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Mobile Key

Open doors with your phone through secure, encrypted technology

What's Mobile Key?

Mobile Key — the expanded functionality of Stanford Mobile ID — allows you to use your phone as a digital key card to open doors across campus using secure, encrypted technology. Once Mobile Key is enabled, you’ll see the Mobile Key “Open” button displayed on your Stanford Mobile ID. 

In addition to door access, Stanford community members can use their Mobile Key in place of their physical Stanford ID cards to access library resources, retrieve print jobs at Cardinal Print stations, and pay for food with meal plan or Cardinal dollars. Access to student residences will remain only through the physical Stanford ID card. Access to Stanford Medicine facilities (School of Medicine, Clark Center, and hospitals) do not support Mobile Key and require a physical hospital ID card.

Ways to Use Mobile Key

Mobile Key Screenshot

Choose how you want Mobile Key to interact with card readers to unlock doors. These methods include:

  • Tap. Tap your phone on a card reader as you would with your physical Stanford ID card. You can do this without opening Stanford Mobile as long as the app is running in the background.  
  • Twist & Go Mode (turn on/off in settings). Twist your phone 90 degrees right or left, approximately 4 to 8 inches from the card reader as if you are opening a door knob.

Note: Card readers and their programming may vary depending on the building.

Mobile Key is equivalent to a physical key card. If your phone is lost or stolen, you must report it to the ID Card Office immediately so that your Mobile Key can be disabled remotely.

Required Device Settings

To ensure optimal Mobile Key operation, configure your device with the following settings:

Bluetooth Enabled for device and permission for app
NFC (Android) Enabled for device and permission for app
GPS Enabled for device and permission for app
Mobile Data Services Enabled for device
Background App Refresh (iOS) / Run in background (Android) Enabled for app
Battery Optimization (Android) Disabled for app / set to Unrestricted


How do I add Mobile Key to my mobile device?
Follow these steps to add Mobile Key to your Mobile ID on your phone.
How do I know I have Mobile Key enabled successfully?
To begin using Mobile Key, tap your phone on a card reader to unlock a door, or twist your phone 90 degrees right or left, approximately 6 to 8 inches from the card reader. Depending on the reader’s programming, the range of your phone’s proximity to the reader needed to activate Mobile Key may vary.
Who is eligible for Mobile ID/Key?
Eligible Not Eligible


  • Faculty/staff (including fixed term)
  • Students
  • Postdocs
  • Stanford hospital employees with dual affiliation with the university
  • Temp/Casual employees
  • Contractors or employees working under an agency
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) affiliates, including postdocs
  • Visiting scholars and other similar affiliates
  • Emeritus faculty
  • Stanford hospital employees
  • Courtesy cardholders
  • Recreation cardholders
Contact the ID Card Office if you have questions about eligibility. Note that if you have a SUNet ID but are not eligible for Mobile ID/Key, you will still be able to log into Mobile ID however you will see "N/A" or "Not eligible" on the Mobile ID screen. While you won't be able to use Mobile ID/Key, there are other features in Stanford Mobile that personalize content to your experience based on your SUNet ID.
Can I use Mobile Key to access student residences?
For security and safety reasons, only the physical Stanford ID card may be used to enter student residences. At this time, this new mobile key system does not meet the university's stringent one-credential requirement for student homes. The system currently does not allow you the choice of card or phone. For now, access will require a card because everyone has one and using a card eliminates the possibility that a broken phone or dying phone battery will lead to a student lockout.
Does Mobile Key also mean I can use my phone for Cardinal Print or Cardinal Dollars?
In addition to door access, Stanford community members can use their Mobile Key in place of their physical Stanford ID cards to access library resources, retrieve print jobs at Cardinal Print stations, and pay for food with Cardinal dollars. Housing access will remain only through the physical Stanford ID card. Mobile Key will also not be available for purchases at R&DE Stanford Hospitality & Auxiliaries retail cafés, markets or athletic concessions until new technology capabilities are made available.
What is Twist & Go?
Twist & Go allows you to rotate your phone 90 degrees to the right or left approximately 6 to 12 inches from the card reader as if you’re opening a door handle in order to activate your Mobile Key, rather than physically tapping the reader with your phone.
Will my Mobile Key access be the same as my ID card?
Yes, Mobile Key will grant you access via all card readers that your physical ID card does, with exception of Stanford housing for students. For security, housing access remains on the physical key card only, and not on Mobile Key. Other building access remains the same between both your physical key card and your Mobile Key. If you have questions or need assistance, please contact the ID Card Office.
How many devices can I have Mobile Key active at a time?
You can only have Mobile Key active on one device at a time. Your Mobile Key is tied to your specific device and is removed when the Stanford Mobile app data cache is cleared, the app is uninstalled/reinstalled, or when you activate Mobile Key on a new mobile device.
What are the hardware requirements to use Mobile Key?
You’ll need to have Stanford Mobile 10.6.7 or newer installed on iOS 12.2+ or Android 8.1+ on a mobile device that supports bluetooth, mobile data, and NFC.
Do I need to do anything to set up a Mobile Key if I already have a Mobile ID in the Stanford Mobile app?
Yes, Mobile Key is activated separately from Mobile ID. Eligible individuals can have Mobile ID on Stanford Mobile without an active Mobile Key. Follow these instructions for setup.


My physical key card works on the reader, but Mobile Key doesn't work (such as at the Clark Center or other School of Medicine or hospital system buildings).
Double check your device permissions and hardware settings. If they are set correctly, this may be caused by a building access discrepancy between your Mobile Key badge ID and your physical key badge ID. Please contact the building manager for the building you are trying to access and they can resolve any building access discrepancies. Note that the Clark Center and other School of Medicine and hospital buildings readers are operated by the hospital system and do not support Mobile Key.
I cleared the app data cache for Stanford Mobile or reinstalled the app and Mobile Key is no longer working.
Mobile Key associates your Stanford Mobile app ID, your mobile device fingerprint, and your building access profile together. If your app ID changes, such as by clearing the app cache or uninstalling and reinstalling the app, or if you change mobile devices, you will need to activate Mobile Key again. Please note that this will remove Mobile Key from any other devices on which you have previously activated Mobile Key. Also note that activating Mobile Key is the digital equivalent of getting issued a new physical key card which involves back office processes in order to issue you your Mobile Key. Users who abuse the Mobile Key activation process (such as repeatedly activating Mobile Key) may have their Mobile Key privileges restricted.
I  tried my Mobile Key at a reader but it did not unlock.
Please ensure that Bluetooth and NFC are enabled in your device settings and the respective permission specifically allowed for the Stanford Mobile app. If you are still having trouble, please submit a Help Ticket.
Mobile Key used to work without the app open (and/or with the phone screen off) and now it doesn't anymore.
If you restarted your phone or cleared your apps from background memory, the Stanford Mobile app may not be running in the background of your phone anymore. Launch the app and minimize it so that it runs in the background of your device. Ensure that battery optimization is disabled for the Stanford Mobile app and "lock" the app to run in the background if needed. Finally, ensure that you are on the latest version of Stanford Mobile and that Bluetooth and NFC are enabled for both your device and for the Stanford Mobile app.
Apple Wallet sometimes pops up when using the reader, why is that?
Apple Wallet pops up as a security feature to let you know that it is being accessed when the Stanford Mobile app is not open (card is reading via NFC method). Please note that no transaction is taking place, it is simply letting you know that the reader is accessing your Mobile Key.
What if I lose my mobile device?
Your Mobile Key is equivalent to your physical key card. If it is lost or stolen you must report it to the ID Card Office as soon as possible so that the Mobile Key can be remotely disabled for your device. You can reactivate Mobile Key on the same or new device in the future if needed.