Tesla adopts UWB connectivity on iPhone to improve Phone Key performance

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Tesla now supports the iPhone’s Ultra Wideband chip for improved Phone Key performance, at least on some cars. Apple started including the Ultra Wideband chip with the iPhone 11, allowing for better nearby interaction between an iPhone and other devices equipped with UWB technology.

Tesla UWB key support on iPhone

In the release notes for Tesla update 2024.2.3, spotted first by Not a Tesla App, Tesla says that UWB technology is now available for Phone Key. You can upgrade your Phone Key from Bluetooth to UWB in the Tesla app, as the company explains:

Ultrawide band (UWB) technology is now available for Phone Key. So your vehicle and Phone Key can communicate with greater accuracy to more responsively lock, unlock, and open Automatic Doors.

In the Tesla app, choose Phone Key > Upgrade and follow the instructions. After setup, keep your iPhone Settings for Nearby Interactions on for Tesla. Requires iPhone 11+ and Tesla app 4.29.5+.

But even if you have an iPhone 11 or newer with UWB inside, you’ll still need a Tesla with that same Ultra Wideband technology inside. As of right now, Tesla says the feature is available for the latest-generation Model 3 and 2023 Model X cars, as well as the Cybertruck.

Not a Tesla App points out that “all refreshed Model S and Model X vehicles include the new UWB frequencies in the certificate of conformity.” As of right now, however, this upgraded Phone Key feature isn’t available for those cars.

The previous-generation Model 3 and current-generation Model Y do not have UWB connectivity. This feature is also only currently available for iPhone users, even though some Android phones have UWB tech inside 

9to5Mac’s Take

This is a nice feature addition from Tesla. It’s always good to see the automaker adopt something that improves the experience for iPhone users … even if it’s not CarPlay.

Apple also has a car key feature in Apple Wallet, and it would be great to see Tesla support this as well. Unfortunately, despite the newfound support for UWB connectivity, this doesn’t seem to be in the cards for now.

As always, check out our friends over at Electrek for the latest Tesla, EV, and green energy news.

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