One of the features Apple spied on as included in iOS 15 is extended support for car keys, so you can unlock, lock and start the car without having to take your iPhone out of your pocket. Before iOS 15 was launched to the public this fall, the Car Connectivity Consortium has officially released the Digital Key Release 3.0 specification and made it available to members.
Apple is one of the members of the Car Connectivity Consortium. The new Digital Key Release 3.0 specification enables support for Ultra Wideband and Bluetooth Low Energy connectivity. This means that Apple’s car key function can now use the Ultra Wideband U1
Here’s how Apple describes this feature:
Unlock, lock and start your car without having to take your iPhone out of your bag or pocket. Ultra Wideband provides precise spatial awareness, and ensures that you can not lock the iPhone in the car or start the car when the iPhone is not inside.
There are also security improvements thanks to the use of Bluetooth Low Energy and Ultra Wideband:
The latest release addresses security and ease of use by authenticating the digital key between a vehicle and the mobile device via Bluetooth Low Energy. Mobile devices create and store the digital keys in a secure element that provides the highest level of protection against hardware or software-based attacks. UWB offers secure and accurate distance measurement that allows cars to find authentic mobile devices so that Release 3.0 not only prevents attacks, but also adds a new level of convenience when entering, interacting and starting the car.
The Digital Key Release 3.0 specification also maintains support for NFC to ensure backward compatibility, the CCC explains.
Car Key is supported on BMW cars, including models 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, X5, X6, X7, X5M, X6M and Z4 produced after 1 July 2020. Newer model cars will be able to to take advantage of the UWB features, but we are still waiting for more information about the specific adoption.
You can learn more about how the current version of Car Key works in our detailed guide here.
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