Can't unlock your car? A charging Apple Pencil might be to blame

Posted:
in iPad
Apple last week updated an Apple Pencil support document with a note warning users that charging a second-generation version of the stylus on a compatible iPad Pro might interfere with signals from nearby key fobs, preventing users from opening their car door.




According to a support document detailing how to "Use Apple Pencil with your iPad or iPad Pro," the problem is restricted to second-generation Apple Pencil models charging inductively on a third-generation iPad Pro.

"If you're charging your Apple Pencil (2nd generation) with your iPad Pro and your car's keyless entry device (key fob) is nearby, signal interference might prevent you from unlocking your car with your key fob," Apple notes.

The company suggests moving iPad Pro away from the key fob or removing Apple Pencil from an attached iPad Pro to rectify the issue.

Inductive charging systems like those employed by Apple to charge Apple Watch and Apple Pencil, as well as wireless charging standards including Qi, rely on electromagnetic fields to provide power to electronic devices. Depending on its configuration, an inductive technology can in some cases cause interference with low-power radio signals.

Though Apple does not specify a particular automotive entry system, mentioning only a "keyless entry device," it is likely that the company is referring to so-called "smart keys." These key fobs are designed as transponders, or passive remote systems, that allow users to unlock their car door simply by walking within range of onboard antennas. Due to their design as short-range radio solutions, generated signals from smart keys are more susceptible to electromagnetic interference.

Apple notes that any potential signal interference will stop once Pencil is fully charged, meaning the problem is caused by the company's first-party inductive charging technology.

The webpage update was spotted by French website iGeneration on Monday.

Apple released the second-generation Apple Pencil as a follow-up to the original model late last year. Unlike the first version's awkward charging method, which requires users to stick the device into an iPad's Lightning port, the latest iteration magnetically attaches to a inductive charging anchor point on the side of a compatible iPad Pro.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 1,981member
    Things like this will continue to be more and more common. Wireless *everything* is not practical.
    forgot usernamecurtis hannahPetrolDaveberndogMplsP
  • Reply 2 of 13
    flydogflydog Posts: 226member
    dysamoria said:
    Things like this will continue to be more and more common. Wireless *everything* is not practical.
    So which device gets the ax under your “not everything wireless” mantra. The keyless entry or the pencil? Should apple have restricted the pencil to wired charging only to avoid interference with keyless entry?

    Maybe the more logical and sound approach is to continue to develop and evolve wireless devices to eliminate the problem. 
    edited April 15 Solin2itivguybestkeptsecretracerhomie3bageljoeycurtis hannahcornchip
  • Reply 3 of 13
    chasmchasm Posts: 1,263member
    There is only so much spectrum, but the FCC really should have seen this coming. That said, pretty easy to avoid: move the charging Pencil/iPad combo away from the key fob, or just detach the Pencil for a moment.
    cornchip
  • Reply 4 of 13
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 1,231member
    That gives way to a complete ban on iPads in planes.
  • Reply 5 of 13
    Interesting... Now I’m starting to wonder if my Qi charging case for my XS Max could be the reason I’ve had a couple random issues with my Lincoln saying the keyfob isn’t in the vehicle, or trouble with unlocking/locking the doors by touching the handles. I don’t often use it, so that could explain it. I’ll have to experiment.
  • Reply 6 of 13
    Interesting... Now I’m starting to wonder if my Qi charging case for my XS Max could be the reason I’ve had a couple random issues with my Lincoln saying the keyfob isn’t in the vehicle, or trouble with unlocking/locking the doors by touching the handles. I don’t often use it, so that could explain it. I’ll have to experiment.
    My doors lock/unlock the same way and if i have my XS Max (no charging case) in the same pocket as my keyfob the doors will refuse  lock/unlock.  I have to separate my phone and fob slightly before the doors will recognize the fob. 

    edited April 16
  • Reply 7 of 13
    LatkoLatko Posts: 299member
    Ah, an exclusive Tim Cook innovation:
    Unlock your door by charging a pencil
    edited April 16
  • Reply 8 of 13
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,492member
    This is a non-event.  I’ve dealt with items interfering with my key fob for a while.  In particular, I have a money clip with a large magnet on it that always wreaks havoc with my fob.  

    The only reason I can think of that the pencil issue is news is because some iHater/troll is going to use it as an excuse to blame Apple even though other non-Apple devices do the exact same thing.

    Maybe I should troll my wallet manufacturer.
    StrangeDayscornchip
  • Reply 9 of 13
    Lol. Leave that pen inside car and wait until it discharges.
  • Reply 10 of 13
    sflocal said:
    This is a non-event.  I’ve dealt with items interfering with my key fob for a while.  In particular, I have a money clip with a large magnet on it that always wreaks havoc with my fob.  

    The only reason I can think of that the pencil issue is news is because some iHater/troll is going to use it as an excuse to blame Apple even though other non-Apple devices do the exact same thing.

    Maybe I should troll my wallet manufacturer.
    Magnets do not interfere with electomagnetism. Metals may. That is plain phyiscs. And yes it is event. Denyong it is very arrogant as it leads to no investigation to understand potential problem. You show attitude of Microsoft support from 20-25 years ago and outcomes are know to this day.
  • Reply 11 of 13
    This is probably more important an issue of those wireless charging via the charger built in to their cars causing the intereference. 
  • Reply 12 of 13
    Johan42Johan42 Posts: 92member
    sflocal said:
    This is a non-event.  I’ve dealt with items interfering with my key fob for a while.  In particular, I have a money clip with a large magnet on it that always wreaks havoc with my fob.  

    The only reason I can think of that the pencil issue is news is because some iHater/troll is going to use it as an excuse to blame Apple even though other non-Apple devices do the exact same thing.

    Maybe I should troll my wallet manufacturer.
    This is about Apple so we’ll make it about Apple. And as to your last statement...go right ahead. 
  • Reply 13 of 13
    Putting LED bulbs in my garage door opener resulted in the radio transmitter failing to close the door.  Worked fine to open the door as the lights are off but the door would not close due to EMF put out by the bulbs so close to the receiver on the opener.  Changing the bulbs back to incandescent resolved the problem entirely.
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