Last year, BMW made a big deal about its Digital Key Plus feature for the iPhone, which lets drivers use their phones to unlock and start their cars. Now, BMW has finally brought the feature to select Android phones (Better late, than never). But not just any old Android phone - you need one of the latest Samsung or Google Pixel devices running Android 13 or later. It's like trying to get into a fancy club, except instead of a bouncer judging you, it's your phone's brand.
To make it work, BMW is using a technology called ultra-wideband (UWB) that enables secure communication between your phone and the car. BMW says the precision of UWB means there's almost no chance of someone hacking into your car by intercepting the signal. So now you can worry about other things, like what’s lined up on your playlist.
Since UWB is so precise, according to BMW, "the risk of relay attacks, where the radio signal is jammed or intercepted, is virtually eliminated," making it a more secure alternative to conventional keys.
To set it up, use the BMW app. This will ensure the Digital Key Plus will function in place of your actual key once it is activated. You may design the feature to do all kinds of neat tricks, for example, you can open your car as you go close to it ensuring you won't have to worry about searching through your luggage for your phone or your keys. Additionally, it can be set to lock as you exit the car, saving you the late-night treks to the driveway to make sure you locked the doors after bringing all those groceries inside.
But wait, there's more! The feature only works on vehicles produced in November 2022 or later. Sorry, folks, you can't just slap a Digital Key Plus on your beat-up old banger. If you want to share your key with others, you'll need to find up to five people who also have compatible phones. Quite the elitist secret club, if you ask us. Kind of like those super cool handshakes you had as a kid, except to be that cool, you now need to be able to afford a fancy car and the latest smartphone. Just be sure not to lose the phone!