Key fobs will soon be consigned to the history books.
BMW has rapidly been announcing new technology on its recent models, like the introduction of Android Auto on the facelifted 2021 BMW 5 Series. Android Auto isn't the only big addition to the new 5 Series, as Apple has just announced a new digital key feature for the iPhone at its Worldwide Developer Conference. The new 5 Series will be the first vehicle on the market to support BMW Digital Key for iPhone, which can be stored on the Apple Wallet.
This feature isn't technically all-new for BMW but previously required an Android device. BMW and Apple have enjoyed a long history of collaboration starting with iPod integration and more recently including wireless CarPlay compatibility.
With BMW Digital Key, 5 Series owners can place their iPhone in the smartphone tray, then start the car using the start button with no physical key fob needed. The setup for this process is completed on the BMW Smartphone App and access can be shared with five friends, making it perfect for a multi-driver household. Parents can even create specific profiles for young drivers that limit the top speed, horsepower, radio volume, and more.
If you are worried about not being able to get in your car when your iPhone battery runs out, BMW says the Digital Key can use the Power Reserve feature to stay active for up to five hours after the phone shuts off.
Along with the new key feature, BMW and Apple have also worked on a new feature for CarPlay that will factor charging stops into your navigation route which will be integrated into the BMW i4 when it launches next year.
BMW says the Digital Key feature will be rolled out to other models including the 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, and 8 Series, as well as the X5, X6, X7, X5 M, X6 M, and Z4. Any model manufactured after July 1st, 2020 should include Digital Key, compatible with iPhone XR, iPhone XS, or newer plus the Apple Watch Series 5 or newer.