BMW Announces Latest Vehicles That Can Be Unlocked With Your iPhone in Your Pocket

BMW this week announced two new vehicles with support for its Digital Key Plus feature, including the 2023 X1 and an all-new electric SUV called the iX1.

bmw digital key plus wallet app car key
Digital Key Plus allows for compatible BMW vehicles to be locked, unlocked, or started with an iPhone or Apple Watch, eliminating the need for a physical key. The standard NFC version of the feature requires the iPhone or Apple Watch to be held near the driver-side door to unlock the vehicle, but Digital Key Plus utilizes Ultra Wideband technology to detect when you are near the vehicle, allowing you to keep your iPhone in your pocket.

Digital Key Plus also improves security, as Ultra Wideband's precise location awareness helps to prevent relay attacks, where the radio signal between the iPhone and vehicle is jammed or intercepted by another party.


Digital Key Plus requires an iPhone 11 or newer, or an Apple Watch Series 6 or newer, with the digital keys stored in Apple's built-in Wallet app. The feature is gradually rolling out to more BMW models, such as the 2022 iX and now the 2023 X1 and iX1. BMW also offers the standard NFC-based Digital Key feature on a wider range of 2021 and newer vehicles, with a complete list available on Apple's website.

Digital Key Plus can be set up using the My BMW app, and digital keys can be shared with up to five other users. Even if your iPhone runs out of battery, the feature still works for up to five additional hours through a Power Reserve mode.

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Top Rated Comments

bobob Avatar
28 months ago
How in the world do you place your BMW in your pocket?
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iGeneo Avatar
28 months ago

This is such a cool feature, I had it in 2019 on my Tesla Model 3?
The same Tesla with the ridiculous panel gaps and no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto?
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macman01101 Avatar
28 months ago
I have a BMW and love it, but they're the worst when it comes to nickel and dime-ing you for ongoing SaaS type features.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Djerro123 Avatar
28 months ago
This is such a cool feature, I had it in 2019 on my Tesla Model 3?
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dlewis23 Avatar
28 months ago
I really love having a phone as a key. I really hated carrying keys around in my pocket.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dontwalkhand Avatar
28 months ago

This is such a cool feature, I had it in 2019 on my Tesla Model 3?
Tesla (and now Ford, Lincoln, Toyota, and Lexus) uses Bluetooth, not UWB. Functionally, to the end user, it isn't any different, but it is a tad more reliable than Bluetooth Keys. The Apple implementation however, will allow you to still get into your car 5 hours after the phone has died, whereas with bluetooth keys, you better hope you carry the card (Tesla) or key fobs (Ford, Lincoln, Toyota, and Lexus) with you as a backup, or at the very least, a power bank.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)