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Bluetooth problems

Bluetooth is not behaving as expected.

I took delivery of a Model 3 a couple of days ago. Bluetooth to my Pixel phone was set up with guidance from the delivery centre staff. Bluetooth works fine with my various audio devices (soundbar, earbuds, etc).

Bluetooth also seems to be OK while I'm in the car. However, as soon as I close the door after getting out, the Bluetooth connection is dropped. It is clearly linked to closing the door after getting out, not just leaving the seat. If I get out, leaving the door ajar, and walk around for a while, the connection remains active (as shown by the phone) but when I close the door, the connection instantly disappears from my phone's list of active devices. The car is still listed under "Previously connected devices", but it fails to connect, even when I'm standing next to the car. Phone fully charged. I am convinced that it is something the car is doing, not my phone, as the drop happens when the car door closes on full latch (BT still works when the door is open or on half latch).

I have un-paired and re-paired them, going through the full procedure. No change. I turned airplane mode on and off as per the suggestion in the phone app, still no change.

Is there a setting somewhere that I've missed?
There is a connection between my phone and the car - I have to assume it's via internet. It does not allow me to use the phone as a key to open the door by being within bluetooth range - it does allow me to unlock, sound the hooter, etc., by pressing button on the phone app. I can of course unlock with a keycard against the door pillar.

My understanding was that, as soon as my phone comes within bluetooth range, the car should unlock upon recognising it? I was also expecting the car to lock on walk-away, as I have set it to do so - but that doesn't work either - presumably because the bluetooth connection is closed when I close the door, which is prresumably not the same as that function being triggered by losing connection due to distance?Also, I cannot Summon - the phone says "Summon failed - Please ensure phone key is within range of your vehicle" even when I' stading right beside it.

I've just done another test: Open phone's list of "Connected devices" - car not listed. Unlock car door (by any means) - still no car listed on phone. Open car door - within a second or two, the phone lists the car as connected. Close the door - the car immediately disappears from the list of "Connected devices".

The phone obviously does not know whether the door is open or closed, but the car obviously does know. So I believe it's the car that closes the bluetooth connection if no-one is on the seat and the door closes.


Active Member
Jan 15, 2019
Woonsocket, RI
The phone-as-key setup is separate from the Bluetooth setup. You can set up a Bluetooth connection without enabling phone-as-key functionality. If you've neglected to set up the phone-as-key function, then of course your phone won't work as a key. Check the manual for the details of how to set up the phone as a key; I don't recall the precise steps. (You could also just peruse the menus until you find the option.) You'll need a working key card to set up your phone as a key.

I haven't checked when it happens, but my Tesla app notification on my OnePlus 5t Android phone goes from "connected" to "disconnected" when I get far enough away from my car. The Android Settings utility's list of connected Bluetooth devices shows no connection to the car even when the Tesla app notification shows it's connected and when I'm outside of my car, though. Thus, if you're judging this by what the Android system is saying, it may be perfectly normal.

If you continue to have problems, you may want to report what exact Pixel phone you're using and what Android version you're using. Some people have reported that Android 9 ("Pie") works better as a key than Android 8.x ("Oreo") and earlier; and there also seem to be model-to-model differences. If you have enough problems that you decide to get a new phone, iPhones seem to work better than Android phones, if you're willing to make that switch.


Unknown Member
Nov 25, 2017
Your audio bluetooth connection is supposed to disconnect when you close the doors. If you don't have phone-as-key set up, then you won't be able to open the doors via proximity. Phone-as-key uses bluetooth low energy (aka BLE) which is different than the bluetooth that streams your music. Make sure you've set up your phone as a key. Once that's set up, you should be able to see in your Tesla app when the phone is connected to the car via BLE.


Oct 16, 2018
If you actually have it setup as a phone key... You're still going to have issues periodically with the Pixel 1 or Pixel 2.

I have owned both of those phones and no matter what version of Android or what settings I tried it just didn't work sometimes.

I upgraded to a pixel 3 and it's been nearly perfect.

Wife had a pixel 2 until last week and hated trying to get into the car as it failed 80% of the time.

Got a pixel 3a last week and it works 100% of the time. So nice to finally just walk up and it work for both of us.
Thanks for all those very helpful replies. As far as I'm aware, my phone is indeed set up as a key. I been studying the manual again.

This sentence ("Keys", p.7) caught my eye: "As you approach, your phone's Bluetooth signal is detected and doors unlock when you press a door handle." And it worked! So, in spite of my phone not seeing the car, evidently the car can see my phone. I tested it a bit more - left my phone on the other side of the house, then unlocked and locked the car with a keycard, noted that, as expected, the door handle did not open the door. Fetched the phone and put it in my pocket, went back to the car, and lo! the door handle did open the door. Walked away, left phone out of range again, went back, found car locked - so Walk Away works too.

I still wonder what exactly happens to the bluetooth connection as seen by my phone at the instant the car door closes. Phone still obviously well in BT range then. Does the car switch from normal bluetooth to BLE, making it less "visible"? But that would not be sensible - why would it increase the bluetooth power when I'm in the car, when presumably less Tx/Rx power is needed?

Summon still fails - does that function need my phone to see the car via bluetooth? I would have thought not, as one might conceivably want to summon the car when you're out of bluetooth range anyway?

I've been putting off getting a later model Pixel because this one still works as slickly as it did on day one. Now I have an incentive to upgrade it.

Many thanks for all your help!
I've got a Pixel 3xl. The phone as key is pretty much flawless. I haven't had even a minor problem in months. In the Android settings for the Tesla app, I disabled battery optimization, gave it every permission except the camera, and gave it unrestricted data usage. Not sure if that's why it works so well or if they fixed it with updates. Be aware that bluetooth doesn't penetrate water... and your body is mostly water. So, front pockets are better than back pockets.

Summon is pretty glitchy but it seems similar to what many other people have reported in here on other threads. I have it set to require me to hold the button down to keep moving. My wife has hers set to click once to start and then again to stop. Hers works fine most of the time. She has an older Samsung... S7 I think. I'm pretty sure that both the car and the phone need to have a good data connection for it to work.

The Bluetooth connection to the stereo is completely separate and not related to phone as key or summon. Mine only connects to the stereo when I get back into the car about 1 out of 3 times. And, on most of the successful attempts, it disconnects after a few seconds. I've unpaired/repaired several times with no change. If I'm listening to something from the phone or I'm talking on the phone, I just connect the phone from the previously connected devices in the car and then... no problems until I get out and back in.

If I wait several minutes, it will usually connect on its own like it's supposed to. So, unless I'm using the phone, it's not that big of a deal. Sooner or later I'm going to try a factory reset on my phone but I've pretty much gotten used to it and it's not annoying me enough to deal with it. I'm probably going to wait until Version 10 before I take that step.
Thanks jamnmon66 - I've applied the same settings as you described in your first paragraph, so will report back if it makes any difference with my phone.

Summon does not seem to offer a "Require Continuous Press" on/off button - or if it does then I can't see it. The Customise screen looks like this, in my car:
summon screen.jpg

... which is different from this one - https://cdn.teslarati.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/model-3-summon-release-notes-3.jpg - wondering if that option is perhaps not available in the UK?

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