Owners of recent models of Tesla, like the Model 3, have been enjoying the virtual key lifestyle for some time.
Now, Apple wants to bring keyless entry with ios mainstream, by baking virtual car keys into iOS 14 — and even iOS 13 — with BMW as its first partner.
These virtual car keys are exactly as they sound like: digital keys that allow you to open and unlock your car just by using the NFC chip in recent iPhones (without the presence of the physical key). No more fumbling for keys at the bottom of your purse or cargo shorts; just grab your phone and away you go.
An even more impressive feature of this is that, virtual keys in your Apple Wallet will enable you to quickly and easily create other virtual keys and send them via iMessage. This means you can give permissions to your kids, parents or friends without having to give them a physical key or get a new key cut — or replaced. Of course, when sharing these virtual keys, you have the power to limit the features or functions the user can perform with them. You can also choose to give him or her access to all functions.
BMW will be the first partner, but Apple is working to bring the tech to other makes.
The technology is built on the iPhone’s UWB U1 chip, which Apple says will eventually allow all manufacturers to securely and reliably detect the phone’s proximity and position, even if it’s buried in your purse. But, for now, it’ll just be in the new 2021 BMW 5 Series, with other manufacturers coming next year. Given it’s part of the Car Connectivity Consortium, it shouldn’t take long to spread.