Apple's Digital Car Key Feature Will Soon Work With Your iPhone in Your Pocket

The Car Connectivity Consortium today announced that its Digital Key 3.0 specification with support for Ultra Wideband and Bluetooth LE connectivity is finalized and now available to members, including Apple.

bmw car key photo
In 2020, Apple introduced a digital car key feature that allows users to unlock and start a compatible vehicle by holding an iPhone or Apple Watch near the driver-side door. The feature is powered by the NFC-based Digital Key 2.0 specification, and once Apple moves to Digital Key 3.0, users will be able to unlock and start a compatible vehicle without needing to take their iPhone out of their pocket or bag.

The improved Ultra Wideband version of Apple's car key feature would require devices with the U1 chip like iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 models.

Digital Key 3.0 also improves security, as Ultra Wideband's precise location awareness is said to prevent relay attacks, where the radio signal between the iPhone and vehicle is jammed or intercepted by another party. NFC support is maintained to ensure backward compatibility and, in Apple's case, the ability to use the car key feature to unlock a vehicle for up to five hours after an iPhone has run out of battery power.

Similar to credit cards and boarding passes, digital car keys are stored in the Wallet app on an iPhone or Apple Watch running iOS 13.6 or watchOS 6.2.8 or newer. So far, the feature is only compatible with select BMW models manufactured since July 2020, but a Korean report claimed that Hyundai plans to start offering the feature later this year.

Apple previously said the new version of its car key feature with Ultra Wideband support would be available in 2021, but the company did not provide an exact timeframe. BMW previously said its first vehicle with support for Digital Key 3.0 would be available in Europe starting in late 2021 and in North America by early 2022.

Top Rated Comments

Hajj.david Avatar
18 months ago

FWIW, if I approach my BMW with its BMW key in my pocket, The door(s) will unlock when I touch the door handle. It can be set to unlock all doors or just the driver's door. When I get out and walk away, the doors, will lock without me having to do anything but walk away.
Hard to see the iPhone/watch digital key improving on this.
Not having your key is the glaringly obvious improvement. One less thing to carry
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Saladin12 Avatar
18 months ago

Disagree...MORE KEYLESS ENTRIES=MORE HACKABLE ENTRIES=NO THANKS
I could be wrong but I’m pretty sure modern day car keys are more at risk of ‘hacking’ than this new digital key…
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cmcbhi Avatar
18 months ago
FWIW, if I approach my BMW with its BMW key in my pocket, The door(s) will unlock when I touch the door handle. It can be set to unlock all doors or just the driver's door. When I get out and walk away, the doors, will lock without me having to do anything but walk away.
Hard to see the iPhone/watch digital key improving on this.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
rymc02 Avatar
18 months ago

Disagree...MORE KEYLESS ENTRIES=MORE HACKABLE ENTRIES=NO THANKS
Keyless cars are stolen all the time in our neighborhood. They usually do it with a relay/repeater. One person stands near the house door and picks up the car key signal which most people leave near the door. A second person stands near the car that picks up the relay and sends it to the car. Boom, car is unlocked and ready to start. These devices are not expensive. If you only use your phone as your key, your primary car keys can always be kept in a safe place, preferably an aluminum box.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macpro2000 Avatar
18 months ago
A lot easier for your phone to die than your key.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Cheesehead Dave Avatar
18 months ago

A lot easier for your phone to die than your key.
One of the features of the specification is that it will still work even when your phone's battery is low, similar to express transit cards.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

apple wallet drivers license feature

Apple Launches Driver's License Feature on iPhone in Arizona, More States Coming Soon

Wednesday March 23, 2022 8:02 am PDT by
Apple today announced that Arizona has become the first U.S. state to support driver's licenses and state IDs in the Wallet app on the iPhone and Apple Watch. Starting today, Apple said Arizona residents can add their driver's license or state ID to the Wallet app, and tap their iPhone or Apple Watch to seamlessly and securely present it at select TSA security checkpoints in Phoenix Sky...
m1 ultra performance chart

M1 Ultra Doesn't Beat Out Nvidia's RTX 3090 GPU Despite Apple's Charts

Thursday March 17, 2022 1:17 pm PDT by
Despite Apple's claims and charts, the new M1 Ultra chip is not able to outperform Nvidia's RTX 3090 in terms of raw GPU performance, according to benchmark testing performed by The Verge. When the M1 Ultra was introduced, Apple shared a chart that had the new chip winning out over the "highest-end discrete GPU" in "relative performance," without details on what tests were run to achieve...
vanarama apple car concept

Apple Suppliers Envisioning Long-Term Apple Car Supply Chain

Thursday March 3, 2022 4:43 am PST by
Apple suppliers are positioning to manufacture and assemble the company's long-rumored electric vehicle (EV), according to a report from DigiTimes. Apple Car concept render by Vanarama based on patents filed by Apple The report claims that Foxconn, the colossal manufacturer behind most iPhone models, and Luxshare Precision, the assembler behind Apple devices such as AirPods, are angling to...
apple wallet drivers license feature

Apple Announces iPhone Driver's Licenses Coming Soon to These 11 U.S. States

Wednesday March 23, 2022 11:52 am PDT by
Apple today announced that Arizona residents can now add their driver's license or state ID to the Wallet app on the iPhone and Apple Watch, providing a convenient and contactless way to display proof of identity or age. Arizona is the first U.S. state to offer this feature to residents, with many other states planning to follow suit. Apple said that Colorado, Hawaii, Mississippi, Ohio, and...
vanarama apple car concept

British Car Leasing Company Creates 'Apple Car' 3D Render Based on Patents

Friday December 10, 2021 4:29 am PST by
British vehicle leasing company Vanarama has taken a stab at imagining what the first Apple Car could look like, taking inspiration from iPhones, MacBooks, and other Apple products, and combining them with real Apple patents to come up with a 3D concept render that can be explored inside and out. Given that Apple remains tight-lipped about its electric self-driving car plans, the concept is ...
bmw car key photo

Apple's Digital Car Key Feature Set to Gain U1 Ultra Wideband Support With Mid-2021 Spec Update

Tuesday April 20, 2021 7:06 am PDT by
The Car Connectivity Consortium today announced that its Digital Key 3.0 specification with support for Ultra Wideband and Bluetooth LE connectivity will be made available to members like Apple by the middle of 2021. At WWDC 2020, Apple introduced a new NFC-based digital Car Key feature that allows users to unlock and start their vehicle by holding a compatible iPhone or Apple Watch near...
Apple car wheel icon feature triad

Apple Car Hardware Engineer Leaves for Air Taxi Startup

Wednesday December 1, 2021 2:31 pm PST by
Apple's Car project recently lost one of its engineering directors, with Michael Schwekutsch departing the company to join air taxi startup Archer Aviation. As discovered by CNBC, Schwekutsch updated his LinkedIn profile to note that he has taken on a role of senior vice president of engineering at Archer. Archer is an aerospace company that is developing an all-electric aircraft that...
Apple car wheel icon feature yellow

Apple Working Toward Fully Autonomous Car With No Steering Wheel or Pedals, Aiming to Launch in 2025

Thursday November 18, 2021 9:47 am PST by
Apple is picking up its work on an Apple-designed car and is aiming to create a fully autonomous vehicle, reports Bloomberg. Apple is "refocusing" the project around full self-driving vehicles, a goal that other car manufacturers have not been able to achieve. Work on an Apple Car began way back in 2014, and since then, the project has gone through multiple transformations. At one point,...

Popular Stories

Emergency SOS via Satellite iPhone YT

Apple's iPhone 14 Emergency SOS via Satellite Feature Saves Stranded Man in Alaska

Thursday December 1, 2022 4:37 pm PST by
With the launch of iOS 16.1, Apple rolled out a Emergency SOS via Satellite, which is designed to allow iPhone 14 owners to contact emergency services using satellite connectivity when no cellular or WiFi connection is available. The feature was put to the test in Alaska today, when a man became stranded in a rural area. In the early hours of the morning on December 1, Alaska State Troopers ...
General iOS 16 Feature Yellow

iOS 16.2 for iPhone Launching This Month With These 8 New Features

Thursday December 1, 2022 8:44 am PST by
Apple plans to publicly release iOS 16.2 for the iPhone in mid-December, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. The update remains in beta testing for now, with at least eight new features and changes already uncovered so far. iOS 16.2 introduces a number of new features, including Apple's new whiteboard app Freeform, two new Lock Screen widgets for Sleep and Medications, the ability to hide...
iOS 16

Apple Releases iOS 16.1.2 With Carrier Improvements and Crash Detection Optimizations

Wednesday November 30, 2022 10:09 am PST by
Apple today released iOS 16.1.2, another minor bug fix update that comes one week after the release of iOS 16.1.1 and three weeks after the launch of iOS 16.1, an update that added support for iCloud Shared Photo Library, Matter, Live Activities, and more. The iOS 16.1.2 update can be downloaded on eligible iPhones over-the-air by going to Settings > General > Software Update. According...
iPad 10 Battery Pull Tabs

iPad 10 Teardown Reveals Why Device Isn't Compatible With Apple Pencil 2

Thursday December 1, 2022 10:48 am PST by
Do-it-yourself repair website iFixit today shared a video teardown of Apple's new 10th-generation iPad, providing a closer look inside the tablet and revealing why the device lacks support for the second-generation Apple Pencil. The teardown reveals the internal layout of the iPad, including its two-cell 7,606 mAh battery, logic board with the A14 Bionic chip, and more. As suspected, the...
iOS 16

When Will iOS 16.2 Be Released?

Friday December 2, 2022 2:13 pm PST by
Apple in late October began testing iOS 16.2 and iPadOS 16.2 updates, providing betas to both developers and public beta testers. As of now, we've had four total betas, with the fourth beta having been released earlier this week. iOS 16.2 and iPadOS 16.2 are expected before the end of the year, and we thought we'd try to narrow down the launch timeline. With only four betas released since...
14 vs 16 inch mbp m2 pro and max feature 1

Major RAM Upgrade Coming to Next-Generation MacBook Pro

Friday December 2, 2022 2:03 am PST by
The next-generation MacBook Pro models could feature faster RAM, according to a recent report from a reliable source. MacRumors Forums member "Amethyst," who accurately revealed details about the Mac Studio and Studio Display before those products were announced, recently provided information about Apple's upcoming 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro models. The new machines are expected to feature...
iOS 16

Apple Still Has These 5 Things to Release Heading Into 2023

Thursday December 1, 2022 7:12 am PST by
The calendar has turned to December and that means Apple has only one month left to fulfill its promises of releasing an Apple Music Classical app and expanding its self-service repair program to Europe before the end of 2022. Delays are always possible, of course, so the plans could be pushed back to 2023. In any case, we have put together a list of five things that Apple still has to release...
iOS 16

Apple Seeds Fourth Betas of iOS 16.2 and iPadOS 16.2 [Update: Public Beta Available]

Thursday December 1, 2022 10:16 am PST by
Apple today seeded the fourth betas of upcoming iOS 16.2 and iPadOS 16.2 updates to developers for testing purposes, with the betas coming two weeks after Apple seeded the third betas of iOS 16.2 and iPadOS 16.2. Registered developers are able to download the iOS 16‌.2 and iPadOS 16.2 profiles from the Apple Developer Center, and once installed, the beta is available over the air. iOS...
iPhone Measure Height

Newer iPhones Allow You to Measure Someone's Height Instantly — Here's How

Saturday December 3, 2022 10:23 am PST by
iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max, iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max, and iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max models feature a LiDAR Scanner next to the rear camera that can be used to measure a person's height instantly in Apple's preinstalled Measure app. To measure a person's height, simply open the Measure app, point your iPhone at the person you want to measure, and make sure they are visible on the screen from...
apple ar headset concept 2

Apple Now Calling AR/VR Headset Operating System 'xrOS'

Thursday December 1, 2022 12:57 pm PST by
Apple has decided to call the software that will run on its upcoming AR/VR headset "xrOS," an update from the original "RealityOS or "rOS" naming the company was planning on, according to Bloomberg. Render created by Ian Zelbo based on rumored information The name change comes as Apple begins to prepare for the launch of the headset, which is expected at some point in 2023. The headset will...