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Phone key issues

philw1776

Member
Jul 18, 2020
39
20
Seacoast, NH
The Tesla app must indeed be running on your phone. It doesn't have to be in the foreground obviously, but it needs to be running. It is the app that handles the "handshake" between the phone and the car, that authenticates you as the owner. The Tesla app should not be doing any background communication or other processing so I sincerely think it will not drain any significant power from your phone battery. Anyway, that's how it works. If you want to use your phone as key, the Tesla app must be running, it's a prerequisite.
For months I did not have the Tesla app open on my phone and everything worked fine. Suddenly in April the car does not know me unless the app is open on my phone.
Something strange in Bluetooth as I can no longer play music from my phone. I select my iPhone as the source and get endless loop.
 

hcdavis3

HCD3
Supporting Member
Mar 3, 2019
2,339
1,535
02571
For months I did not have the Tesla app open on my phone and everything worked fine. Suddenly in April the car does not know me unless the app is open on my phone.
Something strange in Bluetooth as I can no longer play music from my phone. I select my iPhone as the source and get endless loop.
Try rebooting your iPhone
 

Jacko

Member
Sep 17, 2020
74
36
portland, or
All right, I guess I should change the terms I use. Bluetooth is between the phone (the device) and the car, yes. iOS or Android provide bluetooth communication services. That part doesn't need any app, no. However, when you pull the car's handle, the car wants to know who's there before unlocking the door. Although that communication occurs through the bluetooth (LE?) connection, I am at least 99.9% sure that it is the Tesla application code that handles the actual request. Technically, that code launches when you start your phone, automatically. Whether you manually start the application's user interface or not doesn't matter.
The configuration of your phone's operating system makes it so sometimes, that part of the Tesla app is put to "sleep" to save battery, or has some of its rights removed. At that point, it cannot handle the request anymore so your door stays locked. Normally at that point, if you start the user interface (e.g. show the app in the foreground, on your phone screen), the process is made live again (not suspended anymore) and the unlock works.
I've had one case where I just updated the Tesla app on my phone and the door wouldn't unlock. Launching the app fixed this. I think that restarting the phone would also have fixed it. My understanding there is that the "background portion" of the Tesla app that handles the requests had been stopped so the app could be updated, and it did not start automatically after the update like it does when you boot the phone. IT never misbehaved after that.

Each Android and iOS update brings along new mechanisms to detect running apps and suspend them in some way to extend battery life. Some of these do not play well with the Tesla app and cause the sorts of problems that are reported here and on many other forums continuously.
You seem like the right person to ask:
Is there a way that the Tesla/iphone can automatically turn off Bluetooth when you want to leave your phone in the car and carry only the keycard?
Thanks!
 

GtiMart

Active Member
Nov 13, 2019
1,577
1,440
Quebec City, Canada
There are phone apps that can automate certain tasks. I use Tasker for that type of thing. What you ask might be difficult... Tasker reacts to events/conditions. On what condition would you want the phone to turn off bluetooth? If it turns off as soon as you enter the car, you won't be able to drive. I'm not sure how to detect that you're leaving the car without the phone...

When my wife leaves her phone in her purse in the car, I lock the car with the app on my phone. Now, I have never checked if someone approaching the car could open it...e.g. if the door would unlock because the phone is in the car. You could test that out. It's possible that the phone being in the car is detected differently from the phone being just outside... Try leaving your phone in the car and locking the door with the keycard... wait a few seconds, and then try to open the door without unlocking with the keycard. If the door stays locked, you're good, you don't need to disable bluetooth...
 

bluenycom

Member
Feb 12, 2021
173
172
Rancho Cucamonga
Is there a way that the Tesla/iphone can automatically turn off Bluetooth when you want to leave your phone in the car and carry only the keycard?
Thanks!
I don't think you can turn off the Bluetooth on the car, just your phone. If you want to leave your phone in the car, the safest thing is to turn the phone off. Obviously you don't need it to be on since you're leaving it behind in the car. Turn on airplane mode or turn off Bluetooth should also work, but I'll need to confirm it.
 

Jacko

Member
Sep 17, 2020
74
36
portland, or
There are phone apps that can automate certain tasks. I use Tasker for that type of thing. What you ask might be difficult... Tasker reacts to events/conditions. On what condition would you want the phone to turn off bluetooth? If it turns off as soon as you enter the car, you won't be able to drive. I'm not sure how to detect that you're leaving the car without the phone...

When my wife leaves her phone in her purse in the car, I lock the car with the app on my phone. Now, I have never checked if someone approaching the car could open it...e.g. if the door would unlock because the phone is in the car. You could test that out. It's possible that the phone being in the car is detected differently from the phone being just outside... Try leaving your phone in the car and locking the door with the keycard... wait a few seconds, and then try to open the door without unlocking with the keycard. If the door stays locked, you're good, you don't need to disable bluetooth...
I found out the hard way - went on a long bike ride, leaving the phone in the car and using the keycard to lock it. (Same thing I do when swimming or running.) Out of habit, I walked up and pulled on the door handle - it opened. So, my car had been unlocked for several hours even though I thought I locked it with the keycard. I've since discovered that switching to airplane mode does not work, but disabling Bluetooth does. So, in my experience, I must disable Bluetooth or the car will stay unlocked with the phone inside. My question was if there is a way to automatically disable Bluetooth in this situation. It sounds like even with something like Tasker, it cant be done. So, as bluenycom suggests - either manually disable Bluetooth or turn off the phone. Geez, so much to remember.
 

iamnid

Member
Dec 4, 2019
756
770
Riverside, CA
I had this issue once with my old iPhone XR, but have had it happen a few times with my new iPhone 12, in fact twice today. I started the app as I do each day, went to the garage, and the phone was not connected. I tried to turn BT off and on, and that didn't work. Being in a bit of a hurry, I grabbed a key card, unlocked the car and disconnected the charging cord, and as I was about to get in, the phone connected. I then drove to the gym, and as I was coming out, I started the app, as I do every other day, and again it would not connect. I closed and restarted the app, turned BT off and on, and even totally powered down the phone and powered it back up. No joy at all. I don't take the keycard to the gym, and had to have a friend give me a ride home to pick up a card. Upon getting back, the phone still would not connect, I used the key card to get in, and only after that did the phone connect.

Went out later, and the phone connected normally. This is not a matter of the app not running -- it was, at all times, running in the foreground. Usually until the phone connects, the image of the car is black and white on the app, and then in color when it connects. In each of these instances, the image turned to a color image, and the phone stayed disconnected. No settings on the app were changed before or after. It had not been running for enough time for the app have automatically gone to sleep.
Well this doesn't make sense at all. Regardless of whether the phone as a key was connected, you should have been able to unlock the car with the app and then, go into "controls" and start the car that way. There was no need to go home and get your key. Heck, even if you didn't have your phone, you could have logged in from your friend's phone and opened the door and started the car. 🤦🏻‍♂️
 

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JoanneSpeedy

Member
May 16, 2021
7
2
Kinnelon
I had trouble this past week with my iPhone X. I have had the car since November 20th last year and this is the first time that it didn't recognize that the phone was connected. I don't know why this happened. I am hoping it was just a "glitch" that won't continue to be a problem.
 
Oct 28, 2019
107
67
Ridgewood NJ
I had trouble this past week with my iPhone X. I have had the car since November 20th last year and this is the first time that it didn't recognize that the phone was connected. I don't know why this happened. I am hoping it was just a "glitch" that won't continue to be a problem.
I've had this occasional issue - try turning bluetooth off and on. I think that worked for me.
 

danwilliams5

Member
Apr 7, 2021
26
18
Wyoming, MI
I read in another thread (don't remember where) that in your phone bluetooth settings, make sure you allow "Tesla App" to use Bluetooth "always". If you allow "only when using app", you may run into issues. I was having intermittent issues (maybe 50%) and I allowed always, and haven't been locked out since.
YMMV
 

LEFever

New Member
May 19, 2021
2
0
US
I got my M3 in September 2018 and had tons of problems with my Moto G5+. Every other time I could not get in the car. After months of trying different things, finally landed on it was the operating system version. I installed Android 8.1.0 and haven't had a problem since, now over two years.
 

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