Your Apple Watch Can Now Unlock Your Tesla, No Internet Connection Is Needed

Apple Watch Working as a Tesla Key 7 photos
Stats: For Model S/X/3/YStats: For Model S/X/3/YStats: For Model S/X/3/YVirtual Keyfob for WatchStats App on an Apple WatchStats App on an Apple Watch
If you have a newer Tesla and an Apple smartwatch, then you can access a new way to open your all-electric vehicle. Yes, there is a new feature available for your Apple-made device, and it does not require internet connectivity, an iPhone, or a Tesla key card to work properly. Here’s what you need to know.
Tesla’s CEO once said that the vehicles the brand manufactures are “very sophisticated computers on wheels.” Such a strong statement is backed by the development of many interesting features for the 3, S, X, and Y lineup. For example, the company’s customers get to experience in-car gaming on popular platforms like Steam. They also get access to advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) like the Full Self-Driving Beta, if they behave while sitting behind the wheel. So, the transition to a zero-tailpipe emission world eliminates the noise of an engine and adds lots of tech and, of course, instant torque.

But let’s say you are an Apple user at the same time and enjoy the company’s ecosystem. You have an iPhone, an iMac, an iPad, and maybe even a Watch. The latter might be perceived as just an extension for your phone or a stylish addition for your wrist, but, as Apple proved with the current generation, this little thing is capable of much, much more.

Naturally, this idea piqued the interest of many technologically inclined people. Among them, you’ll find Tesla owners. And someone that fits in both these categories decided that it’s time to use your Apple-made smartwatch as a key for your all-electric vehicle. So, they made an app that can do exactly that. Called Stats: For Model S/X/3/Y, this clever piece of software transforms your Apple Watch into a Tesla car key. Now, you don’t have to worry about losing your phone or what to do about your valuables when surfing’s on the horizon.

All you have to do is download and install the app on your Apple Watch. Then, the next steps are similar to the ones needed to add an iPhone as your car’s key. Open the Tesla app while keeping the backup key card handy, activate the watch’s Bluetooth, tap “Set Up Phone Key” on the Tesla app, hit pair, and then tap the key card as indicated. That’s it, your watch can now act as your car’s key.

The best thing about it is that an internet connection is not needed. Nor an iPhone or a Tesla key card for that matter. Thanks to Bluetooth connectivity, the app can open the frunk, the trunk, the charge port, and, of course, unlock the driver’s door. It will also work with Tesla’s identifying system (tap on the center console to drive), so you can be on your way in a jiffy. Of course, all this is possible after you successfully finish the setup process.

But the app can do even more. As the name suggests, it provides an in-depth look at driving data, notifies you when you leave a door open, identifies phantom drain locations, displays important battery data, and provides further integration with other Apple products. For example, you’ll be able to use Siri for setting up the preferred temperature control. Or, you can use an iPad to look at your driving data.

However, you should know that the app can’t provide a keyless access experience. Apple decided to not let Bluetooth run in the background by default. So, you’ll have to manually access the app and open (or close) the car by tapping on the watch’s screen. Moreover, older Tesla models cannot be opened via Bluetooth, and you’ll need an internet connection for your watch to make the app work.

Sadly, this does come at a cost. If you never used the app before, you can try it out for free for seven days. After that period ends, you’ll have to choose a subscription plan ($4.99 per month) or make a one-time $109 payment. The developer also allows customers to access individual features that they can pay for separately. But a subscription or a hefty one-time payment gives you access to all the features of the app and no other purchases will be necessary.

Moreover, it works for all the cars linked to your Tesla account. You won’t have to pay twice for two cars.

Another option is the Virtual Keyfob for Watch app which does exactly what its name suggests. This one is not free either, but it only costs $9.99. You pay once and get full access. However, it is also limited by WatchOS. You’ll have to keep the app active so it can remain connected to the car.

Finally, if you are an Android user and want to access your EV with a smartwatch, then rejoice. Tessie’s developers recently said they are working on a solution which is expected to drop in a couple of months. Also, there are a couple of other third-party apps out there that can do similar things. But you should inform yourself very well about them in advance. Technology is great and can make our lives easier, but nefarious actors might try to take advantage of possible security mishaps.
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Editor's note: This article has not been sponsored or supported by a third party, nor does autoevolution endorse the abovementioned iPhone or Android apps.

About the author: Florin Amariei
Florin Amariei profile photo

Car shows on TV and his father's Fiat Tempra may have been Florin's early influences, but nowadays he favors different things, like the power of an F-150 Raptor. He'll never be able to ignore the shape of a Ferrari though, especially a yellow one.
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