Coding in iOS 14 reveals BMW's next secret feature.
It was just last month that coding was discovered in the background of Apple's new iOS 13.4 that suggested you'd be able to use your Apple device as a car key going forward - much the same way Tesla owners are currently able to through the Tesla Phone Key functionality. 9to5Mac has again managed to get a deeper look into the tech, as coding unveiled from within the depths of iOS 14 now points towards a partnership between BMW and Apple. A new 'CarKey' functionality has been found that's likely to be an exclusive feature between the two brands, possibly allowing you to access new BMW products like the upcoming BMW i4 electric sedan through your phone or smart device.
When enquiring with BMW for comment, the response was a fairly standard deflection that BMW "cannot confirm" or "give further details" on the matter, instead, asking anyone interested to refer to a December press release from the German manufacturer. In the press release, BMW confirms that keyless access and start is already possible using the BMW Digital Key as part of the BMW Connected Drive app suite.
The release also went on to state that a second-gen version of the NFC-based technology would be arriving late in 2019 using a security chip separate from the smartphone's operating system, negating the issue of a dead phone battery preventing the use of one's car. The release goes on to mention the Car Connectivity Consortium standardizing the Digital Key platform, and with Apple having worked with the CCC previously, it stands to reason Apple and BMW are in fact working together now.
The CCC recently unveiled version 2.0 of its Digital key technology, with the description sounding much like the tech involved in last month's iOS 13.4 CarKey function. With BMW already capable of using Digital Key 2.0, it's expected the technology will soon extend to other devices such as the Apple Watch. This would be a natural progression for BMW, as it has been an early adopter of other Apple tech in recent years such as being the first automaker to support wireless Apple CarPlay. The tech will enable you to lock and unlock your BMW, start your BMW, and even retain memory profiles for individual drivers, purely by wearing an Apple Watch or carrying your iPhone with you instead of a key.