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Phone as Key Issues

AllDigital

Member
Feb 27, 2013
63
170
SoCal
We took delivery of a new Model 3 yesterday. We had no problem connecting both of our iPhones up as "keys" to accommodate keyless entry and start.

Overall, the functionality seemed great, until we realized the app always needs to be running and then this morning my wife's phone/app showed "disconnected" under the "Phone as a key" setting in the app and it stopped working as a key. This wouldn't be a huge deal, except the "card keys" really suck. The card keys are like going back in time to a physical car key, except these card keys are hard to hold, easy to lose, and try opening the door with one in your hand and a bag of groceries in another with the funky handles. I'd pay another $1000 for a regular old keyfob with basic remote.

On the "phone as a key" disconnect issue. We tried everything to resolve with Tesla. Checked versions of iOS. Rebooted the console. deleted the app and re-added the app. Unpaired the phone from the car (forget/forget). We were able to get it back to a point to set it up again, but when we tried to setup again, it fails every time with "unable to connect to your vehicle", which is ironic, because the same exact app at the same time on the same phone can honk the horn, blink the lights, and do everything else "connecting to the car", except set-up "phone as key". An hour later with Tesla and all we got was a logged issue.

Any other new owners have issues with "Phone as Key" disconnecting and/or unable to set up?

On firmware 81. - 48.15
 

araxara

S-P85#3,218 X-LR M3AWD
May 11, 2012
1,029
399
Tucson, AZ
The phone as key uses Bluetooth LE, which on the iPhone does not require the app running (assuming Tesla coded this properly). The app should wake up when the Bluetooth signal is detected.

I have some FoboTire TPMS sensors, which are Bluetooth LE and the FoboTire app never needs to be manually run. As a matter of fact, if I disable Bluetoith on my iPhone, I get a notification that Bluetooth needs to be enabled for FoboTire to work.
 

AllDigital

Member
Feb 27, 2013
63
170
SoCal
A quick update... After an hour of trying everything yesterday, this morning my wife's phone had no issue setting up "phone as key" in the app. Nothing changed on the car or the phone, so it was probably the position of the moon. I later talked to a tech and he said that all the control features on the app go through the data network, but the "phone as key" setup is bluetooth only.

I also did a quick control test with and without the app running. Oddly, the behavior was different between my iPhoneX and my wife's iPhone 6, both running ios 11.2.1 and the most recent Tesla app. With my phone the app needs to be running. I approached the car ten times. 5 with a running app and 5 without -- alternating. The 5 times without the app running nothing happened. The 5 times with the app running (minimized/background) the car unlocked, as expected.

On my wife's iPhone6 I approached the car 8 times, 4 with app running and 4 without. All eight times the car unlocked, as expected. Older phone wins in this battle.

The tech from Tesla did tell me that "the app should be running". I'll need to dig into differences between the X and the 6 in terms of bluetooth behavior. I know that the X has Bluetooth 5.0 and the 6 is still using Bluetooth 4.2. Or maybe there is something else in the configuration between the two phones. ??
 

Ampre Sand

Member
Nov 18, 2016
84
56
Seattle
If my prior experience with Gen 1 Kevo deadbolts and Tile devices is any indication, Bluetooth LE functions such as locks and finders need to be standardized and supported at the OS level. There should be an API to securely register a virtual access key (and of course methods to query, update, and revoke, even remotely in the case of a lost or stolen device; extra credit for secure device-to-device copy/move). From there the OS would take care of the actual management and transponder functions, whether the original client app is running or not. End goals are security, reliability, and minimal latency. It's an obvious problem that needs to be solved, so hopefully some bright folks are working on it as I type this.
 

flashflooder

Member
Apr 8, 2016
502
455
Charlotte, NC
A quick update... After an hour of trying everything yesterday, this morning my wife's phone had no issue setting up "phone as key" in the app. Nothing changed on the car or the phone, so it was probably the position of the moon. I later talked to a tech and he said that all the control features on the app go through the data network, but the "phone as key" setup is bluetooth only.

I also did a quick control test with and without the app running. Oddly, the behavior was different between my iPhoneX and my wife's iPhone 6, both running ios 11.2.1 and the most recent Tesla app. With my phone the app needs to be running. I approached the car ten times. 5 with a running app and 5 without -- alternating. The 5 times without the app running nothing happened. The 5 times with the app running (minimized/background) the car unlocked, as expected.

On my wife's iPhone6 I approached the car 8 times, 4 with app running and 4 without. All eight times the car unlocked, as expected. Older phone wins in this battle.

The tech from Tesla did tell me that "the app should be running". I'll need to dig into differences between the X and the 6 in terms of bluetooth behavior. I know that the X has Bluetooth 5.0 and the 6 is still using Bluetooth 4.2. Or maybe there is something else in the configuration between the two phones. ??

I assume you've already thought of this, but make sure the settings are correct for the iPhone X ("background services" on, and "Always Allow" location services for Tesla app).
 

bswn1

Member
Feb 13, 2016
497
411
CA
I have not been able to setup either of our phones which are the iPhone X to our car for Phone as Key functions.

We can successfully pair and play music, and see the car in the app, so we are taking it into service to see what's up. 48.11.
 

jerjozwik

Active Member
May 12, 2014
1,177
672
san gabriel valley
god damn phone as key. day one of having the 3 everything worked groovy. day 2, hu... maybe its the angle i am walking up to to car at. day 3 why does this car unlock every time i walk past it, i am just trying to get the mail... day 4... hummm that was a funny noise when i closed the door. day 5... why wont this car unlock for me? better pull out the keycard. oh, you dont work either? maybe its all the rain? day 6... what the S&*T i just want to go home!! unlock pleaaayz. open phone app, send unlock command...

it is totally cool not having to carry a key but man... i hope my service appointment resolves these issues. otherwise im going to be a sad panda...
 

kbecks13

Active Member
Dec 27, 2017
1,917
2,368
SoCal
i hope my service appointment resolves these issues.

Is your service visit specifically for that problem? I really doubt it's an issue with the car and think its more on the phone side. I have similar experiences (though the card has always worked for me).
 

FreeOfPge

Member
May 12, 2013
440
111
CA
Picked up our Model 3 yesterday, had the same issue today (several times).

The problem seems to be with the app and multiple cars (in our case one Model S & one Model 3).

When switching cars in the app - to a car other than the Model 3 - it disconnect the phone as key mode. Even after switching back to the Model 3 there is a big delay.

We need someone with only a Model 3 to confirm or deny they have the same problem.
 

FreeOfPge

Member
May 12, 2013
440
111
CA
A bit tongue in cheek but it works; store the key card under your phone case. Phone as key 20180109_224645.jpg
 

AustinPowers

Total Smeghead
Jan 27, 2012
2,065
1,162
Frankfurt, Germany
A bit tongue in cheek but it works; store the key card under your phone case. Phone as keyView attachment 272172

Hey, now that's a really neat idea.
One day my Model 3 will arrive, and as I don't intend to use my phone as the key, this "life-hack" will do the trick just fine for me. Would still prefer a traditional fob though.
 

jerjozwik

Active Member
May 12, 2014
1,177
672
san gabriel valley
Since your sig says you also have a Model S, I just wanted to be sure you haven't swiped over to the Model S on your Tesla app? Unless your tesla app is left showing your Model 3, the phone-as-key won't work.
yes yes yes, the phone app is set to my 3 as it is still the only way i can actually get into my car.

rebooted phone, rebooted car nothing helps. just updated my phone OS last night, have not tried to enter the car yet.
 
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