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Phone Key range to big?

Discussion in 'Model 3' started by mo.dilwar, Nov 17, 2019.

  1. mo.dilwar

    mo.dilwar Member

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    I park my M3 in my driveway about a meter outside my front door. I have Phone Key setup on my iPhone 11 and was shocked to find out last night that I could unlock the car doors while my phone was still in the house.

    I’ve tested this morning and noticed that I could unlock the car with the phone 5/6 meters (16-20ft) away from the car. I turned off Wi-Fi connection in the car and I could still open the car doors with the phone 3/4 meters (10-13ft) inside my house.

    This is really concerning, as I was under the impression the car would only passively unlock doors when phone is within 3ft.

    I know the iPhone 11 has a new U1 chip for enhanced Bluetooth, but not sure if that’s the issue.

    Will call Tesla CS tomorrow, but wondering if anyone else has had similar experience, and if so with which phone.
     
  2. afadeev

    afadeev Member

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    Phones will unlock the car as long as:
    - Phone is within Bluetooth (BT) range of the car
    - Tesla app is running on the phone

    BT range is way longer than 3 ft, usually around 30 feet / 10 meter for most phones.
    Thus things are as you've discovered.


    a
     
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  3. mo.dilwar

    mo.dilwar Member

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    #3 mo.dilwar, Nov 17, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2019
    I am aware about BT connection range on modern smart phones, but it was my understanding that the M3 has some tech to use BT signal strength to limit the unlock features to roughly 3 feet. I can’t find where I read or saw this. I find it alarming if Tesla thinks it’s fine for the car to be opened while phone key is inside owners homes.
     
  4. ewoodrick

    ewoodrick Well-Known Member

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    Leave phone at door and then see if you can get in car
     
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  5. Joshan

    Joshan Member

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    I feel like something else is in play here. I cannot even open my car door if my phone is in my back pocket.

    I can however unplug the charging cable at full Bluetooth range.
     
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  6. mo.dilwar

    mo.dilwar Member

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    Steps to reproduce
    1. Locked the car with app (also locked using Walk Away lock mode). Both ways mirrors closed and car beeped to notify locking.
    2. Took phone deep into the house about 15m/50ft and left it there.
    3. Walked back to car without the phone or key cards.
    4. Pulled door handles and door did not open.
    5. Got the Mrs to bring the phone gradually closer, few meters/feet at a time.
    6. Pulled door handles while phone was still in the house as it was slowly brought closer.
    7. Door opened when phone was still in the house but around 5m/16ft from car.


    FYI my M3 SR+ is on the latest 2019.36.2.1 software version. I hadn’t tested this on the previous version.
     
  7. MrG_NY

    MrG_NY Member

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    My M3 locks when I walk away a couple of feet. If the phone is in the house just on the other side of the door the car will not unlock unless I have the phone with me. I am using an iPhone 11,
     
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  8. afadeev

    afadeev Member

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    Why?
    If you can't find a reference for such a limitation in the TM3 manual, then it doesn't exist.
    https://www.tesla.com/sites/default/files/model_3_owners_manual_north_america_en.pdf


    I don't.
    If anything, I hate finding my cars locked, so I disabled "walk away door lock" setting.

    If you live in an area where car break-ins are "a thing", either:
    a). Move
    b). Don't use phone as a key. Use the key card or key fob instead.

    a
     
  9. Fadiawesome

    Fadiawesome Member

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    hmm, when i go to the other side of my car, with my phone in my pocket, the car won't unlock. It's very strange that yours does.
     
  10. mo.dilwar

    mo.dilwar Member

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    #10 mo.dilwar, Nov 17, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2019
    Thanks for sharing your experiences @Joshan @MrG_NY and @Fadiawesome

    Clearly there is something going on with my car that is not quite right. @MrG_NY has the same model phone as me, so I would’ve expected same passive unlocking range. I’ll post an update once I’ve spoken to Tesla CS.
     
  11. srs5694

    srs5694 Active Member

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    I did some fairly careful testing of this issue when I got my Model 3. I park outside in my driveway, with the Bluetooth receiver in the car's driver-side mirror between 4 and 40 feet from where I leave my phone, depending on exactly where I park. (It's a long driveway that runs from the front of my house to well past the back end of the house.) I found that my phone, a OnePlus 5t, would not unlock my car when it was inside my house, even with the car parked as close as possible to the phone's normal resting place.

    I just did some more tests, in case Tesla might have made some changes with a recent software version. (My Tesla is on version 2019.36.2.1.) My car happens to be parked further from the phone's normal location right now, so I took the phone outside and tried at several locations, ranging from about 20 feet to about 5 feet from the car's antenna. These were in direct line of sight, unlike the normal case, in which there's an intervening wall. The car would not unlock in any of these cases; I had to have the phone on my person before the car would unlock. Thus, I don't think Tesla has changed anything on this score recently -- or if they have, it was a change with an effect that's too subtle for me to have noticed.

    My suspicion is that there's either something wrong with @mo.dilwar's car or that the Model 3 is reacting differently to the iPhone 11 than to my OnePlus 5t. (Perhaps the iPhone 11 has an unusually strong Bluetooth signal?) If you've got access to another phone, @mo.dilwar (even the phone of a friend who'd be willing to help out), you might want to try pairing that other phone and set it up as a key to do some tests. That'll help you narrow down the source of the problem. If your Model 3 unlocks for any model of distant phone, then there's something wrong with your car and it should be serviced. If another model phone unlocks the car only when the phone is very close, then it may be that there's something quirky about the iPhone 11. That might eventually be fixed in a software update, but it probably wouldn't qualify as a defect in either the car or the phone, and you'll need to either hope (and wait) for a software update or switch to another phone. Reporting the problem to Tesla is certainly worthwhile in the latter case, but I wouldn't expect a visit to a service center would do any good.
     
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  12. Need

    Need Active Member

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    It must be an iPhone 11 thing. My Pixel 3XL can't unlock the car when it is sitting about 15 foot away on the garage table (car is just outside garage door). I can open the App and see that Car Key is "Connected", but the doors won't unlock. I think the car is looking at BT strength. So yeah, maybe the "Unusually strong BT" on the iPhone 11 tricked the car to think the phone is really close?

    It is probably similar to the Unusually weak Samsung S9 BT strength. My friends with S9 can't unlock the cars when the phones are in their back pockets.
     
  13. mo.dilwar

    mo.dilwar Member

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    @srs5694 I’ll be testing out a different phone and will report back. But as I mentioned above looks like @MrG_NY has said he has the same phone as me (iPhone 11) but is unable to unlock his car when phone is indoors.
     
  14. Garlan Garner

    Garlan Garner Banned

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    Get a case for your phone.

    Metal case.
     

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