How to use phone as a key with Model 3

Authenticated phone – You can set up your personal smartphone to communicate with Model 3 using Bluetooth. Supports automatic locking and unlocking as well as several other functions using the Tesla mobile app

Using your phone is a convenient way to access your Model 3. As you approach, your phone’s Bluetooth signal is detected and doors unlock when you press a door handle. Likewise, when you exit and walk away with the phone, doors automatically lock (provided the Walk-Away Door Lock feature is turned on). Before you can use a phone to access Model 3, follow these steps to authenticate it:

  1. Download the Tesla mobile app to your phone.
  2. Log into the Tesla mobile app using your Tesla Account user name and password.
    NOTE: You must remain logged in to your Tesla Account to use your phone to access Model 3.
  3. Ensure that your phone’s Bluetooth settings are turned on.

You must have your phone’s Bluetooth setting turned on AND you must also ensure that Bluetooth is turned on within your phone’s global settings for the Tesla mobile app. For example, on your phone, navigate to Settings, choose the Tesla mobile app, and ensure the Bluetooth setting is enabled.

NOTE: Model 3 communicates with your phone using Bluetooth. To authenticate your phone or use it as a key, the phone must be powered on and Bluetooth must be enabled. Keep in mind that your phone must have enough battery power to run Bluetooth and that many phones disable Bluetooth when the battery is low.

  1. Ensure that Allow Mobile Access (Controls > Safety & Security > Allow Mobile Access) is enabled.
  2. In the Tesla mobile app, touch PHONE KEY then touch START to search for your Model 3. When your Model 3 is detected, the mobile app asks you to tap your key card.
  3. Tap the key card against the Model 3 card reader on the door pillar or center console.

When Model 3 detects your key card, the mobile app confirms that your phone has been successfully authenticated. Touch DONE.

If the key card is not successfully scanned within approximately two minutes, the mobile app displays an error message. Touch PHONE KEY on the app again to retry.

To view a list of keys that can currently access Model 3, or to remove a phone, touch Controls > Locks.

NOTE: Authenticating your phone allows you to use it as a key to access Model 3. To use the phone handsfree, access your phone’s contacts, play media from it, etc., you must also pair and connect to it using the Bluetooth settings.

NOTE: Model 3 can connect to three phones simultaneously. Therefore, if more than one phone is detected and you want to use, or authenticate, a different phone, move the other connected phone(s) out of range or turn off its Bluetooth setting.

NOTE: Unlike the mobile app, once a phone has been authenticated, it no longer requires an internet connection to communicate with Model 3. Authenticated phones communicate with Model 3 using Bluetooth.

NOTE: Although Bluetooth typically communicates over distances of up to approximately 30 feet (9 meters), performance can vary based on the phone you are using, environmental interference, etc.

NOTE: If multiple vehicles are linked to the Tesla Account, you must switch the mobile app to the vehicle that you want to access before you can use the phone as a key.

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Larry Iwanaga
10 months ago

If I have authenticated my phone on one key card and my phone breaks or I have to change phones, can I re-use the key card on my new phone?

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