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Car won't unlock until I handle my iPhone

My iPhone 6 almost always fails to unlock my 3. Almost every single time I have to toggle Bluetooth off and on again on the phone, and it then immediately allows me to open the vehicle.
And most of the time the profile chosen is my wife's, despite her phone being nowhere near the vehicle. (And when she unlocks the car often it's my profile selected). The association between phone and profile (as set up in the Locks settings screen) clearly is buggy as hell - for me.
Not impressed with Phone-As-Key.
 

Cousin

Member
Aug 23, 2019
25
31
Bay Area
I have had my car for a couple of months now, never had a problem with unlocking my car with my phone in my pocket. It seems like ever since I got 2019.36.2.1 I have been having issues. Several times each day I need to take my phone out of my pocket (front) and open the app (was running in the background) in order to open my door. Curious issue today - came out of the gym at lunch. Phone in my pocket, walked up to my car and popped the trunk using the button above the license plate. Put my gym bag in, walked to the driver door and tried several times, would not open. Opened the app, door opened. Seems like a bug in the update?
 

mswlogo

Well-Known Member
Aug 27, 2018
6,349
5,459
MA, NH
Where did you get the idea I was worried about Bluetooth power consumption? To the contrary, I said I wish there was a device or setting that would leave it on longer (not turn it off so fast).

That aside, yes, it is puzzling why the
“Location Always” setting has anything to do with bluetooth. Two very different things. Not saying it’s no so, but I’d love to see a reference to that. I do see where the Tesla App says it uses location to optimize the phone key, but that’s a pretty vague note.

Remember, Tesla says you can delete the app and still use your phone as a phone key.

All that aside, my phone is not in low power mode and my Tesla app has everything enabled including Location Always. iPhone XR Latest iOS.

I believe the reason is Bluetooth can be used to determine your location. The article below makes it sound like it's something new, but apps have always needed location for Bluetooth access. And the Always is needed to work together with Background processing. It's just iOS 13 is making all that more visible to the user and letting them confirm they want to allow apps access to Bluetooth.

Here’s why so many apps are asking to use Bluetooth on iOS 13

I no longer have the Model 3 for the last 2 months (now have an X) and it's possible there is a bug with the latest iOS updates. But for the year I had the Model 3 "Phone as Key" was flawless. It's one of the features I miss from the Model 3. I hate the Dongle. And I do run other apps that require similar access for similar reasons that still work perfect on the latest update (I developed it).

BTW I got iOS 13.2.3 today.

I believe the App does need to be installed to use Phone as Key. The App has to own those Bluetooth Connections and puts out the requests for the phone to watch for them. If the App wasn't required then Location always and Background Processing wouldn't be needed for the app.

If all else fails. Uninstall the App. Remove the Phone Keys in the car, Reinstall the app, add the Phone as Key back to the car. Grant every popup related to the Tesla App.

BTW I think I did have an issue once when I enabled "Face ID" in the App. And I could not get it working again until I uninstalled / reinstalled (that was a long time ago though). A friend with a Model 3, same iPhone X and he has his Face ID enabled in the Tesla app and Phone as Key is working fine. I'll ask him if his is still working.

One other thing to check that it's working. Go to Battery usage and switch it to 10 days.

Tesla App should show some background processing time. Mine doesn't show much because I no longer have the Model 3.

49097539667_3f0b585ed3_h_d.jpg
 
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CWFLY

Member
May 9, 2018
70
66
San Diego
Your tip about checking the background Battery Usage was a good idea. Mine shows 16m screen and 23m backgd.


As for the BlueTooth as a location device... I don't agree:
I believe the reason is Bluetooth can be used to determine your location. The article below makes it sound like it's something new, but apps have always needed location for Bluetooth access. And the Always is needed to work together with Background processing.

IMHO, BlueTooth is not a location device, anymore than a train horn is.
  • If a train blasts its horn and you hear it, then you know the train is probably within a few miles.
  • If a phone transmits BlueTooth and a receiver picks up the signal, then the receiver knows the phone is probably within 50 feet.
I think that's a stretch to call either a location device.

I think at one time the Tesla simply used the unique Bluetooth signal for entry. But this became a security issue because the signal was too easy to record. So (again guessing) they used the App to validate the BT signal. There are many things Tesla could require at this point, like ensuring that the phone is in the neighborhood of the car (location services/GPS), and/or a handshake challenge/response between the App and the car. The latter would require the App to wake up when the BT connects to the car.

Bottom line... there seems to be several M3 owners here who's phone doesn't seem to works as a key until they take it out of their pocket. And we all know that iPhone senses the difference between resting in your hand and sitting in your pocket. A lot of things don't work the same when the phone is in the pocket.

Try saying "hey Siri" with your phone in your pocket. That ought to derail this conversation :)
 
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mswlogo

Well-Known Member
Aug 27, 2018
6,349
5,459
MA, NH
Your tip about checking the background Battery Usage was a good idea. Mine shows 16m screen and 23m backgd.


As for the BlueTooth as a location device... I don't agree:


IMHO, BlueTooth is not a location device, anymore than a train horn is.
  • If a train blasts its horn and you hear it, then you know the train is probably within a few miles.
  • If a phone transmits BlueTooth and a receiver picks up the signal, then the receiver knows the phone is probably within 50 feet.
I think that's a stretch to call either a location device.

BlueTooth can most certainly be used as a location method (or tool). Did you read the link? You asked for documentation of the relationship.

Every BlueTooth device has a unique ID and classification. Apps can record or watch for when you are near a unique device or a class of devices. And those devices (Beacons) can be in known locations. Think of them as micro short range cell towers (for location purpose only). Software is very patient. Say for example every cash register at Walmart has one. An app could record you were there and which register.

Bingo with BlueTooth Scanning it knows exactly where you are. There is no rule “location” has to be continuous. It can be sporadic. Also location doesn’t have to be absolute. I guarantee my phone knows when I’m in my car or at my house or work. But it may not know where those things are on the planet.

For that matter the Tesla app knows when you’re near your car. Or any other (Model 3) Tesla car (a BlueTooth Beacon with a GPS receiver and Cell communication, how convenient), and it has a database of every Tesla cars (Model 3) BlueTooth ID’s and Tesla knows where every Tesla car is, in real time! Bingo By granting BlueTooth permission to the Tesla App it can locate you. It’s all personal information related to where I’m located that needs to be granted by the user.

Compass, Gyro, WiFi, Cell tower, GPS, NFC are all tools to “locate” you.

Now what does this have to do with trains again?
 
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Kdblondie

Member
Sep 11, 2019
49
12
Bay Area
If this were true, other iPhone users would have reported it. Does anyone else experience this issue with their latest iPhones?
I have an iphone XR and if my phone is in my purse or even my back pocket, my car wont unlock. I have to have it in my hand to be able to unlock the car. I also have a problem with the app not locking my car when I walk away. I have to ALWAYS hit the lock button on my app.
 

mswlogo

Well-Known Member
Aug 27, 2018
6,349
5,459
MA, NH
Make sure your Tesla App is “Always” running:

View attachment 479673

It also needs BackgroundProcessing. Also note the car does want to see you pretty close to the door you are unlocking. So if it's in say your back pocket, it may not unlock. This is for security. It has multiple beacons around the car and triangulates where you are.

49102229141_10b33b3fc0_h_d.jpg
 

Marius A

Member
Apr 2, 2019
612
527
NORWAY
My two iPhones have never worked properly with my 3. My brand new iPhone XS Max, for example, will fail to hands-free unlock the car most of the time.

The odd thing is, however, that once I take the phone out of my pocket (waking up the screen) the car immediately unlocks. I don't have to unlock the phone, just engage its motion sensor.

It's as if there is a low power key mode which fails on the Model 3, but the high power mode succeeds. I suspect an issue with the car's Bluetooth module.

Has anyone else encountered this issue? Service is stumped.
This happens around half the time with my M3. Tested with all permissions on, all battery optimisations off, high accuracy location turned off, WiFi and Bluetooth scanning turned on. Following phones tested:
iPhone7
iPhone8
iPhoneX
Samsung S9
Samsung S10e
Samsung S10
Essential Phone PH1

Tesla SC says no issue found, haven't fixed the 4 times it's been to service.
 
Sorry guys, but I have the same problem, and I have had the same phone since I bought my Tesla in August, 2018. Problem started occurring after I installed 2019.36.2.1 - as near as I can tell. Happens with the door the first time I want to open it - whether or not I have previously used my phone (thus unlikely it is the IPhone8's fault). Long shot possibility would be that current IOS release is affecting Bluetooth, but almost impossible to confirm.
But, I also have other s/w glitches since installing 36.2.1 on the car:
> Radio/media frequently changes station/source when I leave car and come back
> Seat heater was turned on after a restart (something I never use till January)
> Wipers switched from auto to off a couple of times
> Annnnd, battery regen function on slowdown (can't remember what its called) is switching from standard to low randomly

All this started happening after the latest s/w update.....
Just saying....

By the way, is there a thread for the @#&^^$#@ media center hanging, especially when switched to Spotify? I am tired of getting either the spinning circle, or 'load error' message, or a complete freeze requiring a reboot.
 

mswlogo

Well-Known Member
Aug 27, 2018
6,349
5,459
MA, NH
Sorry guys, but I have the same problem, and I have had the same phone since I bought my Tesla in August, 2018. Problem started occurring after I installed 2019.36.2.1 - as near as I can tell. Happens with the door the first time I want to open it - whether or not I have previously used my phone (thus unlikely it is the IPhone8's fault). Long shot possibility would be that current IOS release is affecting Bluetooth, but almost impossible to confirm.
But, I also have other s/w glitches since installing 36.2.1 on the car:
> Radio/media frequently changes station/source when I leave car and come back
> Seat heater was turned on after a restart (something I never use till January)
> Wipers switched from auto to off a couple of times
> Annnnd, battery regen function on slowdown (can't remember what its called) is switching from standard to low randomly

All this started happening after the latest s/w update.....
Just saying....

By the way, is there a thread for the @#&^^$#@ media center hanging, especially when switched to Spotify? I am tired of getting either the spinning circle, or 'load error' message, or a complete freeze requiring a reboot.

I’ve had some odd issues also with 36.2.1 on the Model X. Couple times screen was on max brightness when I got in car. Seat belt chime goes off when in park and I unbuckle. I just installed 36.2.2 tonight. Overall though it’s a great release.
 
Happens on my Android phone as well once I turned on "Fingerprint Authentication". Have to authenticate with my fingerprint for the car to unlock.

Sort of what I expected, and what I wanted, can't steal my car by stealing my phone, need my finger as well!!

May be different on iPhone or other Androids.
 

mswlogo

Well-Known Member
Aug 27, 2018
6,349
5,459
MA, NH
Happens on my Android phone as well once I turned on "Fingerprint Authentication". Have to authenticate with my fingerprint for the car to unlock.

Sort of what I expected, and what I wanted, can't steal my car by stealing my phone, need my finger as well!!

May be different on iPhone or other Androids.

Good point, your phone acts like a FOB.

I think that may be true on iPhone as well. I turned on face recognition in the Tesla App on the iPhone and did not like it. Problem was after I turned it back off I still had trouble and had to uninstall and reinstall to get it back working (hands free).
 

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