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Phone Key Always Connected at Home, Tesla App massively draining iPhone battery

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Model 3 Highland on 2024.3.25
Two Apple iPhones in the household on 17.5.1, both set up as phone keys, running latest tesla app for iPhone

Just changed houses. At previous location, garage was a decent distance from house, so phone keys would show “disconnected” i in app and phone Bluetooth setting would also show disconnected. Phones worked just fine as keys. No battery drain on phones.

At new location, both phones stay “connected” in Tesla app and in phone Bluetooth settings. Even without ever using the Tesla app on the phone, the backgraound activity is at about 30-40 minutes every hour. This happens even with background app refresh turned off. If we move a phone to the far corner of the house where the Bluetooth signal cannot reach, then it disconnects and the phone battery drain goes away. But most of the house is close enough to the car that the phone will connect and drain the battery.

To be perfectly clear: my only concern here is iPhone battery drain. The car’s battery seems fine, and car sleeps fine.

I’ve tried turning off background app refresh, rebooting the phone, turning off, etc. Nothing changes. I have location set to “while using the app” which is how I had it before. But as far as I can tell, none of that matters: when the phone is connected over Bluetooth, it drains the battery. I cannot “fix” this by turning off my phone’s Bluetooth, as I need it for many things (including the phone key, which I would like to use).

I’ve searched and searched and searched and cannot find a solution to this problem.

Any suggestions?
 
I'm not sure it is a problem. I see the same thing. Are you concerned because when you check the battery usage on your phone it shows a high percentage of use by the app? Something always has to be number one. Is it actually impacting your overall battery usage by a significant amount?
 
I'm not sure it is a problem. I see the same thing. Are you concerned because when you check the battery usage on your phone it shows a high percentage of use by the app? Something always has to be number one. Is it actually impacting your overall battery usage by a significant amount?
I came back to post an update along the same lines – I think you might be right.

I use my phone very little. So if it sits on the charger in the front room, connected to the car over bluetooth, the phone shows the Tesla app as using 80%+ of my battery. But if I take it off the charger, it's not clear that the battery is actually *draining* all that rapidly. I think the Tesla app and/or iOS are just reporting time with the bluetooth connected as "background activity" (almost 30 minutes per hour), but it's not clear anything is actually happening, or that the battery is draining. My phone is also connected to my watch all the time, but that doesn't get reported as "app activity" in the battery app, even though the bluetooth connection is clearly draining some very small amount of battery power.

I'm going to try to do a bit of rough experimentation to verify whether there's really any battery drain, but my guess at this point is not. I over-reacted to seeing the hugely "percentage" reporting – as this was a change from the past (when my phone would disconnect). I'll report back.
 
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Another data point - my phone is always connected to my car as well because my office is above the garage. The Tesla App accounted for about 5% of my battery usage over the last 24 hours. That's not nothing, but it's not a ton.

I'd leave the phone off the charger and see if it actually drains all that quickly. My bet is it won't - mine doesn't (iPhone 13 mini).
 
Close the app. You don’t need it open. It only gives you issues if you’re in the car and close it. I always have the Tesla app fully closed - not running in the background. Phone key still works fine. The app does not need to be running in the background for it to work.
 
After a bit more time, I am more convinced it's as much a matter of my NOT using my iPhone as anything else. If the phone is connected to the car and I'm not using the phone, the background use time ticks up, and the Tesla app then shows as the app using a majority of my battery. But I don't think it's actually draining the battery. Today I left the house and took some videos, and now the camera app is showing 69% and mail, gmail, and WhatsApp are all higher than the Tesla app.

For the record, the battery health of my iPhone is 100%.

Also of possible interest: if I force-quit the Tesla app as suggested by Mikecm1, then the bluetooth disconnects. So this will definitely prevent the app from running in the background or using extra phone battery power.

It would probably make more sense for apple to alter its algorithm or for the Tesla app to alter the way it's reporting "background use" because the way it works now the phone will report 14 hours of background use over a 24-hour period. That LOOKS bad. But it's not actually a problem.
 
After a bit more time, I am more convinced it's as much a matter of my NOT using my iPhone as anything else. If the phone is connected to the car and I'm not using the phone, the background use time ticks up, and the Tesla app then shows as the app using a majority of my battery. But I don't think it's actually draining the battery. Today I left the house and took some videos, and now the camera app is showing 69% and mail, gmail, and WhatsApp are all higher than the Tesla app.

For the record, the battery health of my iPhone is 100%.

Also of possible interest: if I force-quit the Tesla app as suggested by Mikecm1, then the bluetooth disconnects. So this will definitely prevent the app from running in the background or using extra phone battery power.

It would probably make more sense for apple to alter its algorithm or for the Tesla app to alter the way it's reporting "background use" because the way it works now the phone will report 14 hours of background use over a 24-hour period. That LOOKS bad. But it's not actually a problem.

Just force close the app and don’t worry about it. The only time I ever use the app is for summon and then I’ll force close it later when I’m not near my car. If I didn’t have FSD I’d pretty much never open the Tesla app.

Make sure you have all the settings correct. Here’s a screenshot of my app settings under Settings -> Tesla

IMG_3972.png
 
Bumping this thread because I have some more information: I think I can confirm that when the Tesla app is constantly running in the background, IT IS draining the battery. Here’s a screen shot of my phone from noon today: as you can see, over the last 12 hours the battery has drained from 83% to 49%, even though I never touched the phone: it was sitting on the charger, but no charging (due to Apple’s optimizations).

The Tesla app was active in the background for almost 15 hours out of those 24.

I think for folks with newer phones with *much* larger batteries, it’s probably not as big an issue. But I’m on an IPhone 12 mini, with a tiny battery, so the constant background activity does make a difference for me.

As described above, quitting the app takes care of this problem. However, my experience is that if I quit the app the phone key does not work – I’ll have to get my phone out and launch the app to get it to unlock the door.

My settings are just like @Mikecm1’s, except I have location services to “while using.” I wonder if changing that to always allows the phone key to work, even when the app has been force quit???
 

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Bumping this thread because I have some more information: I think I can confirm that when the Tesla app is constantly running in the background, IT IS draining the battery. Here’s a screen shot of my phone from noon today: as you can see, over the last 12 hours the battery has drained from 83% to 49%, even though I never touched the phone: it was sitting on the charger, but no charging (due to Apple’s optimizations).

The Tesla app was active in the background for almost 15 hours out of those 24.

I think for folks with newer phones with *much* larger batteries, it’s probably not as big an issue. But I’m on an IPhone 12 mini, with a tiny battery, so the constant background activity does make a difference for me.

As described above, quitting the app takes care of this problem. However, my experience is that if I quit the app the phone key does not work – I’ll have to get my phone out and launch the app to get it to unlock the door.

My settings are just like @Mikecm1’s, except I have location services to “while using.” I wonder if changing that to always allows the phone key to work, even when the app has been force quit???
I have the same iPhone drain issue with my Model 3 Highland. Only way I have been able to reduce the drain (if I stay in my house close to the car) is to force quit the Tesla app which produces a warning message on the iPhone about leaving it running for the best experience etc. The app then has to be restarted in order to act as a key. I have found no way to close the app and have the iPhone 15 still act as a key.
 
I'll have to add to my previous post here. I did not have that problem until I traded my 2021 SR+ for a 2024 RWD. Something changed.

I still had my 2021 when first posted. The app was the number 1 drain but did not actually affect the battery life. Something is always number one. Now my battery life is reduced by at least 30%!. I simply kill it when I'm not using it. I'm experimenting with my watch as key running the Tessie app.
 
Tesla app routinely shows up as the highest battery user on my iPhone 13 Pro Max. On average it is responsible for at least 40% battery drain. I had a friend over this weekend and the usage on his iPhone was something like 8% while mine was 38%. I also lock the phone in the car while at work and it use# a lot of battery. Today I am doing an experiment. I turned off Bluetooth to see if that stops the drain while the phone sits in the car. My friend thinks that my battery usage is higher because I have a newer phone that supports (wideband?) Bluetooth. Just a theory.
 
Tesla app routinely shows up as the highest battery user on my iPhone 13 Pro Max. On average it is responsible for at least 40% battery drain. I had a friend over this weekend and the usage on his iPhone was something like 8% while mine was 38%. I also lock the phone in the car while at work and it use# a lot of battery. Today I am doing an experiment. I turned off Bluetooth to see if that stops the drain while the phone sits in the car. My friend thinks that my battery usage is higher because I have a newer phone that supports (wideband?) Bluetooth. Just a theory.
My own experience leads me to support your friend’s theory. I have a phone that does wideband Bluetooth and a Highland Tesla that also does wideband…and my battery drain clearly happens because the phone stays connect to the car over Bluetooth non-stop. If I force quit the app, the Bluetooth connection drops and the battery drain goes away.
 
My own experience leads me to support your friend’s theory. I have a phone that does wideband Bluetooth and a Highland Tesla that also does wideband…and my battery drain clearly happens because the phone stays connect to the car over Bluetooth non-stop. If I force quit the app, the Bluetooth connection drops and the battery drain goes away.
My test yesterday was successful in that turning Bluetooth off preserved the battery. I imagine that force closing the Tesla app would accomplish the same thing. The phone is a 14 pro max, not 13 if that makes a difference in the BT radios.