open gate with cell phone


Gated communities provide residents with a sense of security and peace of mind. One of the many benefits of entrances with gate intercoms is that the residential community has control over property access. This means that only authorized residents, staff, and guests can enter the property.

However, to modernize your gated community for today’s residents, you should make sure they can open gates with their cell phones. Since 96% of Americans own a cell phone, your property needs a gate intercom system that residents can use with their cell phones.

In this guide, we discuss how to open a gate with a cell phone and the benefits of a cell phone gate access system.

This guide includes:


Discover the 4 best gate intercom systems.


Ways to open a gate with a cell phone

In recent years, property access control has undergone significant innovation. Long gone are the days of carrying a separate remote control to open a gated entry. With cell phone and smartphone ownership increasing, it’s incredibly important to upgrade your gate entry system to be compatible with mobile devices.


a gif showing how to swipe to open a gate or door with the ButterflyMX app


Can you open a gate with your phone?

Yes. There are multiple ways to open an electric gate with your phone. You can open a gate from your phone via telephone entry systems, IP intercoms, or gate access control systems. In all three methods, you’ll have to install a cell phone gate opener at the gated entrance. Users may also have to download a mobile app onto their cell phones.

The three most common mobile phone gate entry systems:

  1. Gate access control systems
  2. Telephone entry system
  3. IP intercoms with a mobile app




Gate access control systems

One way to open a gate with a cell phone is through a gate access control system. To use this system, you install a device at each gate where you’re managing access. Then, upload your tenants’ information to the system. Tenants may have to download a gate remote control app to their phones.

Here are the two most common ways to open a gate with a cell phone using an access control system:

  1. A Bluetooth reader: Some access control systems use a Bluetooth reader that detects a tenant’s registered device within 30 feet.
  2. A mobile app: Other systems may come with a gate opener app that tenants download to their smartphones. Tenants tap a button within the app to open the gate.

The problem with using a cell phone gate access system is that it only provides access to tenants and those registered with the system. Visitors can’t use a gate access control system to request access or open the gate with their cell phones.


Telephone entry system

A telephone entry system installed at a gate allows visitors to request property access from tenants via a telephone call. A tenant can use their cell phone to answer the call and open the gate.

Here’s how you open a gate with a cell phone using a telephone entry system:

  1. When a guest arrives at the gate, they use the telephone entry system to call the tenant they’re visiting.
  2. The tenant answers the call, which is routed to their cell phone.
  3. If the tenant wants to grant access, they press ‘9’ on their phone to open the gate.

There are some major drawbacks to telephone entry systems. For one, they lack a camera, which raises security concerns since property staff and tenants can’t see who’s requesting access. They also lack an apartment gate opener app, which is a significant inconvenience in today’s digital age.


IP intercom systems with a mobile app

The most secure and convenient way to open a gate with a cell phone is to install an IP intercom system with smartphone capabilities. An IP (Internet Protocol) gate intercom system uses the internet to transmit audio and video signals between tenants and visitors via WiFi.

In contrast to gate access control systems, IP intercoms empower tenants to use their cell phones to open the gate for themselves and visitors. And unlike telephone entry systems, IP gate intercoms have cameras to transmit video and mobile apps for tenants to open the gate.

Tenants can open the gate for themselves by tapping a button on the app when they approach the gate.

Here’s how residents open a gate with a cell phone for guests:

  1. When a visitor arrives, they search for a tenant in the intercom directory and video call them
  2. The tenant answers the video call through the app (if they don’t have a smartphone, they can use a regular cell phone to answer the call)
  3. If the renter wants to open the gate for the visitor, they tap a button on the app (or press ‘9’ if using a regular cell phone)


Smartphone gate opener methods

It has never been easier for residents to open gates with their phones. With even baby boomers hooked on smartphones, installing a gate intercom system with smartphone capabilities is a must. Although residents may forget their keys or access fobs, no one leaves home without their smartphone. So, having a smartphone gate opener is essential in today’s digital age.

There are three common ways to open a gate with a smartphone:

  1. Swipe to open
  2. Open by voice (Alexa or Siri)
  3. 3D or haptic touch mobile app


Learn how to open a gate with a cell phone:


1. Swipe to open

A gate intercom system’s mobile app lets you open the gate for yourself or your guest anytime, anywhere. Rain or shine, you can simply open the app and swipe. The gate will open, and you don’t even have to get out of the car or roll down your window to scan a fob or keycard.


2. Open by voice (Alexa or Siri)

Set up your Alexa or Siri-enabled smartphone to open the gate with just your voice. Voice commands are a simple, hands-free way to open the gate. This way, your residents can keep their hands safely on the steering wheel.


3. 3D or haptic touch mobile app

Residents with iPhones enjoy one other simple way to open a gate with a cell phone. Apple’s 3D/haptic touch technology allows you to use the functionality in apps without actually opening the app. So, you can open the gate from an iPhone just by holding down on the intercom system app on your phone’s home screen.


Benefits of opening a gate with a cell phone

As a gated community property owner or manager, you have more than enough on your plate. Allowing residents to open a gate with a cell phone app streamlines property access while freeing up your staff’s time and elevating the resident experience. So, a smartphone-based access control system is a must-have amenity for any gated community.

Here are the top four benefits of opening a gate with a smartphone:

  1. Allows property access even if residents forgot their keys
  2. Reduces car traffic when entering the property
  3. Ensures distraction-free driving
  4. No fobs or key cards


1. Allows property access even if residents forgot their keys

We’ve all been there: occasionally leaving home without our keys. One of the worst feelings in the world is realizing you forgot your keys or fob when frantically searching your pockets or bag at the gated entrance.

However, you’re way less likely to leave home without your phone. With an app-based gate intercom system, you can open the gate using your smartphone. In the 2010s, fobs replaced keys. Now in the 2020s, smartphones will replace fobs.


Watch how ButterflyMX works at your gated community: 


2. Reduces car traffic when entering the property

Residents sit in rush hour traffic on their way home. The last thing they want is to sit in traffic again just to enter their building.

With an outdated gate intercom system, it can take up to five minutes for residents and visitors to present their credentials or request access. As each vehicle wastes time seeking access, cars continue stacking up behind them.

Meanwhile, modern cloud-based gate intercom systems eliminate all that extra time by allowing residents and guests to easily and quickly open the gate with their smartphones. With a simple swipe or tap, the gate promptly opens, speeding up traffic entering your property.


3. Ensures distraction-free driving

We all know that we shouldn’t text and drive, but what about searching for something while driving? Distracted driving entails anything that pulls your attention away from driving. Trying to find your keys while entering the property can be very distracting. In 2018, over 2,800 people were killed, and about 400,000 were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver.

Even when driving 5 to 10 MPH in a parking lot or entryway, those few seconds of distraction can cause a fender bender, or worse, a pedestrian accident. Approximately 20% of those who died in a car crash involving a distracted driver were pedestrians or bikers.

With a smartphone-based gate intercom system, you can open the gate with your voice, keeping your attention and hands on the wheel.


Gate Intercom System


4. No fobs or key cards

With property staff free from issuing new fobs or key cards and operating the gate entry system, they can focus on more important tasks, such as processing resident maintenance requests.

Also, installing a smartphone gate opener eliminates the need for late-night third shift gate attendants. Residents ordering food for their midnight cravings or inviting late-night guests can vet visitors and grant access to the building or HOA right from their smartphones rather than relying on a gate attendant.


ButterflyMX is a sleek and modern gate intercom system that empowers residents to open gates right from their smartphones. With a user-friendly interface and intuitive software, ButterflyMX is easy for all tenants – and property staff – to use. It provides robust property security for gated communities and a modern way of living.


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Sarah Kim

Based in New York City, I love exploring the real estate industry and explaining how property technology can improve people’s lives.