Several weeks ago, some BMW owners who recently unboxed their shiny new iPhone 15s were noticing a strange phenomenon. The phones support wireless charging, but using the pad inside their vehicles disabled the devices' NFC chips, causing Apple Pay contactless transactions and digital car key functionality to fail. Owners hoped Apple and BMW could solve the issue through software, and it appears that they have: iOS 17.1.1, just released, restores NFC services and prevents further glitches when using induction charging "in certain cars," according to patch notes.
This is the best possible outcome, as many users were concerned that the iPhone 15 series—which has been said to run quite hot under load or while charging, particularly for the more powerful Pro models—was effectively being fried by BMW's charging hardware. "The wireless charger in my G20 is essentially an oven heater," one Reddit user commented following the earliest reports. BMW told The Drive that it was "looking into" the issue on Oct. 2, and evidently, a software update is all that's needed to set things right again.
Of course, wireless charging should never brick your phone, but it is a rather inefficient method of juicing up, particularly in cars where the installed charging pads aren't quite as capable as those sold for home use by Apple or quality third-party companies. My Ford Fiesta ST, for example, supports CarPlay but predates wireless CarPlay and charging. Not that it would've supported both if they were out at the time; it's a pretty cheap car.
The USB-to-Lightning cable does a perfect job of establishing a reliable connection with the car and quickly charging it, which is why I'm always so disappointed whenever I have the opportunity to go the fully wireless route with my iPhone 14 Pro in a nicer, newer vehicle. The resource load of CarPlay over Bluetooth, as well as streaming audio or phone calls, coupled with the slow nature of many built-in automotive wireless chargers ends up draining my device's battery more quickly than the pad can replenish it. It's just a terrible tradeoff, for negligible convenience. Plus, wireless CarPlay tends to introduce lag, in my experience.
In any case, if you have one of the latest iPhone models and drive a BMW or Toyota GR Supra, you'll be pleased to know that your car and handset will play nice, once again. At least, until a future update breaks something else. It's the way of technology.
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