC contact.

bmw, carkey, apple
Credit: BMW
To use the Apple CarKey feature just hold it near the vehicle’s external NFC contact. On BMW this is usually the door handle.

The CarKey feature also lets you share digital vehicle keys with up to five people via iMessage, a great feature for families that share a vehicle.

As we know, this feature only work with BMW cars at the moment.

According to reports, any BMW Series 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, X5, X6, X7, X5M, X6M or Z4, manufactured after July 1, 2020, will be compatible. You’ll also need to be running iOS 13.6 and watchOS 5, or later.

At the moment, there’s no word on what automakers will support the feature next.

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