BMW / Mini Dead Key Fob Help: Part I, Getting In

Getting into Your BMW or Mini

Retrieving the Mechanical Key

bmw_keyFor your BMW or Mini, press the button on the back of the remote control (or ‘clicker’) and pull the key ring end to remove the integrated key. The integrated or mechanical key can be used to unlock the driver’s door.

In 2014, BMW and Mini both added themselves to the list of manufacturers hiding the keyhole or BMW Key #2lock cylinder, and introduced a new, slightly redesigned key fob. The button in this case, is on the side, as shown. Press it and pull the key ring end to remove the mechanical key.


The Mini key is rounder. The newest version, Mini Keyshown, has a button on the neck. Push it while pulling the key ring with your free hand to retrieve the mechanical key. On all other Mini key fobs, the button is simply on the back.

In 2015, in higher end models, BMW introduced a Display Key. The mechanical key is separate and should be carried in a wallet or purse! The Display Key itself can be recharged in the car (see the end of this page). If the Display Key goes dead and the mechanical key is not available, roadside assistance will be necessary.


BMW Cylinder CoverOpening Your BMW

Hiding the key hole was introduced in the X5 model in 2014 and the X1 and the X6 SUVs have been added since. Insert the integrated key into the opening of the driver’s door handle indicated by the arrow in the image. Press upwards and remove the cover. The cover comes off onto the key itself, and quite easily. Unlock the door using the integrated key in the now exposed door lock.

Yes, the effect is that of pulling off a piece of your car, but it is necessary to get inside! The cover can be snapped back on, but the priority now is to simply get inside your car. Check out the video here for more help.

7-Series Key Hole CapStarting 2015 in the 7-Series only, a new style hidden key hole a new removal process is featured. The directions from BMW are a little confusing, so do this carefully. It actually is quite simple.

7-Series Key HoleIt starts as a one-piece door handle (above) that must be pulled outward. With the handle pulled outward with your left hand, slip a finger from your right hand behind handle. Feel for a metallic release and push it outward. This will release the cap, which can be pulled away with the thumb and fingers of your right hand, exposing the key hole (right).

Again, you are removing a piece of your car. Its still ok!

Let go of the handle and use the mechanical key to unlock the door using the key cylinder now visible through the handle. Note that if you have a display key, the mechanical key is not integrated into the fob. It is supplied separately. Keep it with you at all times, or you will need roadside assistance.

540i key hole capA modified version of this was introduced in the 540i for the 2017 model year. The same metal clip is behind what is a smaller cap. The cap is the last bit of chrome at the back of the driver’s door handle and is roughly the same size as the clip, making it easier to feel for.

540i cap removedLike the 7-Series, pull the handle out and slip a finger from your other hand behind handle. Feel for the metallic clip and give it a push. In this case, the cap will practically fly off. You are still removing a piece of your car and its still ok! Let go of the handle and use the mechanical key to unlock the door using the key cylinder that is now visible through the handle.

Mini handleOpening Your Mini

And finally, the Mini. Only the Cooper Hardtops are currently using this style, which is quite unique. A small oval-shaped cap at the rear of the handle must be removed to expose the key hole. Look for a small slot underneath the handle (arrow). Slip the mechanical key into the hole as far as it will go, which is about an inch. Nothing obvious happens, but the cap is now free to remove. Slip a fingernail anywhere in the groove and the cap will fall away. Yes, pulling off another piece of a car…

Now slip the key into the now exposed key hole and turn to unlock the car. Remove the key before pulling the handle. Pull the handle, and you’re in. There is a video here dedicated to this model.

Continue to Part II, Getting Started …


* Keep these instructions with you in our Dead Key FOB App. Search “Dead Key FOB” at your device’s store or click here.

Permanent link to this article: