As part of the unveiling of iOS 14, the latest version of its mobile device operating system, Apple revealed a new feature: the ability to use your iPhone as the keys to your car. The first automaker to offer compatibility with that feature is BMW, which will include it as part of the upcoming 5 Series.
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Compatibility will also extend to almost every BMW model manufactured after July 1. Besides the 5 Series, the list of compatible vehicles sold in the U.S. includes:
- 2 Series
- 3 Series
- 4 Series
- 8 Series
- X5 and X5 M
- X6 and X6 M
Conspicuously absent from that list are the X3 and X4 SUVs and the 7 Series sedan. Those models will most likely include compatibility as part of upcoming redesigns or refreshes. Also not included are the i3 and i8, both of which will be discontinued.
Using their iPhone or Apple Watch, owners can tap a button to unlock the car. Once inside, placing the phone in the smartphone tray enables the driver to start the car. The feature allows for sharing of the digital key up to five times and for use restrictions to be put in place — speed limits, horsepower limits and maximum radio volume limits, among others — if, for example, you share the keys to your BMW with a younger or less experienced driver.
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Compatible Apple devices include “iPhone XR, iPhone XS and later, iPhone SE (2nd generation) and Apple Watch Series 5,” according to Apple and BMW. The key can be accessed via Apple Wallet, and will work for up to five hours after a user’s iPhone has shut down because of a low battery.
Apple also announced a new “smart route” feature for Apple Maps that will help owners of electric BMWs plan trips to take into account the location of and eventual need for vehicle charging. BMW says the feature will debut on the upcoming all-electric i4, which launches in 2021.
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