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Tesla's Ultra Wideband update improves how you unlock cars with an iPhone


Tesla owners will soon find unlocking their electric car will be easier using their iPhone, with the car maker rolling out Ultra-Wideband support that will improve the mobile app experience.

The 2024.2.3 update for Tesla vehicles introduces support for Ultra Wideband communications, specifically for use with the Phone Key. The update, which is slowly making its way to vehicles, makes a big change to the way Tesla Phone Key functions for users.

Due to Ultra Wideband's ability to perform high-precision location tracking beyond the capabilities of Bluetooth, it should allow for the car to detect where the Phone Key-enabled device is in relation to it.

While Tesla does use Phone Keys to unlock vehicles, Not a Tesla App writes that the car can occasionally fail to realize the driver's smartphone is nearby. Normally it works automatically, but when it fails, it requires drivers to unlock their phone and to access the Tesla app before being able to gain entry.

Using Ultra Wideband should reduce these instances, and could enhance the experience more. For example, by working out which of multiple drivers are closer to the driver's side of the vehicle, the driver profile can be adjusted to match that particular driver.

Once the firmware has updated on the vehicle, owners will discover a notification in the Tesla app to upgrade their Phone Key. They will then need to grant the app access to Ultra Wideband, which iPhone refers to as Nearby Interactions in the Settings app under Privacy & Security.

Not all Teslas will get support for Ultra Wideband, with it confirmed as usable by the new Model 3 and the 2023 Model X models. First-gen Model 3 and current Model Y models do not currently support UWB.