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How to Use the Digital Car Key Option on Your iPhone

Digital car keys are a useful new feature of several Apple devices. Once set up, you can unlock your car with your phone or watch. There is no need to carry keys around with you, whether that’s for a night on the town or a grueling hike through the mountains. Using the iPhone car key feature is the pinnacle of convenience. 


Compatible Apple Systems for iPhone Car Keys

Phones with iOS 13.6 or later:
·         iPhone SE (2nd generation)
·         iPhone 11 Pro
·         iPhone 11 Pro Max
·         iPhone 11 
·         iPhone XS
·         iPhone XS Max
·         iPhone XR
Watches with watchOS with 6.2.8 or later
·         Apple Watch Series 5

Prerequisites for Digital Car Keys

·         An account with the car’s manufacturer
·         Apple ID signed onto the device(s)
·         Passcode, Touch ID, or Face ID enabled

Compatible Vehicles

·         BMW 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, X5, X6, X7, X5M, X6M, and Z4 models manufactured after July 1, 2020

Step 1: The Car Manufacturer’s App

The first step in connecting your car keys to your iPhone is signing into the car manufacturer’s application on your phone. The app will walk you through creating the digital car key for your particular model. Then you can save the key to your Apple Wallet.

Step 2: The Key Reader

Setting up the digital car key in your Apple Wallet does not end at creating the key. Your next step is placing your iPhone by the key reader on your car, following instructions on the screen. This will pair your iPhone to the vehicle and allow you to actually use the digital key.

Step 3: Additional Options for Creating iPhone Car Keys

The manufacturer’s app mentioned in step one is not the only option for establishing digital car keys. In some cases, when you create an account for your car, the manufacturer will send you an email with digital car key instructions. Additionally, your vehicle may also contain instructions for the iPhone car key set up in the display under key settings.

Step 4: Adding the Watch

If your Apple Watch is already paired to your iPhone, then the setup will ask you if you want to add the key once you have created the key. If this does not occur, you can add the iPhone car key to your Apple Watch by going into the Apple Wallet settings within the My Watch application. Simply tap add, and your Apple Watch can unlock your car.

Step 5: Managing iPhone Car Keys

To share your digital car keys with someone who also has a compatible device, locate the key within your Apple Wallet, and tap it. Then click the three dots. From here, you can invite people to use the key, revoke access, or even remove the key. Make sure you know the phone number of the person you would like to share your iPhone car keys with before you begin.

Bonus Tip: Express Mode

Express mode is enabled by default and allows you to unlock your car simply by holding your iPhone or Apple Watch near the lock reader. If you disable express mode in your Apple Wallet settings, your device will require that you find the digital car key and use your passcode, Touch ID, or Face ID before the car unlocks.

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