Tesla’s iPhone app gets better digital car key support with ultra wideband

The Tesla app now supports ultra wideband (UWB) in the 2024.2.3 version of the app for iPhones. Spotted by Not a Tesla App, it promises more reliable and secure use of phones as digital keys than Bluetooth does because UWB’s precision tracking lets the car know exactly where the key is, which also helps protect against replay spoofing attacks.

The article says this even comes down to knowing which user is on the driver’s side of the car in the event that two people who have phone keys for the car are getting into it. It’s the same type of precision tracking that lets you accurately locate Apple’s AirTags even when the thing they’re attached to is lost in the cushions of your couch.

The change isn’t available for Android users yet, but some recent Pixel and Galaxy phones include UWB chips, so support could come to them eventually.

After downloading the update, users should be prompted to “Upgrade Your Phone Key,” followed by a request to give the app access to Nearby Interactions, an iOS setting that opens up the iPhone’s U1 chip to the app. That can be found under Settings > Privacy & Security > Nearby Interactions.

According to Not a Tesla App, only the newest Model 3 and 2023 Model X support the feature, while the newer Model X and S and Cybertruck should get it down the line. All iPhones from the 11 onward come with UWB, excluding SE models.

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