BMW has announced support for certain compatible Android phones from Google and Samsung for its Digital Key feature. This feature allows drivers to use their smartphone as a digital key to unlock and start their vehicle without needing a physical key fob.
The feature has long been available to Apple’s iPhone and Apple Watch devices since 2020 beginning with Car Key function on the My BMW App and the Digital Key Plus in 2021 at CES, which took advantage of the U1 chip in Apple’s iPhone X phones to make Car Keys even smarter and safer in the BMW iX; now it comes to Android OS.
The feature relies on Ultra-Wideband (UWB) and Near-Field Communication (NFC) chips found on select Galaxy phones and Google Pixel phones. The supported BMW models include the 1-8, Z4, X5-X7, iX, i5 and iX4 series.
The Digital Key feature uses Bluetooth technology to communicate between the phone and the car, allowing the user to lock and unlock the doors, start the engine, and share access with other users. It offers added security features such as face recognition and fingerprint authentication to ensure the user’s identity before unlocking the car.
List of Supported Devices
- Samsung devices
- Galaxy S23 Plus
- Galaxy S23 Ultra
- Galaxy Z Fold 4
- Galaxy S22 Plus
- Galaxy S22 Ultra
- Galaxy Z Fold 3
- Samsung Galaxy S21+
- S21 Ultra
- S21 FE
- Note20 Ultra 5G
- S20 Ultra
- S20 FE 5G
- Google Devices
- Google Pixel 6
- Google Pixel 6 Pro
- Google Pixel 7 Pro
High convenience and high security based on ultra-wideband.
A smartphone with Digital Key Plus completely replaces the vehicle key with extended functionality made possible using ultra-wideband technology (UWB). This is a digital radio technology for close range with high bandwidth, which features very precise localization with the maximum possible security. The precision of UWB also ensures that the risk of relay attacks, where the radio signal is jammed or intercepted, is virtually eliminated. BMW worked in collaboration with key partners to develop the corresponding specification and established it as a global standard for the automotive industry via the Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC). The CCC is the global driving force for vehicle connectivity for all smart mobile devices.
The BMW Digital Key Plus can be set up using the My BMW App. The owner can also share it – and therefore access to the vehicle – with up to five other users who have smartphones with either Android or iOS.
Express Mode adds to the convenience of Digital Key Plus by allowing users to lock/unlock and start their vehicle without unlocking their phone, even up to five hours after the phone’s battery has completely drained.
Digital Key support may vary depending on the car model and region, so it’s best to check with BMW and the phone manufacturer for specific details. To use the Pixel or Galaxy as a BMW digital key, you need to download the My BMW app from the Play Store. The software allows vehicle owners to share their keys with up to five friends and family who have compatible devices if needed, as well as open trunks and control other vehicle features.