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How to use Samsung A02 (and other Android phones) as phone key

BitJam

Member
May 30, 2021
212
674
Silver City, NM
Like many others I struggled for a while to get my phone to unlock my car. Note that I was able to use the button on the app to unlock and it would lock when I walked away. The sticking point was getting the car to unlock without having to unlock my phone and open the app and push the unlock button. Here is what finally worked for me.
  1. Disable battery optimization for Tesla app and Bluetooth app
  2. Don't let the phone put background apps to sleep
  3. Enable using wifi and bluetooth to improve location accuracy
  4. Give the Telsa app location and storage permissions
  5. Walk to the car
  6. Make sure phone screen is on (you don't need to unlock the phone)
  7. With the phone very near try to open the driver's door
When I try to open the door, the car unlocks. This also works for opening the trunk but that doesn't unlock the car. All these steps may not all be needed. I haven't tried to cull them down to the bare essentials.

Notes
I got to most settings by using the search function in settings. In this list I give the search term followed by what you are searching for and directions.
  • "improve accuracy" --> Use Wifi and bluetooth for more accurate location. Enable.
  • "sleep" --> Put unused apps to sleep. Disable "Put unused apps to sleep".
  • "optimize" --> Optimize battery usage (this is the tricky one)
    • Follow "Optimize battery usage" to get to a screen with a list of apps
    • Change menu at top from "Apps not Optimized" to "All"
    • Scroll down to "Bluetooth" make sure button is on the LEFT (disabled)
    • Scroll down to "Tesla" make sure button is on the LEFT (disabled)
    • You can test this by switching back to "Apps not Optimized" and make sure both Bluetooth and Tesla are on this list.
To get to Telsa app permissions hold down the Tesla icon on the desktop/screentop then select "App info". Scroll down to "permissions". Enable location and storage. I also enabled contacts. I'm not sure if any or all of these are required.
 
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bluenycom

Member
Feb 12, 2021
144
139
Rancho Cucamonga
My Pixel 5 works well since the beginning. I didn't change app Optimized setting for bluetooth or Tesla app. I have tested my phone with app off (not in back ground) and it worked fine. The truth is I have no idea why it works well in some and not others. My wife has Iphone 11 Pro and it's working okay too. I haven't tested the iPhone as much as I tested with my Pixel 5.
 
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rxlawdude

Active Member
Jul 10, 2015
2,952
2,063
Orange County, CA
Like many others I struggled for a while to get my phone to unlock my car. Note that I was able to use the button on the app to unlock and it would lock when I walked away. The sticking point was getting the car to unlock without having to unlock my phone and open the app and push the unlock button. Here is what finally worked for me.
  1. Disable battery optimization for Tesla app and Bluetooth app
  2. Don't let the phone put background apps to sleep
  3. Enable using wifi and bluetooth to improve location accuracy
  4. Give the Telsa app location and storage permissions
  5. Walk to the car
  6. Make sure phone screen is on (you don't need to unlock the phone)
  7. With the phone very near try to open the driver's door
When I try to open the door, the car unlocks. This also works for opening the trunk but that doesn't unlock the car. All these steps may not all be needed. I haven't tried to cull them down to the bare essentials.

Notes
I got to most settings by using the search function in settings. In this list I give the search term followed by what you are searching for and directions.
  • "improve accuracy" --> Use Wifi and bluetooth for more accurate location. Enable.
  • "sleep" --> Put unused apps to sleep. Disable "Put unused apps to sleep".
  • "optimize" --> Optimize battery usage (this is the tricky one)
    • Follow "Optimize battery usage" to get to a screen with a list of apps
    • Change menu at top from "Apps not Optimized" to "All"
    • Scroll down to "Bluetooth" make sure button is on the LEFT (disabled)
    • Scroll down to "Tesla" make sure button is on the LEFT (disabled)
    • You can test this by switching back to "Apps not Optimized" and make sure both Bluetooth and Tesla are on this list.
To get to Telsa app permissions hold down the Tesla icon on the desktop/screentop then select "App info". Scroll down to "permissions". Enable location and storage. I also enabled contacts. I'm not sure if any or all of these are required.
Or, once set up in the App to use the phone as key, here's a neat trick (assumes you have NFC capability on your phone): Just put your phone against the pillar where you'd use the key card. In my experience, the Tesla app need not be running nor is it necessary to prevent sleep.

Try this and let us know if that works for you. It's especially handy with two Teslas, when the app is set for the M3 and I go to open the MY. Press against the B pillar on driver's side and voila! Car unlocks and drives. Don't have to open the app, and best of all: the phone while locked switches "context" to the car you're at.
 
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BitJam

Member
May 30, 2021
212
674
Silver City, NM
Or, once set up in the App to use the phone as key, here's a neat trick (assumes you have NFC capability on your phone): Just put your phone against the pillar where you'd use the key card. In my experience, the Tesla app need not be running nor is it necessary to prevent sleep.
Thanks! Unfortunately the Samsung A02 does not have NFC.
 

laservet

Member
Mar 9, 2020
341
221
Williamsburg, Virginia
S20+. Android version 11 4.19.113 with June 1 security patch.

Settings>Battery and device care>Battery>Background usage limitsNever sleeping apps

Add the Tesla app to never sleeping apps. Phone key works immediately even if the T app isn’t open and the phone is asleep.
 

BitJam

Member
May 30, 2021
212
674
Silver City, NM
The A02 phone is working really well now even without its screen being on. If the phone is on my person I can just walk up to the car and open any door or the trunk. When I open a door, the car unlocks. When I walk away, the car locks itself. I'm glad to hear about the NFC feature. It sounds very cool. For me, for now, being able to just walk up to the car and open any door works great.

Thanks @laservet! I will test it without the Tesla app open.
 
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M3LR21

Member
May 10, 2021
13
7
Sheffield
Hi, One other thing I discovered - my butt is really good at blocking Bluetooth! If my phone is in the rear pocket of my jeans, unlocking can be a bit patchy, even with the correct Android settings. However, it's a simple problem to overcome - I just take the phone out of my pocket before trying to open the door. I can't sit down with the phone in my back pocket anyway, so it's just a matter of the order in which I do things
 
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spokey

Member
Aug 8, 2020
696
260
Flagtown
My Pixel 5 works well since the beginning. I didn't change app Optimized setting for bluetooth or Tesla app. I have tested my phone with app off (not in back ground) and it worked fine. The truth is I have no idea why it works well in some and not others. My wife has Iphone 11 Pro and it's working okay too. I haven't tested the iPhone as much as I tested with my Pixel 5.
Same with the pixel 3 here. Don't remember what permissions I might have allowed when I installed it, but I basically installed it a month before I got the car and when it was delivered and linked it just worked. Worked fine ever since. The only thing I have to do is unlock it when I power up the phone in the morning (I turn it off every night). Found out if I haven't entered my pin to finsih booting, the car won't go. But any later time, screen locked or not, I just walk up to the car, get in and go. The app does run in the background as I have a have a permanent 'T" in my notification bar.

That said, my wife's iPhone doesn't just work. You do need to start the app. Other than that I think it works pretty much the same.

- - - -
edit

I'm on android 11. I think it was 9 when I got the phone in Jan '19. Not sure which system when I got the MY but probably 10
 

bluenycom

Member
Feb 12, 2021
144
139
Rancho Cucamonga
I just did a more detailed tests of our 2 phones, Pixel 5 (main) and iPhone 11 Pro. Only one phone was on at a time. I set both up by closing all background apps and reboot. Neither worked after reboot but before initial login with PIN. Once initial login completed, both worked even with screen off and not logged in via FaceID or fingerprint. Keep in mind that the Tesla app was never used/initiated during the tests. As far as I can remember, the Tesla app were installed with default setting on both phones.

My only suggestion for those with issue is to uninstall the Tesla app, reboot phone, remove the phone key from car, and go through the process again.
 

spokey

Member
Aug 8, 2020
696
260
Flagtown
Mine is a Pixel 3

that pretty much mirrors my experience. On a reboot the phone doesn't work until I initially unlock it. Then it always works. Don't need to start the app. And if I do start it, then kill it, it still lets me drive away. Once the phone is initially up, the 'T' shows in my notification area all the time even when I invoke then kill the app.

I did a factory reset on the phone back in late May and I'm pretty sure when I re-installed the T app it was with all the defaults.

My wife's is an iPhone 8+. She doesn't (won't ) drive the car but it appears that we need to start the app on her phone.
 
Last edited:

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