Understanding Tesla Phone Key Functionality

Understanding Tesla Phone Key Functionality


The Tesla Phone Key is a feature that allows Tesla Model 3 owners to use their smartphone as a key for their vehicle. This technology relies on Bluetooth to communicate between the car and the phone, enabling automatic locking and unlocking of the vehicle.

Setup Process:

  • Tesla App: Owners must have the Tesla app installed on their smartphone.
  • Account Login: Users need to log into the app with their Tesla account and remain logged in to use the Phone Key feature.
  • Vehicle Selection: If multiple vehicles are associated with the account, the correct one must be selected in the app.
  • Bluetooth and Location Services: These must be enabled for the app, with location access set to ‘Always’.
  • Mobile Access Permission: On the Model 3’s touchscreen, under Controls > Safety, ‘Allow Mobile Access’ must be activated.

With the Phone Key set up, the Model 3 unlocks when the owner approaches and pulls a door handle, and locks when they walk away if the Walk-Away Door Lock feature is turned on.

Key Points:

  • The Phone Key feature adds convenience by eliminating the need for physical keys.
  • Security is enhanced as only authenticated devices can access the vehicle.
  • Tesla provides two key cards as a backup to the Phone Key.

For the system to work effectively, the Tesla app should run in the background, and the smartphone should have a sufficient battery charge to support Bluetooth functions.


Tesla, Inc. was not involved in the development of this document and did not provide any input or otherwise edit, review or authorize it.