BMW has announced the availability of the Digital Key that was only available on Apple iPhones, now been extended to selected Android-based smartphones.

First introduced in June 2020 with Apple, BMW was the first automaker in the world to offer customers a digital car key on their iPhone. Apart from locking and unlocking the driver’s door, starting or stopping the engine is also permitted with the BMW Digital Key, when placed at the wireless charging pad. The Digital Key was first featured in the facelifted BMW 5 Series.

The latest BMW Digital Key uses the new My BMW App as well as highly advanced smartphones that have been fitted with the latest ultra-wideband (UWB) technology, a short-range wireless communication protocol that offers precise tracking and positioning of devices with high-speed data transmission.

BMW owners in the US, the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain can use both the Samsung Galaxy S21, S21+, S21 Ultra and Google Pixel 6/Pixel 6 Pro to activate the Digital Key.

Meanwhile, owners in South Korea can only use the said Samsung Galaxy S21 models, while BMW owners in Canada, Ireland, Japan, Taiwan and Australia will need to get a Google Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro to leave their BMW Comfort Access keys at home and enjoy the Digital Key.

Closer to home, only Google Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro users in Singapore is listed as able to use the new feature. Both of these smartphones have been updated with the Android 12 operating system.

As technology advances, expect more Android-based smartphones to be compatible with the BMW Digital Key. However, the vehicle also needs to have the highest communications package called BMW Connected Package Professional or ConnectedDrive that includes services such as voice-activation Intelligent Personal Assistant, Intelligent Emergency Call, Concierge Services, Remote Services and Teleservices together with the smartphone wireless charging tray.

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In Malaysia, BMW Group Malaysia offers the Digital Key function in very selected models, such as the BMW M135i xDrive, M340i xDrive, 430i M Sport, both the M3 and M4 Competition models, the 8 Series range and SAVs from the locally-assembled BMW X5 xDrive45e plug-in hybrid to the latest BMW X7 xDrive40i.

BMW Thailand meanwhile offers the Digital Key in all three variants of the facelifted 2021 BMW 5 Series. The four doors also come with the soft-close feature as standard.