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

New phone time; questions re: phone-as-key

srs5694

Active Member
Jan 15, 2019
1,355
1,734
Woonsocket, RI
I'm thinking it's time to upgrade my cell phone. I currently use a OnePlus 5t, but it's becoming a bit unreliable (generically). Used as a phone key on my 2019 Model 3, it usually works well (maybe 80% of the time), but sometimes (maybe 15% of the time), there's a delay of a few (5-10) seconds before the door unlocks, and occasionally (about 5% of the time), I have to take the phone out, unlock it, and sometimes even open the Tesla app before the car responds. (These problems aren't new; they've existed since I bought the car.) I realize these sorts of problems are common, but they vary from one phone model to another, so....

What are peoples' experiences with the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and the Google Pixel 6 Pro with Teslas, and especially with the phone-as-key functionality? I'd hate to spend hundreds of bucks on a new phone only to discover that it works worse than my current phone! I've seen comments in other threads about how the Pixel 6 Pro barely fits some third-party wireless charging pads, so I know to research that detail, should I buy one. (My Model 3 is old enough that it doesn't come with wireless charging, and I haven't cared about that because my OnePlus 5t doesn't support that feature.) The Samsung is about 0.6 mm shorter than the Google, so I'm guessing it'll be a bit easier to fit on this score.

Also, are there any other known "gotchas" with either phone and Tesla connectivity? There was a brief period in 2019 when I had Bluetooth audio playback issues with my OnePlus, which Tesla eventually fixed with a software update, so I'd prefer to avoid any similar issues with a new phone.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 73Bruin
This isn’t a direct answer to your question but something to consider regarding using a phone as a Bluetooth key. Having your phone in your back pocket as you approach the car can inhibit it from receiving the Bluetooth signal from your phone. To solve this, you can remove your phone from your back pocket but that isn’t always convenient, particularly if your hands are full. To solve this, I rotate my body so my rear faces the door and the car can more easily receive the Bluetooth signal. It may appear a bit odd but it works nearly every time.
 
  • Like
Reactions: srs5694
The most significant thing you can do to help, apart from having it in front of your body is to configure the phone / the app so that it has full access and is not put to sleep / killed by the phone OS.
After that, remember that when you update the app on your phone, the update process kills the app that's running and updates it but (probably) doesn't start it back. That first time you try to open your car after he update won't work unless you've manually launched the app once first. Rebooting the phone would also work as the Tesla app is supposed to launch (in the background) on boot.
 
My S21 Ultra was very unreliable when it was on Android 11. I disabled every power saving and sleep option on the phone and made sure the Tesla app was exempt from deep sleep: didn't matter. I ended up having to run two ADB commands every time I rebooted the phone to disable deep sleep completely on the phone and that solved it. Once it updated to Android 12 though, it worked perfectly every time with no "finagling". I replaced that phone with a Z Flip3 (just for better portability) and that's on Android 12 also: never a problem. It works better than the fob I bought (which does fail probably 20% of the time). My observation is that as long as the phone is on the latest Android 12, there shouldn't be a problem.

P.S. I can close (even force close) the Tesla app and it still works to unlock the car and do passive door locks.

Mike
 
I too had an old Phone (LG K20) that had sunset with Android 7, and so with a Tesla App version update it became incredibly unreliable as a Phone Key.
I finally upgraded to a Pixel 6 (not Pro) with Android 12, and have had 99%+ success using it as a Phone key.
I haven't used BT Audio, so can't comment on that, but have a couple caveats.

1) The fingerprint reader on front screen is a joke -- <40% success rate with multiple attempts, and it got worse with recent updates;

2) I've had periodic trouble with Tesla app authenticating to Servers, only when car is on same WIFI Network as Phone.
To be clear, the M3 status from the App will show Session Timeout (401), and the PowerWall will show different error (can't remember exact wording), and not update status.
When this happens, it still works as a Key, and if I disable WIFI, both reconnect to the Servers when I try.
I then enable WIFI after reconnecting, it keeps working for rest of day until it tries to contact the Servers after long idle time.
They appear to have "fixed" that in a prior Tesla App version, but 2 days ago it updated to 4.8.0-1025 and the problem is back.
 

KenC

Active Member
Sep 4, 2018
4,304
4,013
Maine
I'm thinking it's time to upgrade my cell phone. I currently use a OnePlus 5t, but it's becoming a bit unreliable (generically). Used as a phone key on my 2019 Model 3, it usually works well (maybe 80% of the time), but sometimes (maybe 15% of the time), there's a delay of a few (5-10) seconds before the door unlocks, and occasionally (about 5% of the time), I have to take the phone out, unlock it, and sometimes even open the Tesla app before the car responds. (These problems aren't new; they've existed since I bought the car.) I realize these sorts of problems are common, but they vary from one phone model to another, so....

What are peoples' experiences with the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and the Google Pixel 6 Pro with Teslas, and especially with the phone-as-key functionality? I'd hate to spend hundreds of bucks on a new phone only to discover that it works worse than my current phone! I've seen comments in other threads about how the Pixel 6 Pro barely fits some third-party wireless charging pads, so I know to research that detail, should I buy one. (My Model 3 is old enough that it doesn't come with wireless charging, and I haven't cared about that because my OnePlus 5t doesn't support that feature.) The Samsung is about 0.6 mm shorter than the Google, so I'm guessing it'll be a bit easier to fit on this score.

Also, are there any other known "gotchas" with either phone and Tesla connectivity? There was a brief period in 2019 when I had Bluetooth audio playback issues with my OnePlus, which Tesla eventually fixed with a software update, so I'd prefer to avoid any similar issues with a new phone.
80% and 5-10second delays!?! That would drive me crazy! You must have a lot of patience. That's almost worse than my Watch.
 
You want to look at a phone that has a good CAT speed download/upload, but it also matters what provider you go with ( EE being No'1, O2, Vodaphone ) basically signal/coverage is the key thing; I would also strongly suggest anything from oneplus 8 pro and upwards if you want to stick with an existing brand you already know, Samsung a very strong leader in the phone market and google pixel, sony and asus, ideally you want phone that aint too old and that is still getting regular security updates from andriod and google store, most manufacture supports a phone up to 2-3 years before they no longer push out anymore software support, if you go with apple I would suggest iphone 11 and upwards.
 
You want to look at a phone that has a good CAT speed download/upload, but it also matters what provider you go with ( EE being No'1, O2, Vodaphone ) basically signal/coverage is the key thing; I would also strongly suggest anything from oneplus 8 pro and upwards if you want to stick with an existing brand you already know, Samsung a very strong leader in the phone market and google pixel, sony and asus, ideally you want phone that aint too old and that is still getting regular security updates from andriod and google store, most manufacture supports a phone up to 2-3 years before they no longer push out anymore software support, if you go with apple I would suggest iphone 11 and upwards.
I want add onto this, that you want a phone that ideally support dual sims, having a payg sim(1p mobile sister company to EE) or even a work sim as backup for data is always a nice to have but of course only as a backup, but bare in mind if you use any dual/trio sim card phone, the downside is that your signal would be reduce given poor coverage. but strongly recommend using just the card only, the phone/keyfob really just a backup.
 

mswlogo

Well-Known Member
Aug 27, 2018
7,898
7,354
MA, NH
This isn’t a direct answer to your question but something to consider regarding using a phone as a Bluetooth key. Having your phone in your back pocket as you approach the car can inhibit it from receiving the Bluetooth signal from your phone. To solve this, you can remove your phone from your back pocket but that isn’t always convenient, particularly if your hands are full. To solve this, I rotate my body so my rear faces the door and the car can more easily receive the Bluetooth signal. It may appear a bit odd but it works nearly every time.
Correct. But it’s not that it inhibits receiving signal. It inhibits getting an accurate fix on your proximity to the car by using multiple Bluetooth transmitters around the car.
 

dmurphy

Active Member
Supporting Member
You've got one of those mango phones? Nice.

It's actually a Pear Phone ... sorry to disappoint.

 

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