08 Apr Digital Car Keys: What You Need To Know
Did you ever imagine that a time would come when you could unlock and even start your car just by tapping a few buttons on your mobile phone? Digital Car Keys is where we are at!
Vehicle and mobile phone manufacturers have partnered together to present to you the digital car key.
So what is a digital car key?
The idea, inspired by the fact that we literally always have our smartphones in our hands, even in places it shouldn’t be, if you know what I mean.
And from this, we can now use our smartphones to unlock car doors and start the car through a smartphone app. Super cool, right?
Several automakers already offer digital car key technology that comes with their new car models. For example, BMW is compatible with iPhones and Apple watches, and the Hyundai digital car key is compatible with Android devices.
It’s important to note that not just any iPhone or BMW is compatible. Only BMW cars built after Summer 2020 and the following devices; iPhone XR, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max or later, and Apple Watch Series 5 or later, are compatible with the BMW Digital Car Keys.
How Do They Work?
Download the car smartphone app for the digital car key. Once you’ve downloaded and installed the app, hold your phone up to your car door handle and it will unlock. Get into your car, place your phone on the wireless, push engine start and you’re ready to go.
The digital key uses Near Field Communication and a low energy Bluetooth connection to communicate with the car. In case your phone dies, you can still use the digital key but there are certain limitations.
And what happens if you lose your phone you may ask? Do you get locked out of your car forever? Yes, until you get a new phone that is, or get an actual key for the car. However, both BMW and Hyundai offer a credit card-style backup in case of such an emergency, that you can keep in your wallet or purse.
Lincoln Phone as a Key takes a different approach. You don’t need to take the phone out to open the door or start the vehicle. And if your phone has a dead battery, or you lost it, Lincoln allows owners to set a backup ignition passcode through the infotainment system. Aviator and Corsair owners can access the SUV using the code they set for the digital keypad on the outside of the SUV and then, once they’re inside, separately enter the backup ignition passcode to start the engine.
As is always true, opinions are split on whether using a digital key is a good idea. Originally, the Tesla Model 3 came only with a digital key but ultimately began offering good old-fashioned key fobs because, well, customers wanted them.
BMW, Hyundai, and Lincoln decide to be wise and opt-out of having an exclusively digital car key. But, depending on the model and equipment, it’s there if you decide you prefer this technology. That means you get to decide if it’s a good idea or not.
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Until next time, cheers!