This article was published on March 25, 2020

iOS 14 code hints at Apple’s clever CarKey feature arriving first on BMWs

Your car key, but it's in your phone

iOS 14 code hints at Apple’s clever CarKey feature arriving first on BMWs

Back in early February, Apple source code revealed it was working on a new feature to unlock your car, creatively called CarKey. And now, if iOS 14 code is anything to go by, we may have got an insight as to what cars will get it first.

[Read: EVs are better for the environment than cars — even when charged by coal-generated electricity]

According to the iOS 14 source code — seen by 9t05Mac — cars from German automaker BMW could be the first to support Apple’s CarKey.

When pressed, BMW didn’t confirm it was working with Cupertino tech giant. But it didn’t exactly deny any involvement with the project either.

Instead, BMW just referred reporters back to a press release it published last year, that says it’s working to “usher in a next generation Digital Key.”

EV, BMW, i4, tesla
Credit: BMW
BMW announced the hotly anticipated i4 this year. It’s still a little way off hitting the roads, but I’m calling it now, it’ll have a digital car key.

Using BMW’s Connected app, drivers of the German vehicles can already unlock their cars with their phones. However, it seems BMW is keen on making digital car keys more of a thing. According to the release, BMW is working with the Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC) to devise common standards for the industry.

Common standards

BMW also described its technical vision for its Digital Key, and it sounds eerily similar to what Apple announced earlier this year.

A key feature is the use of a security chip that works separately from the smartphone operating system. This means it also works if the smartphone cannot be started anymore, because the battery is too low.

Back in February, Apple also said that its CarKey feature will work even if your phone has run out of battery. It also said the system would pair with the car manufacturer’s app and use Apple Wallet to manage the key.

Oh, it’s probably worth pointing out that Apple is also part of the CCC.

Given the similarities, it certainly looks like BMW could be one of the first car brands to roll out support for Apple CarKey. When that will happen though, remains unknown.

If you’re interested in this kinda tech take a look at the CCC’s whitepaper on digital car key technology.

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