Owners of BMW vehicles with either iDrive 7 or 8 will soon have new features to fiddle with. The automaker’s latest free over-the-air Remote Software Upgrade will bring new functionality to existing cars.
BMW has made it easier to use the Digital Key, allowing Apple and Android users to share it between devices for the first time. Owners will also be able to activate it with a simple code, whereas before, they needed to have the conventional key located in the passenger compartment during the process.
Gallery: 2023 BMW iX M60
Certain cars in certain countries will get a new remote control parking feature. It will allow owners to remotely park their cars from outside the vehicle through the My BMW App, including manoeuvres recorded in the car’s Manoeuvring Assistant.
In the US, owners will now be able to add AT&T to their car’s mobile network operator, integrating iDrive 8 with the owner’s existing mobile phone contract. This will allow owners to make phone calls from the vehicle without their smartphone and give the car data and WiFi capabilities.
Other new features are more specific to certain models. For example, the iX will now be able to stop charging and unlock the charging cable lock via the My BMW App. The iX, Active Tourer, and X1 with the optional Parking Assistant will get active steering assistance when reversing a coupled trailer. Some vehicles, like the new 7 Series and X1, will have the My Mode Digital Art feature after installing the new software.
BMW offers its Remote Software Upgrade feature on more than 30 models. The new update will roll out to about 4.7 million BMW vehicles with iDrive OS 7 or 8, but some features won’t be available on every model. Previous upgrades have included adding Android Auto while updating BMW’s proprietary map features, Connected Parking tech, the brand’s Intelligent Personal Assistant, and more.
The company has been offering its free Remote Software Upgrade service since 2019, updating various features related to infotainment, driving, driver assistance, comfort, and safety. OTA updates have become popular with automakers as they integrate new technologies into vehicles that can add features after the car has left the dealer lot. This new paradigm also gives automakers unique control over what people do and don’t own in their cars.