Expect Apple CarKey to make its debut on the new iOS 14 by September 2020. BMW will be the first carmaker to offer it on the new 2021 5 Series.
After becoming the first carmaker to debut iPod integration & wireless Apple CarPlay on its vehicles, BMW is once again set to become the first carmaker to offer support for its Digital Key via Apple Wallet on iPhone. The announcement was made at the recent Apple Worldwide Developer Conference. While the Apple CarKey (BMW Digital Key) will make its debut on the 2021 5 Series, Apple will roll out the feature on iOS 14, which is most likely to debut by September 2020. Compatible iPhone models include the iPhone XR, iPhone XS or newer.
With CarKey, car owners can simply use their iPhone to unlock/lock the vehicle. The digital key can be set up via the BMW Smartphone App. The vehicle access can also be shared with up to five people (via iMessage) and a special 'configurable car access' option allows the owner to restrict vehicle features, such as top speed, radio controls, etc. It's similar to the 'Valet Mode' in some high-end vehicles. The access management can be done from either inside the vehicle or remotely via Apple Wallet.
Additionally, the BMW Digital Key also creates a power reserve in the iPhone, so that the car key remains operational for up to five hours in case the iPhone is switched off due to low battery. The Digital Key also offers Apple Watch compatibility (Series 5 and newer).
At the Conference, BMW and Apple also announced a new feature for Apple Maps. Using CarPlay, EV drivers will soon be able to plan their journeys with better ease of mind, as Apple Maps will pick the optimal route based on electric range & the locations of charging stations along the way. This new route optimisation feature will make its debut on the all-electric BMW i4 next year.