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How Far Away Does Your Phone Key Work to Unlock ?

How near to the car do you need to be for the phone key to unlock it ?

  • iPhone - stood right next to the car

    Votes: 27 36.5%
  • iPhone - a few feet away

    Votes: 8 10.8%
  • iPhone - roughly a car length away

    Votes: 3 4.1%
  • iPhone - more than a car length away

    Votes: 5 6.8%
  • Android - stood right next to the car

    Votes: 14 18.9%
  • Android - a few feet away

    Votes: 6 8.1%
  • Android - roughly a car length away

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Android - more than a car length away

    Votes: 11 14.9%

  • Total voters
    74
Seems to be coming up quite a lot...people's experience with the phone key unlocking the car seems wildly different.

Interesting to know what is the norm and whether there's a difference in behaviour between iPhone and Android devices.

This might or might not be the same distance for the walk-away lock, suspect most will double-check it's locked but being sat in the house/office/restaurant and someone able to open the car might be a concern.
 
I find that walk-away locking and unlocking are completely different.

When unlocking I need to have the phone in my pocket nearest the car.

Also locking is different depending on where you are in relation to the car, I can walk two cars length away from the back of the car before it's locks whilst I can walk around to the front of the car and it will lock.

This is with an iPhone 7.
 
I find the auto lock is based on time, it takes a number of seconds to lock once the phone is out of range which is only a few feet in my experience.

If walking directly away from the car, I can be a few car lengths away in 15-20 seconds. However if I stay away a few feet it will auto lock in about the same amount of time. I rarely stand a few feet from the car like a lemon waiting for it to lock so I’m normally quite a away away by the time it does.

In terms of unlocking the phone needs to be on my or it will not unlock. If I leave it in the house, it will not open.

As mentioned in the other thread, you can approximate distance with Bluetooth so it’s possible for the car to know how far away the key is when connected. I couldn’t say if Tesla do that or not though.
 
No straight answer.

I can be leaning over checking front wheel and it locks after maybe 10 seconds or walking away at a different angle and get maybe 3-4m from the car and will lock. Sometimes I need a slight pause before opening house door before it locks.

But I’m pretty sure time comes into it too. I can be well within that 3-4 meter range at similar position relative to cat and put phone down (say to wash car) and car will lock.

To open I need to be within a few steps and for Model 3, obviously physically have to operate car door to coax it into any form of life - I believe a little different with S and X which is a bit more obvious when it is ready to be opened.

Also not to be confused with Bluetooth connected in app. I can be well inside the house before losing Bluetooth connectivity but that is not the same Bluetooth connection as the one that allows me to open the car. The car has 2 Bluetooth connections - one obvious one and another beginning with S that looks like a random set of characters.

Just because car says connected in app does not mean it will not lock, has not locked or can be opened. It’s a completely different Bluetooth to the key security beacon Bluetooth.

But to unlock the car, pretty much stood in arms reach of the car.
 
  • Informative
Reactions: _MJF_
Thanks to those that responded, the results probably confirm what most people suspected :-
  • iPhones generally produce the expected behaviour, which is that you need to be close to the car for it to unlock
  • behaviour of Android phones is more variable
  • roughly 2/3 of Tesla owners have an iPhone
  • a minority of owners (~10%) have the problem where the car can be unlocked when the phone is a substantial distance away
 
  • Like
Reactions: WannabeOwner

Adopado

Well-Known Member
Aug 19, 2019
6,801
5,420
Scotland
Thanks to those that responded, the results probably confirm what most people suspected :-
  • iPhones generally produce the expected behaviour, which is that you need to be close to the car for it to unlock
  • behaviour of Android phones is more variable
  • roughly 2/3 of Tesla owners have an iPhone
  • a minority of owners (~10%) have the problem where the car can be unlocked when the phone is a substantial distance away

Thankfully it's an issue that's easy for users to check using their own phone and in their own home layout.
 

Rooster6655

Active Member
May 3, 2019
2,052
831
UK
I can walk away till the car auto locks put the key down and it will still unlock the car from that same distance, its especially annoying if you want to keep keys/phone at a distance that is close but not too close to the car so that it unlocks for anyone.

It is more of a problem for the key fob, if you leave it with your keys and its too close to the front door then anyone could potentially unlock the car.
 
I posted about this back in 2019 having been inadvertently leaving the car unlocked for a couple of months, sat in the front room around 10m away. I've been turning Bluetooth off ever since.

It did it with my old OnePlus 6 and still does it with the OP 9 Pro. I'm used to flipping BT on/off as needed but it was a bit of a shock when I first spotted it!
 
It is more of a problem for the key fob, if you leave it with your keys and its too close to the front door then anyone could potentially unlock the car.

I thought that the key fob shut itself down after a period of inactivity to mitigate against this? So won’t it only be a potential problem between putting key fob down and whatever the shutdown period is, whatever that is?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Adopado

Rooster6655

Active Member
May 3, 2019
2,052
831
UK
I thought that the key fob shut itself down after a period of inactivity to mitigate against this? So won’t it only be a potential problem between putting key fob down and whatever the shutdown period is, whatever that is?
So it seems that you were correct and after testing there seems to be a shut down period after 20m on the key fob, if however the key fob is moved at any point then it activates the key fob again.

For example if the keys are in the door with the fob then after 20 minutes you open the door and the key fob moves, to test the car is locked the car will open as the key fob moved. If the key fob doesn't move ie you came from the street to the car it will stay locked.

Now if this 20minutes was reduced to 5m I think it would be better
 
  • Helpful
Reactions: MrBadger

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