BMW 3 Owners & Service Manuals

BMW 3: Steptronic transmission: BMW Digital Key

BMW 3 Series G20 (2018-2023) Owners Manual / Opening and closing / Comfort Access / Steptronic transmission: BMW Digital Key


BMW Digital Key allows the vehicle to be unlocked and locked, as well as started, with a compatible smartphone.

General information

BMW Digital Key varies by country and may be unavailable.

To unlock and start a vehicle with a compatible smartphone, a digital key must be installed on this smartphone. Digital keys are installed, managed and forwarded via the BMW Connected app.

A driver profile with individual settings can be assigned to a digital key.

When using a smartphone with a digital key, always carry a vehicle key with you too, so the vehicle can still be accessed even if your smartphone is not working. It is also useful to carry the vehicle key with you if the vehicle has to be handed over to another person or a service center.

You can then hand over the vehicle key, instead of your smartphone.

Key card

The vehicle is delivered with a key card. The key card can be used in the same way as a compatible smartphone with a digital key.

A digital key that has already been paired with the vehicle is installed on the key card. The digital key must be activated via iDrive.

When you exit the vehicle, take the key card with you, as it can be used to start the vehicle.

Connection to the vehicle

The communication between the vehicle and the smartphone uses near-field communication, NFC.

The vehicle is unlocked with the outside door handle on the driver's side. The smartphone must be placed into the smartphone tray to pair a digital key and to start the engine.

The vehicle also detects a digital key when the smartphone is switched off.

Functional requirements

  • Active ConnectedDrive contract.
  • The BMW Connected app is installed on a compatible smartphone.
  • The rechargeable battery of the smartphone has a sufficient charge. The necessary minimum charge of the rechargeable battery depends on the smartphone.
  • A digital key for the vehicle is installed on the smartphone.
  • BMW Digital Key is activated for the vehicle.

Proving authorization

The vehicle owner must present proof of authorization for his vehicle at the service center to be able to use BMW Digital Key. It is possible to use the key card without proving authorization.

The vehicle owner configures a digital key code at the service center so that digital keys can be transferred at a later time.

Purchasing digital keys

An initial digital key is provided in the BMW Connected app when the vehicle is purchased.

Additional digital keys can be purchased via the BMW ConnectedDrive Store. The purchase of digital keys can cause costs.

The period of validity of a digital key is limited.

The expiration date of the validity can be checked in the BMW Connected app and in the vehicle.

If a digital key has expired, the vehicle can only be unlocked and locked for a limited period and a limited number of engine starts is possible. The corresponding information is shown on the Control Display.


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