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Please Explain This Walkaway Lock Experience


Dec 15, 2019
Far Northern California
Yesterday I came in from surfing and unlocked the car with the card that's attached to my wetsuit and opened the trunk. My phone was inside the car, in airplane mode.

My wife, with her cell phone, came back from her walk while I was taking off my wetsuit, said hi, and then she went and sat on the beach about 50 yards away from the car. I finished changing (with the trunk open), took out my phone (which was still in airplane mode) and closed the trunk.

The car immediately locked.

It wasn't a problem, but I'm curious as to how this worked. I guess her phone was in bluetooth range, and the car thought, "there's only one key, and it's not closeby, so I'll lock now."


Dec 20, 2018
This portion of the user manual May apply.

Model 3 does not automatically lock if:
• An authenticated phone or paired key fob
is detected inside Model 3.
• You are not using an authenticated phone
or paired key fob as the key, and walk
away carrying the key card or unpaired
key fob (see Passive Key Fob on page 10).
When using the key card you must
manually lock Model 3 by tapping the key
card against the door pillar. When using
an unpaired key fob (sold as an
accessory), you must manually lock Model
3 by pressing the lock button. See Keys
on page 8.
A door or trunk is not fully closed.

If all doors are closed and Model 3 was
automatically unlocked by your authenticated
phone or paired key fob, walk-away locking is
temporarily suspended for one minute. If you
open a door within this minute, it will not re-
lock until all the doors are closed and you
have walked away with the authenticated
phone or paired key fob.

When your wife walked up to the car with her phone, she unlocked the car simply by being near the car. Once she left (with her phone) and all the doors (including the trunk) were closed the car locked.
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Mar 16, 2020
Los Angeles
if you ever look at the screen that shows what device the car sees, this can change in real time. i have 2 phones, the fob, and card and the screen (i forget the page this is called, maybe security page?) will recognize each one, with them all being recognized by the car at random times.


what perhaps happened is when you walked up the car ID'ed you. now if you are at the car for any length of time the car will ignore that device after a period of time (this is in the manual- manual explains it better).

when your wife showed up, the car saw her and "latched on" to her device, so when she walked away , and with the car no longer seeing your card, it was ready to lock once you closed the trunk.

you can easily test this theory at home using the same criteria. its my armchair speculation... :p
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Single pedal driver
Oct 3, 2014
I wonder if the recent update allowing to select which phone is the Priority Bluetooth Device could avoid such problem.
Doesn't work that way - Priority Bluetooth Device only applies after you've unlocked the car and it has identified you as the driver and set your profile.

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