BMW has worked closely with tech giants Google and Apple to make the Digital Key more usable by implementing support for sharing across iPhone and Android devices. Up until now, it was only possible via Apple iMessage. With the latest update, the key can be sent by SMS, e-mail, or a messaging app such as WhatsApp. Better yet, the recipient doesn’t need a BMW ID or a specific app to access the key.
If the sender and recipient are together, the Digital Key can also be passed around by using Apple AirDrop or Android Nearby Share. For security purposes, BMW points out an activation code might be necessary for certain situations. The cross-platform key-sharing capability is available for all new models equipped with the BMW Digital Key or BMW Digital Key Plus.
For older compatible vehicles, the feature will be unlocked following a Remote Software Upgrade. These cars must have an infotainment system running on the “22-11” software version or newer. Initially, it’ll only work on iPhones running iOS 16.1 or later and the following Google smartphones: Pixel 7, Pixel 7 Pro, Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro running Android 13 or later.
The good news is Samsung devices will be added soon. BMW has already worked with the South Korean company to implement the functionality and will be available shortly. It’s unclear which smartphones will be compatible, but logic tells us the most recent Galaxy S devices are going to work.
The German luxury marque has collaborated with Apple, Google, and Samsung as part of the Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC) to turn a smartphone into a digital key for ease of access. As some of you will recall, the Digital Key was initially an iOS-only affair before Android support was added near the end of last year for select Samsung and Google smartphones.