Welcome to Tesla Motors Club
Discuss Tesla's Model S, Model 3, Model X, Model Y, Cybertruck, Roadster and More.
Register

Hotspot unlock

gaximus

New Member
Jun 25, 2021
4
0
Longmont, CO
Hey guys,
New to the forums and new Tesla owner. I got my Tesla about a week or two ago, and had to have some minor work done, and the Tesla mobile service guy came out. I asked him (because I bought used from 3rd party, and know very little about my car) what happens if I use my phone to unlock, leave my keys at home, and part in an area without signal. He said “doesn’t matter it’ll connect to the phone with Bluetooth and still unlock. He was incorrect(proven wrong the next day, had to have my wife bring me my keys). So here is my thought. If I create a WiFi hotspot on my phone, and connect the Tesla to it, shouldn’t I be able to unlock my car even if it doesn’t have signal, but my phone does? And secondly if my phone and the car doesn’t have signal will it work across a WiFi network without internet connectivity?
 

PCMc

Member
Jul 1, 2016
253
217
Columbus, IN
Hey guys,
New to the forums and new Tesla owner. I got my Tesla about a week or two ago, and had to have some minor work done, and the Tesla mobile service guy came out. I asked him (because I bought used from 3rd party, and know very little about my car) what happens if I use my phone to unlock, leave my keys at home, and part in an area without signal. He said “doesn’t matter it’ll connect to the phone with Bluetooth and still unlock. He was incorrect(proven wrong the next day, had to have my wife bring me my keys). So here is my thought. If I create a WiFi hotspot on my phone, and connect the Tesla to it, shouldn’t I be able to unlock my car even if it doesn’t have signal, but my phone does? And secondly if my phone and the car doesn’t have signal will it work across a WiFi network without internet connectivit
You did not state so explicitly, but I expect you have a Model S (you posted in the MS forum). Service tech comment about phone connecting directly to car via bluetooth is correct for Model 3 and Model Y, but as you found, not incorrect for Model S/X.

The phone app does not connect directly to your car. All commands have to go from your phone to Tesla server and then back to your car. That means both your phone and your car must each have a connection to the internet. Even if you have your car connected to your phone via a hotspot, but are in an area without cellular connection for your phone to Tesla server, such as in an underground parking garage, you'll be out of luck.

Just my personal opinion, but I never trust my phone to act as a key and always have my fob with me when I'm driving my Model S.
 

gaximus

New Member
Jun 25, 2021
4
0
Longmont, CO
You did not state so explicitly, but I expect you have a Model S (you posted in the MS forum). Service tech comment about phone connecting directly to car via bluetooth is correct for Model 3 and Model Y, but as you found, not incorrect for Model S/X.

The phone app does not connect directly to your car. All commands have to go from your phone to Tesla server and then back to your car. That means both your phone and your car must each have a connection to the internet. Even if you have your car connected to your phone via a hotspot, but are in an area without cellular connection for your phone to Tesla server, such as in an underground parking garage, you'll be out of luck.

Just my personal opinion, but I never trust my phone to act as a key and always have my fob with me when I'm driving my Model S.
Yes It’s a Model S. That’s kind of a bummer, my ultimate goal is to have all things through my phone, most places except mobile payment methods, and with iOS 15 mobile IDs will start to be a thing. All well, thanks.
 

roblab

Active Member
Jul 15, 2008
3,656
2,726
Angwin (Napa Valley) CA
Carrying the fob in my pocket is almost second nature. My car wakes up and turns on as I walk up, I get in, shift to reverse and back out of the garage. I never think about unlocking and never worry about locking when I get to my destination. It just works.

Of course there are people who carry "stuff" around in their pockets all the time who now have a phone added to the list, but the fob is so small. I don't have to hold it against the car or tap it by the door, nor do I have to place it just so inside the car. The fob requires no thought, which is something I'm really good at.
 
  • Like
  • Funny
Reactions: Decibelle and bmah

Huachipato

Member
Jul 16, 2019
270
199
Murphy, TX
I actually had a similar idea of just using the phone and leaving the key at home. Then one day the servers were down for some reason leaving me stranded.

I just carry the key with me all the time now.
 

PCMc

Member
Jul 1, 2016
253
217
Columbus, IN
That’s kind of a bummer, my ultimate goal is to have all things through my phone, most places except mobile payment methods, and with iOS 15 mobile IDs will start to be a thing. All well, thanks.
I understand the desire, but I think you now understand that's not viable with your current Model S.
 

swt2c

Member
Jan 31, 2021
52
28
USA
Hey guys,
New to the forums and new Tesla owner. I got my Tesla about a week or two ago, and had to have some minor work done, and the Tesla mobile service guy came out. I asked him (because I bought used from 3rd party, and know very little about my car) what happens if I use my phone to unlock, leave my keys at home, and part in an area without signal. He said “doesn’t matter it’ll connect to the phone with Bluetooth and still unlock. He was incorrect(proven wrong the next day, had to have my wife bring me my keys). So here is my thought. If I create a WiFi hotspot on my phone, and connect the Tesla to it, shouldn’t I be able to unlock my car even if it doesn’t have signal, but my phone does? And secondly if my phone and the car doesn’t have signal will it work across a WiFi network without internet connectivity?
It seems like your first idea might be possible (although I've never tried it): connecting the car to a hotspot running on your phone.
 

PCMc

Member
Jul 1, 2016
253
217
Columbus, IN
It seems like your first idea might be possible (although I've never tried it): connecting the car to a hotspot running on your phone.
Even with it directly connected to your phone via wifi, the communication still goes from your phone, back through internet to tesla server, and from server to your car. If you're in an underground garage where your phone does not have cellular connection, you'll still not be able to unlock the car.

I also think you'll find the car will not stay connected to your phone as a hotspot. You'll need to manually reconnect it from inside the car each time you enter.
 
  • Like
Reactions: KalJoMoS

ucmndd

Well-Known Member
Mar 10, 2016
6,924
13,066
California
It seems like your first idea might be possible (although I've never tried it): connecting the car to a hotspot running on your phone.
It certainly won’t work without cellular service. The commands to lock or unlock or do anything else are all brokered through the mothership, not directly between the car and the app.
 

swt2c

Member
Jan 31, 2021
52
28
USA
It certainly won’t work without cellular service. The commands to lock or unlock or do anything else are all brokered through the mothership, not directly between the car and the app.
Yeah, but in the OPs first idea, his/her phone HAS service but the car does not.
 

PCMc

Member
Jul 1, 2016
253
217
Columbus, IN
Yeah, but in the OPs first idea, his/her phone HAS service but the car does not.
I'll admit I've not tried it, but everything I've read says that as soon as you leave the car it will disconnect from your phone hotspot and will not reconnect to it automatically. You need to manually trigger it to connect to your phone each time you enter the car.

I was referencing last comment in his post about working over wifi without internet connectivity:
if my phone and the car doesn’t have signal will it work across a WiFi network without internet connectivity?
 

sorka

Well-Known Member
Feb 28, 2015
8,250
6,022
Merced, CA
You did not state so explicitly, but I expect you have a Model S (you posted in the MS forum). Service tech comment about phone connecting directly to car via bluetooth is correct for Model 3 and Model Y, but as you found, not incorrect for Model S/X.

The phone app does not connect directly to your car. All commands have to go from your phone to Tesla server and then back to your car. That means both your phone and your car must each have a connection to the internet. Even if you have your car connected to your phone via a hotspot, but are in an area without cellular connection for your phone to Tesla server, such as in an underground parking garage, you'll be out of luck.

Just my personal opinion, but I never trust my phone to act as a key and always have my fob with me when I'm driving my Model S.
He already said his phone has a signal, so yes that should still work.
 

gaximus

New Member
Jun 25, 2021
4
0
Longmont, CO
He already said his phone has a signal, so yes that should still work.
In theory it should work, but I’m not going to take that chance, the car uses AT&T, and I have T-Mobile, so it’s more likely that the car will have signal and I won’t. Looks like it’s best to just always carry the key with me.
 

KArnold

Member
May 21, 2017
607
557
Columbus OH
If I create a WiFi hotspot on my phone, and connect the Tesla to it, shouldn’t I be able to unlock my car even if it doesn’t have signal, but my phone does?
Yes that works.

If you have the phones wifi hotspot defined to the car, the car will connect automatically to that hotspot whenever it is in range. Assuming your phone has cellular Internet connectivity you could unlock/start your car this way.
 

Products we're discussing on TMC...

About Us

Formed in 2006, Tesla Motors Club (TMC) was the first independent online Tesla community. Today it remains the largest and most dynamic community of Tesla enthusiasts. Learn more.

Do you value your experience at TMC? Consider becoming a Supporting Member of Tesla Motors Club. As a thank you for your contribution, you'll get nearly no ads in the Community and Groups sections. Additional perks are available depending on the level of contribution. Please visit the Account Upgrades page for more details.


SUPPORT TMC
Top