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Phone as a key question?

Phone as a key question?

I’m sorry if this has been asked before. I just wanted to know if you have to have your Tesla app open in order for the key to work when you approach your car? Can the app be totally closed on your phone? If not will the app open the car if it is in the background and not the first open app?

EVRider | 05. Januar 2020

On iOS, the app doesn’t have to be open, but I think you might need to enable background app refresh, though I’m not sure about that. If you have more than one Tesla, the car you’re trying to unlock has to be the one selected in the app. Background app refresh does need to be enabled for other app features to work.

apodbdrs | 05. Januar 2020

No! You only need blue tooth to be on your phone!

jerrykham | 05. Januar 2020

The app does not need to be running in the foreground. It does need to be running in the background though. So if you have some type of "task killer" or the like (which are not recommended by most people anymore) that is killing its background service then it isn't going to work. Typically on Android at least you will see the Tesla "T" icon in the notification area when the app is ready to work as a phone key (unless you have set Android to not allow notifications from the Tesla app).

Note that there are some complexities when you have more than one Tesla device. The phone key works with the last device that was "active" in the Tesla app - unless the last active device doesn't support phone key. I know that is hard to parse - so let me describe it the way it works for my wife and I:

We have Tesla Solar, PowerWalls, a Model 3, and a Model S. Only our one Model 3 uses phone key. So, if I access the Model 3 in the app, I can then access the Solar, the PowerWalls, or the Model S and the app in the background will still work as phone key for the Model 3. Typically it keeps working for that for about 4 or 5 days. After that, I need to switch products in the app to the Model 3 again and can then switch back to say the PowerWalls and then it will work as phone key for another 4 or 5 days. If you just leave it switched to the Model 3 then it continues to work always. My wife leaves the app set to the Model 3. I don't as I normally want to look at the Powerwall or my Model S - so every once in a while I have to switch back to the Model 3 in the app to get phone key active again for her Model 3. All in all this works very well.

Long answer to your simple question...

Anthony J. Parisio | 05. Januar 2020

Thanks for the fast responses.

lilbean | 05. Januar 2020

My phone worked flawlessly before but since the last update, the app has to be open sometimes to work as the key.

apodbdrs | 05. Januar 2020

Concur with jerrykham. I just wanted to provide the OP the short answer to his question.

Sarah R | 05. Januar 2020

One thing I've noticed. Every once in a while I'll grab that door handle it it ... doesn't open. The mirrors don't move. The screen doesn't light up. Nothing. I reach for my phone. If it's upside-down in my pocket, simply turning it right side up makes everything work. Ours a Galaxy Note 8. I don't have to open the app, just reorient the phone.

EVRider | 05. Januar 2020

@jerry: In the iOS version of the app, the phone key will not work unless the Model 3 is selected. I have a Model S also, and I just now confirmed that the phone key would not work until I switched the app to the Model 3. Maybe the behavior you describe is Android specific.

lilbean | 05. Januar 2020

My Android will not work as a key if my Powerwall is selected.