New BMW owners will be able to unlock their car with an iPhone from the fourth quarter of this year in Australia.

    Apple CarKey-compatible BMW models will start arriving Down Under late in 2020, the company has confirmed.

    CarExpert understands the facelifted 5 Series sedan is likely to be the first car offered with the technology.

    Apple yesterday used its annual WWDC event to confirm CarKey will feature on all BMW models built after July 1 except the X1, X2, X3, X4, and 7 Series.

    Owners of compatible cars can pair their vehicle to an iPhone, and store a digital key in the phone’s secure enclave. Similarly to a credit card or airline boarding pass, the key can be accessed through the Apple Wallet application.

    Thanks to the phone’s near-field communication (NFC) equipment, holding the phone near the door handles will authenticate the key and unlock the car.

    The digital key can be shared with up to five people. The owner can set access restrictions, as well as limits for top speed, power, and radio volume for each of the keys – so if the kids borrow the car, you can keep them in check.

    Even if it shuts down because of a flat battery, the phone’s reserve power supply allows users to use the digital key for five more hours.

    CarKey should work on iPhone models newer than the XR and XS, as well as Apple Watch Series 5 and above.

    It’s understood CarKey is Apple’s implementation of the Digital Key Release 2.0 standard by the Car Connectivity Consortium, so it’s highly likely other carmakers will begin offering virtual key-compatible vehicles in the near future.

    Carmakers part of the consortium include Fiat Chrysler, Ford, GM, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Renault, Rivian, Subaru, Suzuki, Toyota, Volkswagen, and Volvo.

    The new CarKey system was announced alongside an updated version of Apple CarPlay.

    Scott Collie

    Scott Collie is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Scott studied journalism at RMIT University and, after a lifelong obsession with everything automotive, started covering the car industry shortly afterwards. He has a passion for travel, and is an avid Melbourne Demons supporter.

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