Tesla Model S Owners & Service Manuals

Tesla Model S: Three Types of Keys

Model S supports three types of keys:

  • Phone key - You can set up your personal phone as a "phone key" that communicates with Model S using Bluetooth. A phone key supports automatic locking and unlocking.
  • Key card - Tesla provides a key card that communicates with Model S using short range radio-frequency identification (RFID) signals. The key card is used to "authenticate" phone keys to work with Model S and to add or remove other key cards, phone keys, or key fobs. Unlike the phone key and key fob, 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 S.
  • Key fob - The key fob (if equipped) allows you to press buttons to open the front and rear trunks, and unlock, lock, and drive Model S. The key fob also supports automatic locking and unlocking, if available in your region (see Passive Locking and Unlocking) and can be used as a backup to your phone key.

Model S supports a total of 19 keys, which can include phone keys, key cards, and up to four key fobs.

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

Phone Key

Using your phone as a key is a convenient way to access your Model S. As you approach, your phone's Bluetooth signal is detected and doors unlock when you press 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).

Before you can use a phone to access Model S, 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.

NOTE: You must remain logged in to your Tesla account to use your phone to access Model S.

NOTE: 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).

NOTE: Model S 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 sitting inside the vehicle with a key card handy, 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 S, or to remove a phone key, touch Controls > Locks (see Managing Keys).

Model S 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 S. 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 Pairing a Bluetooth Phone).

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     Key Card

    Tesla provides you with two Model S key cards, designed to fit in your wallet. To use a key card to unlock or lock Model S, position the card as shown and tap it against the card reader located ap

     Key Fob

    You can quickly familiarize yourself with the key fob by thinking of it as a miniature version of Model S, with the Tesla badge representing the front. The key has buttons that feel like softer are

     Passive Locking and Unlocking

    Locking and unlocking Model S with your key fob is conveniently hands-free. Although you must be carrying a paired key fob, there is no need to use it. Model S has sensors around the vehicle that c

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