Types of Keys

Model 3 supports the following types of keys:
  • Phone key - You can set up your personal phone as a "phone key" that communicate with Model 3 using Bluetooth. A phone key supports automatic locking and unlocking.
  • Key card - Tesla provides two key cards that communicates with Model 3 using short range radio-frequency identification (RFID) signals. The key card is used to "authenticate" phone keys to work with Model 3 and to add or remove other keys. Unlike the phone key, the key card does not support automatic locking and unlocking. In situations where your phone key has a dead battery, or is lost or stolen, use your key card to unlock, drive, and lock Model 3.

Model 3 supports a total of 19 keys, which can include phone keys and key cards.

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Remember to bring a key with you when you drive. Although you can drive Model 3 away from its key, you will be unable to power it back on after it powers off.

Phone Key

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The phone key feature may not be available in your market region.
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Do not leave your paired phone in your vehicle (for example, if you are hiking or at the beach). If you must leave your phone in the vehicle, disable Bluetooth and/or turn the phone off.

Using your phone as a key is a convenient way to access your Model 3. As you approach, your phone's Bluetooth signal is detected and the doors unlock when you pull a door handle. Likewise, when you exit and walk away with the phone key, doors automatically lock (provided the Walk-Away Door Lock feature is turned on; see Walk-Away Door Lock).

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 username and password.
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    You must remain logged in to your Tesla account to use your phone to access Model 3.
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    If multiple vehicles are linked to your Tesla account, you must ensure that the vehicle you want the mobile app to access is currently selected on the mobile app.
  3. Ensure:
    • Your phone's general Bluetooth settings are enabled.
    • Bluetooth is enabled within your phone's 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 turned on.
    • Access to your location is enabled. Open the Tesla mobile app in your phone's settings and select Location > Always. For the best experience, keep the mobile app running in the background.
    • Allow Mobile Access is enabled on the vehicle touchscreen (Controls > Safety > Allow Mobile Access).
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    Model 3 communicates with your phone using Bluetooth. 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.
  4. While inside or near the vehicle, open the Tesla mobile app and touch Set Up Phone Key on the main screen, or navigate to Security > Set Up Phone Key. Follow the prompts on the mobile app and vehicle touchscreen to set up your phone key.

To view a list of keys that can currently access Model 3, or to remove a phone key, touch Controls > Locks (see Managing Keys).

Model 3 can connect to three phone keys simultaneously. Therefore, if more than three phone keys are detected and you want to authenticate or pair a different phone, move the other connected phone key(s) out of range or turn off its Bluetooth setting.

Once a phone has been authenticated, it no longer requires an internet connection to be used as a phone key for Model 3. However, to use the phone hands-free, access your phone's contacts, play media from it, etc., you must also pair it and connect it as a Bluetooth device (see Bluetooth).

Some smartphones with NFC capability can be used to lock/unlock your vehicle, just like using a key card. Ensure the Tesla mobile app is correctly paired to your vehicle and enable the NFC function on your phone. Once enabled, simply hold the phone to the driver's side door pillar to lock or unlock the door. Refer to your smartphone's instructions for specific information on how to do this.

Key Card

Tesla provides you with two Model 3 key cards, designed to fit in your wallet.

To use a key card to unlock or lock Model 3, position the card as shown and tap it against the card reader located approximately one third the way up of the driver's side door pillar. When Model 3 detects the key card, the exterior lights flash, the mirrors unfold or fold (if Fold Mirrors is on), the horn sounds (if Lock Confirmation Sound is on), and the doors unlock or lock.
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You may need to physically touch the wireless phone charger or driver's side door pillar with the key card, and you may need to hold it against the transmitter for one or two seconds.
Image of a person touching the key card to the driver's side door pillar.

Once inside, power up Model 3 by pressing the brake pedal within two minutes of scanning the key card (see Starting and Powering Off). If you wait longer than two minutes, you must re-authenticate by placing the key card near the card reader located in the wireless phone charger on the center console. When your key card is detected, your two minute authentication period restarts.

Key card with concentric circles on center console
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If enabled, Walk-Away Door Lock (see Walk-Away Door Lock) operates only when you walk away using a phone key. When you walk away carrying your key card, Model 3 does not automatically unlock/lock.

Managing Keys

To display a list of all keys that can access your Model 3, touch Controls > Locks. An icon displays next to each key to indicate whether the key is a phone key or key card. Use this list to manage keys that have access to your Model 3. To add or delete keys, see Adding and Removing Keys.

Model 3 supports up to 19 keys. When you reach this limit, you must delete a key before adding a new one.

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You can use the same key for more than one Model 3. This prevents you from having to deal with multiple keys when you switch vehicles. If you customize the name of an authenticated key card on one Model 3 (by touching the pencil icon), any other Model 3 to which the key card is authenticated also displays the changed name.
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If you are leasing your vehicle, contact your leasing company to add or remove keys.

Adding and Removing Keys

To add a new key:

  1. On the touchscreen, touch Controls > Locks > Keys > Add Key.
  2. Scan your new key card on the card reader located on either wireless phone charger. When you hear a chime, the new key card is recognized.
  3. Scan a key card that has already been paired to the vehicle to confirm new key pairing.
  4. When complete, the key list includes the new key. Touch the associated pencil icon to customize the name of the key.

Removing a key:

When you no longer want a key to access Model 3 (for example, you lost your phone or key card, etc.), follow these steps to remove it.

  1. On the touchscreen, touch Controls > Locks.
  2. In the key list, find the key that you would like to delete and touch its associated trash icon.
  3. When prompted, scan an authenticated key on the card reader to confirm the deletion. When complete, the key list no longer includes the deleted key.
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Model 3 requires at least one authenticated key card at all times. If only one key card remains on the key list, you cannot delete it.

Replacing Key cards

If you lose a key card, you can purchase replacement ones on the Tesla Shop. When ready to pair, simply follow the steps in Adding and Removing Keys. Remember to remove your old key cards from Controls > Locks > Keys for security purposes.

In the event you lose both keys cards, schedule a service appointment through the mobile app to replace and pair them.