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.


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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