BMW is finally expanding support for its mobile car key technology, dubbed Digital Key Plus, to select Android phones running Android 13.1 or later. Digital Key Plus can now be set up via the My BMW App on compatible Google Pixel and Samsung devices, which includes the Pixel 7 Pro, Pixel 6 Pro, Galaxy S23 Plus / Ultra, Galaxy S22 Plus / Ultra, Galaxy S21 Plus / Ultra, Z Fold 3, Z Fold 4, and the Note 20 Ultra. Samsung phones will need to have the Samsung Wallet app installed to use the feature.
Digital Key Plus first debuted on iPhone and Apple Watch in 2021, and relies on ultra wideband (UWB) digital radio technology to allow BMW drivers to replace a traditional car key with their mobile device. The feature can be configured within the My BMW app based on proximity, such as unlocking a vehicle when it detects the user is approaching. Express Mode additionally allows users to lock, unlock, and remotely start their vehicles without needing to touch their phone, even up to five hours after the device dies from having its battery drained.
It’s been over two years since Samsung first teased that it was partnering with automakers like BMW, Audi, and Ford to bring the convenience of UWB to digital car keys. BMW Digital Key was released for Google Pixel 6 and Samsung Galaxy S21 devices in December 2021, though that version of the technology worked via NFC rather than UWB, requiring users to hold their phone next to the handle of the driver’s door to unlock the vehicle.
BMW claims that the precise localization of UWB virtually eliminates the risk of relay attacks that might try and jam or intercept radio signals. Users can also share access to their vehicle with up to five other people who have a supported Android or iOS phone. Right now Digital Key Plus for Android is only available for BMW vehicles produced from November 2022, though the German automaker has promised to eventually expand support to older compatible vehicles through future software updates.