Tesla rolling out "drastic" improvement for iPhone users — UWB support for iPhone comes to Model 3 and Model X

Tesla Model 3
(Image credit: Tesla)

Tesla has rolled out a new update iPhone users will love, adding Ultrawide band support for Phone Keys so that you can lock and unlock your EV using your iPhone. 

As reported by Not a Tesla App, all owners of the new Tesla Model 3 and the 2023 Model X can now enable Ultra Wideband support for Phone Key on their vehicles to “drastically improve how Tesla phone keys work.”  

Apple’s own iPhone range supports Ultrawide Band, the short-range technology that powers AirDrop and interactions like hand-off between iPhone and HomePod. When it comes to Tesla, the feature can be used to lock and unlock your Tesla without having to carry a key, which is instead stored in your Apple Wallet. Apple Wallet can also be used to share keys, temporary or permanent, with friends and family. 

UWB Phone keys come to Tesla

As the report notes, this is a really significant upgrade for Tesla owners and prospective buyers, too. Tesla can offer self-serve demo drives using the feature, sending the keys for a demo vehicle directly to your iPhone so that they don’t need a sales rep present. 

Tesla owners can access the feature by installing Tesla’s 2024.2.3 update. The release notes of the update state:

"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.”

To enable the feature, simply choose “Phone Key” and then “Upgrade” in the Tesla app. You don’t even need one of Apple’s best iPhones to use it either, with support going as far back as the iPhone 11.  

NATA says it has confirmed support for this feature on the new Model 3 and last year’s Model X. While “All refreshed Model S and Model X vehicles include the new UWB frequencies in the certificate of conformity,” not all have received the upgrade as yet, but likely will in future. Tesla’s divisive Cybertruck “is expected to be supported as well”, but the first-gen Model 3 and current Model Y are not supported. The feature is also not available for Android users at this time. 

Tesla continues to make small quality-of-life improvements for iPhone users. However, the Holy Grail, hallowed support for Apple CarPlay, remains a pipe dream at present. 

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Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9