BMW Digital CarKey

Apple Digital CarKey: What is it?

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Apple  released iOS 13.6 yesterday, which included support for digital car keys but exactly what is CarKey and who can use it?

CarKey allows you to unlock, lock, and start your compatible car with your iPhone, securely remove digital keys from a lost device via iCloud and share digital keys easily with iMessage.

Driver-specific profiles can be configured allowing shared keys for full-access or restricted driving, while power reserve will let you unlock and start your car for up to five hours after your iPhone runs out of battery.

Where to get the Digital Key

In cooperation with Apple, BMW is the first car maker in the world to offer customers a digital car key on their iPhone.

Currently, any BMW Series 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, X5, X6, X7, X5M, X6M, or Z4 can use CarKey – as long as the car was manufactured after 1 July 2020.

To see whether your vehicle is compatible, you can use the BMW Connected App. Use your iPhone to log into the app with your BMW ID and add your vehicle to your account, if it is not already shown on your account.


Download on App Store

Version: 10.8
Updated: July 2, 2020
Category: Travel
Requirements: iOS 11.0+
Price: Free
Developer: BMW Group
Contains Ads: No
In-App Purchases: No

QR Code

If you see a section marked “Digital Key” on the ”Vehicle tab”, then your vehicle is compatible. After you setup Digital Key, you will still be able to use your Digital Key even if you uninstall the BMW Connected app.

How to set up CarKey

If both your iPhone and your car are compatible, you can set up a Digital Key. If your BMW is not already linked to a BMW ID, use the BMW Connected app to add it to an existing BMW ID or to create a new BMW ID. First, create a BMW ID and use the BMW Connected app to add your vehicle.

To begin the setup process, access the Digital Key menu in the app. For security reasons, you must be sitting in your car and have both of your regular car keys with you in order to prove that you are the owner. 

Press the Start Pairing button, follow the instructions in the BMW Connected menu, and place your iPhone in the smartphone tray with the NFC sensor, and you’re done! Your Digital Key will then be stored in the Apple Wallet app.

Apple CarKey

How does CarKey work?

In order to unlock the driver’s door using the Digital Key, you must hold the top of your iPhone near the door handle (around 1.5 inches) until you see “Done” and a checkmark on the display”. Your iPhone will only unlock the driver’s side door. 

Using your BMW Digital Key for the first time is easy. Just place your iPhone in the smartphone tray of your vehicle and press the start/stop button.

Thanks to the preset Express Mode, your iPhone doesn’t need to be unlocked before opening the door or starting the car. You can disable this function manually, in which case identification via FaceID, TouchID or passcode is required to unlock and start the BMW.

And if someone else wants to drive your car, you can authorize up to five other people to use your BMW. All you need to do is send them an invitation from your iPhone’s Wallet App to add them as a user.