Apple, which was once a pioneer of innovations in smartphones, now wants the iPhone to replace your car keys. The tech company announced at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference, a new feature that uses the smartphone to unlock and start a car. Apple will first roll out the feature on the 2021 BMW 5 Series, and will eventually expand to other cars.
A driver can tap the door handle with their iPhone to unlock the sedan. Then drivers place the iPhone on the car’s charging pad and push the ignition button to start the car. The Apple technology relies on what’s known as Near Field Communication, which allows devices within a few centimeters of each other to exchange data wirelessly. Apple plans to transition to using a different technology, ultra wideband, which will allow for unlocking from greater distances. An iPhone could remain in a driver’s pocket or bag.
BMW owners will also be able to share the virtual car key with friends through iMessage. Volvo offers a similar service in which keys can be shared with smartphones