Apple iPhone users will soon be able to lock, unlock and start their car using the smartphone’s near-field sensor technology and a new app called Digital Key.
The tech giant announced overnight that its latest devices with the near-field sensor technology will be able to lock and unlock certain BMW cars by ‘tapping’ or positioning their phone near the front door handles.
Once inside the car, the same technology will start the car at the press of a button.
Apple's version of the BMW Digital Key system joins the Android version announced in late 2019 and levels the playing field for mobile users of either platform, with Android Auto integration also set to arrive soon joining existing Apple CarPlay phone mirroring.
Apple and BMW say up to five people can be granted access to the same car, using a digital approval, and the owner will be able to restrict the vehicles power, top speed and audio volume.
If your phone battery goes flat, the car will still operate for up to five hours.
BMW says the technology will be compatible on almost every model in its range with its latest sensor key system, including certain variants of the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, X5, X6, X7, X5M, X6M and Z4 models manufactured after July 1 2020.
BMW has confirmed the technology will be available in 45 countries, including Australia from the end of 2020.
CarAdvice has been told the BMW 5 Series will be first car locally with the tech, followed by other models equipped with the optional 'Comfort Access' feature, when the door handles sense when the key is nearby.
While the technology is exclusive to BMW for the time being, it will be rolled out across other brands in the coming years.
Both Apple and BMW insist the technology is safe and cannot be breached, in much the same way Apple iPhone owners can use their devices for banking and at EFTPOS machines.
That BMW is the first car maker with this technology comes as a surprise given it was among the last to offer free Apple CarPlay in Australia.