Using a key fob copy to access a building.

Author’s note: ButterflyMX access control fobs and key cards are encrypted and cannot be copied with an RFID copier.


Key takeaways

  • A key fob is a popular entry method that grants tenants access to a property by holding it up to the fob reader.
  • RFID copiers make it easy to copy a fob.
  • Mobile access control systems empower tenants to use their smartphone as a key fob.


Keyless entry methods like key card and key fob systems have emerged as a popular way to grant seamless access to buildings. However, because it’s so easy to copy a fob key, key fob cloning can pose a potential security risk.

Read this post to learn what a key fob is and how to copy an apartment key fob. Then, discover how to use a smartphone as a key fob. Finally, explore a modern alternative to key fobs.

This guide covers:


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What’s a key fob?

A key fob is an RFID credential that you present to a reader in order to access a property. Fobs are convenient for tenants because they can easily scan their fob instead of fumbling with traditional keys.

Additionally, key fobs are convenient for staff because they can revoke or grant access to key fobs remotely. As a result, they’re simple to issue to new tenants and easy to revoke for those who no longer need them.

However, key fobs can be easily copied or cloned. What’s more, key fobs and cards can demagnetize and stop working.


How easy is it to copy a key fob?

Copying most RFID key fobs is as simple as using a key fob copying service that specializes in cloning fobs.

With this in mind, they’re as easy to copy as traditional keys. However, the main difference between the security of a traditional metal key and a key fob is that you can track and monitor who accesses your property when using a key fob entry system.

For this reason, key fobs and access cards are popular badge entry methods for multifamily properties, commercial offices, industrial facilities, and more.

Pro tip: Invest in an access control solution, like ButterflyMX, that offers encrypted key fobs that can’t be copied or cloned with RFID copiers.


How do I copy an RFID key fob?

There are many ways to duplicate a key fob, but the most common method is with a key fob copier. RFID copiers are affordable and easy to buy online, with most models ranging from $10 to $20.

Here’s how to use an RFID copier:

  1. Turn on the device and hold your key fob to a compatible RFID copier. Then, press the “Read” button.
  2. Once your fob is read successfully, it’ll beep. Next, replace your newly copied fob with an empty tag and press “Write.”
  3. Finally, the data stored on your original fob will be copied onto the device.


Using a key fob copy to access an elevator.


Can I copy my key fob to my phone?

No, there isn’t a way to copy a door or gate key fob to your phone. However, you can purchase an RFID sticker and attach it to your phone in order to use it as a key fob.

Alternatively, mobile access control systems make it easy to use a smartphone as a keyless entry method.


Can I use my iPhone as a key fob?

Yes, with a mobile access control system, you can use your smartphone as a key fob to enter doors, gates, and other access points.


Learn how ButterflyMX works:


Copy fob key FAQs

Here are some answers to your most common questions about key fob copies:


Is copying fobs illegal?

No, it’s not illegal to copy a fob key if the original key fob belongs to you. However, copying fobs can lead to unauthorized users potentially accessing your property.


How much does it cost to copy a fob key?

If you are hiring a professional fob key copying company to copy your fob key, then it will cost you between $150 and $500.


Can a locksmith duplicate a key fob?

Most locksmiths specialize in normal keys, not key fobs. Coping a key fob requires special tools that some locksmiths might not have access to.


Are key fobs programmed?

Yes, key fobs are programmed and encrypted with a unique ID code during the manufacturing process. As a result, each key fob is completely distinct and can’t be used to open access points that they’re not authorized to open.


What is the difference between an RFID and NFC key fob?

The main difference between RFID and NFC key fobs is that RFID key fobs are usually only capable of one-way communication. In contrast, NFC key fobs are capable of two-way communications. As a result, NFC key fobs are more complex and store more data than RFID models.


A modern alternative to key fobs

If you’re concerned with the pitfalls of key cards and fobs, smartphone-based access control systems are the best alternative.

With over 20,000 five-star ratings, ButterflyMX offers a mobile access control solution that makes opening entry points with a smartphone easier than ever.

Here’s how ButterflyMX makes property-wide access simple:

  • Video intercom. Launch two-way video calls for seamless and secure communications with visitors. What’s more, enhance security with a 156° wide-angle camera that makes it easy to see guests with minimal blind spots.
  • Delivery passes. Streamline access for couriers so they can securely drop off parcels and deliveries without a tenant needing to be present.
  • Virtual keys. For your convenience and peace of mind, share virtual keys with visitors that expire after an allotted period of time.
  • Audit logs. View easily accessible time—and date-stamped photos of all entry events. This way, you’ll always know who’s accessing your property.
  • Keypads. A ButterflyMX keypad allows you to control, manage, and restrict access to shared amenity spaces, garages, and sensitive areas.
  • Smart lock integrations. ButterflyMX is compatible with more than 80 smart lock models, making it simple and convenient to open any access point with a smartphone.
  • Multiple credentials. With ButterflyMX, you aren’t limited to just one credential. You can use a combination of key cards and key fobs, swipe-to-open mobile entries, PIN codes, and virtual keys.

What’s more, using a smartphone as your primary entry method makes key fob cloning less likely. So, mobile access control systems are more secure while still seamlessly granting access to tenants and visitors.


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Tiara Sutton

I’m an Atlanta-based writer who enjoys exploring the ways that tech benefits residents & tenants of multifamily & commercial properties.

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