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Car doesn't recognize the phone in my hand and asks for key

Car doesn't recognize the phone in my hand and asks for key

I need to manually open the app and open the car through the app instead of recognizing that the phone is with me. And sometimes, when I do get into the car, it doesn't start and asks me to tap my "card" key and press the brake. WHy?????/ This is actually frustrating as you can't drive off immediately.

FISHEV | October 8, 2019

It happens to everyone fairly frequently. A cell phone Bluetooth connection was a poor choice as it is not reliable enough. Tesla was trying to save money (no FOB, no NFC sensors) but Bluetooth is not up to the task.

You can try different tricks like opening the app before approaching the car, letting it wake the car up and then turn on the heat/AC but end of the day, carry the card key.

TapTes.com has a nice Tesla card and key holder so your card key is always ready to open and start the car when the phone connection fails.

wildblue | October 8, 2019

i've had that message a few times on first attempt to open the door. I wave my phone around and use a swear word or two and then I can open the door.

slingshot18 | October 8, 2019

fish, you’re overstating the problem.

Moat likely there are a number of things you can do to get your connection stable. Turn on/off Bluetooth. Remove, add back phone. Etc... do a quick google search and you’ll find more fixes.

I’ve actually yet to meet a model 3 owner in person that has a consistent problem with this. It’s happened to me three times in a year. Two times it was a simple turn off/turn on Bluetooth that fixed it. The other time I removed my phone as a key and added it back. So like 6 minutes of fixes in over a year. That’s an easy trade off of not having to carry a key or fob for me.

FISHEV | October 8, 2019

"you’re overstating the problem."@wildblue

Probably the reverse as it is one of the most common problems posted.

Tesla's upgrade and release of the FOB to get around the problem and customers cleaning out the inventory is another indication.

Because the FOB won't start the car, I prefer to carry the card key in the TapTes keychain holder.

calvin940 | October 8, 2019

"It happens to everyone fairly frequently"
----------------
No it does not.

You are not the only one who has experienced these issues, but it is by no means the majority.

Factors affecting the use of the phone key vary from the device brand or model and also by applications installed on the phone possibly using Bluetooth and/or devices that you have paired to your phone. You can start by looking at what other BT devices you use with your phone and remove them all and see if you can isolate what might be causing your experience to see if it can be remedied for your situation.

You can also try phone reboots or even re-installing your Tesla application.

rchau28 | October 8, 2019

Sadly, I am one of the unfortunate ones who keeps having issues with unlocking my car with the phone key.

I have tried deleting/reinstalling the app and turning off/on BT and other suggested fixes to no avail.

My iPhone X would work 70% of the time. The other, I would have to dig into my pockets and wake the screen to unlock the car.

So now that Tesla is selling the new key fob with Passive Entry, it was a no brainer for me. It works great! Only complaint is the fob should have came with the car in the first place. But I digress.

If you're willing for fork out the money, it is definitely worth it.

bruryan | October 8, 2019

Some good points in the above posts. I'll just say that I have had one issue in the last year that was a result of downloading V10. Besides that, the phone has worked perfectly.
So all I am saying is that the system does work very well when you either don't know enough to screw it up or know enough how to correct the conflict.

FISHEV | October 8, 2019

"My iPhone X would work 70% of the time. The other, I would have to dig into my pockets and wake the screen to unlock the car."@rchau28

About the same for my iPhone 7+. Just as easy to swipe the card key which we have to carry anyway for when the phone isn't working and you don't want to mess with it.

FISHEV | October 8, 2019

And the card starts the car which the FOB will not.

rchau28 | October 8, 2019

@fishev: I just tested the fob and you can start & drive the car.

FISHEV | October 8, 2019

"I just tested the fob and you can start & drive the car."@rchau28

That would make it worthwhile but the Tesla Shop page doesn't say anything about the FOB starting the car, just opening it. Are you sure it's the FOB and not the car reading the phone even though the phone didn't open the car?

https://www.tesla.com/support/model-3-key-fob

GrumpyinAZ | October 8, 2019

Grrr.... I thought my car had a personality disorder. The very first time my wife went out to the car to use the phone as a key, it would not work. She was tentative to begin with, so this 'failure to communicate' made things worse for a while - like five minutes - while I found the solution, and it worked (Bluetooth had been turned off by Airplane Mode in her Android phone). We had 'a talk' with the car, and tried to persuade her to let my wife drive. We've had the car for about three months now, and the app fails at least three times a week. We've had additional conversations with/about the car over this.. FISHEV, I agree with you.

Tronguy | October 8, 2019

For those of you who don't know: FISHEV has consistently exhibted trollish behavior. Especially when it comes to people coming around to check out all stuff Tesla. You have been warned.

M3D | October 8, 2019

I have never had an issue. Well once, but I had bluetooth turned off so it was clearly my fault. Bluetooth can be funky on some phones, and make sure that you are not letting your phone put the app to sleep or bluetooth to sleep. On Android it maintains an "Alert/notification" that keep it alive. You can minimize it, but if you somehow kill it you will likely be out of luck. I know you say you are on an iPhone, so make sure the tesla app is not de-prioritized. This is why waking up the app works for some people. Try waking the app up and if that works consistently, then you likely have something going to sleep on you.

TM3Q | October 8, 2019

I had this issue a few times but manage to make it work in less than a minute each time.

Cheers

howard | October 8, 2019

It is unreliable and irritating to say the least. Delete your phone key from the car. Delete application from the phone. Power off phone. Reinstall Tesla app. Set up phone as key. I do this every few months. It helps. It should be 100% reliable and regardless of all the testimonies to the contrary it is not. Tesla is on its second generation fob design. They would not do so if it were not a problem.

torg | October 8, 2019

Happens occasionally - all I have to do is to unlock my phone. Probably bluetooth on the phone going to sleep, or the connection needing to be reinitialized. Life's too short to lose sleep over it, much less spend 30 minutes removing applications, rebooting everything in the garage, sacrificing chickens, etc. But it does underscore the importance of keeping the key card in your wallet/purse!

lbowroom | October 8, 2019

Before V10 less than a handful of times in a year. With V10 and iPhone 11 pro, once every couple of days I have to pull it out and holds it by the window for a 2 count. See Howard.. I’m honest about problems... unlike the negative crew

howard | October 8, 2019

lbowroom, the 11 Pro Max is just awesome. Got incredible sunset beach pictures at Coronado a couple of weeks ago.

It is fickle to say the least. I have tried having the app connected and open walk out the the garage around to the car and pull the handle. You can hear the cars systems come on line yet there is the message on the screen. Sometimes a few more pulls it works other times I hold my phone against the door pillar it works. I have only had to put every thing down to get my card out once so far. Other times it works flawlessly on first pull. I enabled the constant tracking feature which I think is new but can’t tell a difference. I am not sure V10 is better.

Oh, thank you.

douglas_peale | October 8, 2019

I spent 3 months with the phone key requiring entering and exiting airplane mode before it would switch to connected and unlock the car. I also spent those three months checking the store every day to see if the key fob was back in stock. When the fob came in to stock I immediately ordered it. About a month later I figured out that although my credit card had been charged, Tesla had lost my order. It took about another month (and threatening to do a charge back) before they finally shipped it to me. About a week after the fob arrived, there was a software update, and suddenly the phone key started working. It went from 100% failure to about 95% success.
It still fails occasionally. pull the handle and nothing happens. Pull out the phone and open the app, and the phone key says "Disconnected" It will stay that way, even holding the phone a foot from the drivers window, until you enter airplane mode and exit airplane mode. Somehow this gives the software a kick in the pants and then it will switch to "Connected". Mostly this seems to happen randomly, but it has happened every time the App has gotten an announcement from Tesla in "Inbox".

howard | October 8, 2019

Douglas, interesting observation. I’ll check the in box next time. Maybe we can collectively stumble onto a consistent errant variable.

howard | October 8, 2019

Seems to be worse first thing in the morning. Does not matter if plugged in or not. Tried approaching with app open. Tried having climate on. Never fails coming out from lunch and I am at least 100 feet away. Just don’t get it.

keith.mueller | October 8, 2019

Personally, I just started experiencing this issue for the first time in one year of ownership. I love having my phone be my key, but I did activate the PIN so that if I leave my phone in the car accidentally, I don't lose my phone and my car.

This started with the latest update of V10 software in the Tesla, and IOS 13.1.2 on my iPhone in the same week. Apple seems to have rushed out this release, as there seem to be a number of fairly obvious bugs. I suspect that Between these two updates, some incompatibility happened. The car recognizes my phone on BlueTooth for the audio/phone system, and I deleted my original phone pairing in the Tesla key app, but then it kept telling me to turn on my phone's bluetooth to add it back. It was already on, but somehow, the lock app doesn't recognize it. Hopefully Apple or Tesla solve the new incompatibility issue.

Keith

Magic 8 Ball | October 9, 2019

It does not happen frequently. It happened to me a couple weeks ago and I found that somehow my phone was added to the car twice and the car was confused. Go into the "lock" settings and check to see if everything is as it should be.

Do not listen to idiots that say it is common and it happens to everyone frequently, that is far from the truth.

ColonyGolfer | October 9, 2019

I have found that (Android) swiping down on the phone and toggling Airplane Mode on and off again does the trick

aperfectecho | October 9, 2019

We have 2 Teslas, and I will have the issue if the app is on my wife's, rather than mine. So, I try to make sure to select my car in the app.
Even so, I do fairly regularly have to open the app, or start that process (wake up phone, etc) and then it will connect, and the car is unlocked.
Usually it's when my hands are full, and I'm in a hurry. Never when I have the day free

jimglas | October 9, 2019

remember: Fish is always wrong

Elusivejeep | October 9, 2019

I had a problem with this a year ago. I called Tesla, they gave me a software push, and I have not had one problem in over a year. the phone works 100% of the time. It is a true statement that the iphone works better than all other phones for some reason. Wife had problems until she got the iphone 10 and then never had a problem again.

howard | October 9, 2019

M8B, Nice to see you admit that it has ever happened to you. I am quite surprised.

I am not surprised at you calling me an idiot though.

Keep up the deflections and insults as it is your true nature to do so.

cosmicwarrior | October 9, 2019

Didn't they do this on purpose? A few updates ago for me this started happening, I just assumed everyone has to open the app to open your car door now. Seems dangerous to be close to your car and it unlocks automatically so someone can jump in your car. Thought they were making us open the app for a reason now, is this not the case?

LostInTx | October 9, 2019

It's happening to my phone / car far more frequently since V10. Rough guess - 40% of approaches to the car requires either a wait, a wave of the phone or opening the Tesla app on the phone. Prior to V10, the occurrence was maybe 5%.

Last night, I received a 3rd V10 upgrade (anyone else getting multiple successful V10 installs?). The release notes are identical to previous V10 iterations. My three approaches to the car this morning have been seamless - no issues at all.

I'm on 2019.32.11.1 d39e85e.

Magic 8 Ball | October 9, 2019

@howard Not surprised you felt the comment was directed at you, it wasn't. It has actually happened to me a couple of times. You should not be surprised I am happy to share issues I experienced that may help others both bad and good. Since my card key experiences have not been catastrophic and there has been nothing preventing me from using the car when they happened and they resolved quickly I never felt compelled to start a topic about this particular meh.

In your case you seem to experience a lot of issues with your unit that I don't experience with ours and I am just not seeing the "many" reporting having this issue. There are settings and configurations that must be paid attention to and also some devices seem weaker than other with the compatibility. All I can say is both my wife and I have Iphone X and rarely have issue with them working with the car and when we do it is because we changed something.

howard | October 9, 2019

M8B, I never felt compelled to start a topic about this particular meh

You may not but there have been plenty of others that have and continue to do so.

Sure you can eventually get into your car and drive it. It is just extremely irritating to some of us.

Funny, to you perhaps utterly amazing, that none of my other cars have ever failed to unlock and let me drive immediately. 100% reliability!! To you, that is just a novel idea for a Tesla product. Why should it be 100% when we can all just live with it. No big deal since we can get the key card out of our wallets to make it work. It is not a Tesla problem it is the phone or idiot owners.

Magic 8 Ball | October 9, 2019

@howard

Now you are whining about technology compatibility and trying to make a case that immediately with a conventional key is significantly different from using a black plastic card to accomplish the same thing. The card is the primary key and works as quick as a key for me. Are you saying the primary key (the card) has failed to be 100% reliable and has some sort of delay, as well?

Anyone that has dealt with tech devices knows that the compatibility matrix and variables is/are infinitely large. With little research it is easy to find reports of devices and settings that are better than others. Again, we have Iphone X's that have worked flawlessly for us during our entire ownership. When we bought the car I did the research and the best reports were from others that had Iphone X.

howard | October 9, 2019

M8B, Again, we have Iphone X's that have worked flawlessly for us during our entire ownership.

There is the statement I knew would come out. So now it is flawless. I have used and an X and now an 11 Pro Max. It has not mattered which iPhone and/or iOS it is inconsistent and irritating.

I could not be happier for you that in your world of Tesla utopia everything works flawlessly.

Magic 8 Ball | October 9, 2019

@howard Yes, they truly have been flawless for us when settings are correct. You are an outlier, when it comes to having so many issues, IMO.

You really are overreacting with many of your beefs. I have yet to own a piece of technology that is flawless and perfect.

Joshan | October 9, 2019

only ever had it not work twice with Iphone X. Both times a reboot of the phone corrected the issue. This tells me it is a phone issue and not a Tesla issue. Otherwise a phone reboot would not correct the issue.

Magic 8 Ball | October 9, 2019

@Joshan Yes, any issue has been with the phone, the car has been flawless when the phone is setup properly and not having issues of its own.

jimglas | October 9, 2019

The only time I have ever had problems with the phone not opening the car is when I forgot to have the APP open on the phone.
I suspect user error.

Mike UpNorth_ | October 9, 2019

Pixel 2 XL. Never had an issue in 1+ year of ownership. 100% of time car opens and starts for me.

hokiegir1 | October 9, 2019

@Elusivejeep - I wouldn't say iPhones work better than all others. I initially had an OG Pixel with a 98% success rate -- and of the remaining 2%, 1% was related to where my phone was in relation to the car (backpack, rear pocket, etc). Only about 1% of the time did I have to open the app and click "unlock" or some other interaction. Hubby does usually need to take his Pixel XL out of his holster to start the car (don't get me started on the holster -- he insists), but otherwise, he has no issues either. I just upgraded to a Pixel 3 and have not had any issues at all.

Mike UpNorth_ | October 9, 2019

Can't wait for the Pixel 4! My screen is JACKED :)

spuzzz123 | October 9, 2019

“It happens to everyone fairly frequently.”

Absurd comment. My phone key has worked more reliably than my 2015 Infiniti keyfob. Odds of me being a lucky outlier are slim given my luck in these matters.

Techy James | October 9, 2019

@venupriya not sure which phone your using, but with my iPhone 10xs on the rare occasion I can't open the door with phone in pocket. What has worked each time for me is taking phone out and unlocking the phone then the car has registered the phone each time.

@FISHEV funny you should mention the Key Card. I tried mine the other day, because I didn't want to go back in house and grab my phone, and discovered my Key Card no longer works. No idea what happened, but I scheduled appointment and techs are going to check it out next week. I first tried the suggested removing card and adding it back in, but since my card don't work it never recognized the card to remove card. Tried this with wife's backup card and same thing. Also appears you can't add/remove a Key Card using the phone app, has to be done with a working Key Card.

bruryan | October 9, 2019

As I failed to point out evidently last time: I have never been unable to immediately open my car door, excepting once after a Tesla download or an Apple update, unsure which.
I'd say that was near perfect, and I'm glad as I don't have any other means of opening the car 90% of the time. It feels that good, and that functional.
Latest Apple and Tesla update on an IphoneX.
might be worth it to do a search on connecting your phone to those having issues.

bruryan | October 9, 2019

As I failed to point out evidently last time: I have never been unable to immediately open my car door, excepting once after a Tesla download or an Apple update, unsure which.
I'd say that was near perfect, and I'm glad as I don't have any other means of opening the car 90% of the time. It feels that good, and that functional.
Latest Apple and Tesla update on an IphoneX.
might be worth it to do a search on connecting your phone to those having issues.

rxlawdude | October 9, 2019

While phone-as-key worked almost 100% of the time before, in the past two weeks (post V10) I have to actually open the Tesla app to get into the car or start it. In the past, regardless of whether the Tesla app was in the foreground, it connected and unlocked properly.

Something regressed in the latest app and/or car FW.

stephenfootball | October 9, 2019

"rxlawdude | October 9, 2019
While phone-as-key worked almost 100% of the time before, in the past two weeks (post V10) I have to actually open the Tesla app to get into the car or start it. In the past, regardless of whether the Tesla app was in the foreground, it connected and unlocked properly.

Something regressed in the latest app and/or car FW."

+1

rchau28 | October 9, 2019

Based on my experience, when I open the car door in the mornings it works fine (no issues).

However, when I leave the office (drink in one hand) and pull on the door handles with the other hand, it requires me to use a key to unlock the car. I then reach for my iPhone X and wake the screen to unlock the car. This happens to me everyday and it is very annoying. I have a Lexus CT that uses handsfree entry and works 100% of time.

I understand this does not happen to everybody, but it appears there is a fair share of people who do. Otherwise, Tesla would not be selling the new key fob with passive entry (in my opinion).

As mentioned above, I reinstalled the app several times and remove/add key as well. The only thing I haven't tried is removing other BT from my phone.

Every since purchasing the new fob, it has worked flawlessly.

Rllhkeller | October 9, 2019

After upgrading to iOS 13.1.2, the phone key does not work. Apple released this version to fix Bluetooth (maybe other thing too). Bluetooth music streaming still works and the Tesla app still works because it used the internet, not Bluetooth. iOS 13.1.1 Bluetooth does still works. Have appointment with Tesla Ranger on Friday to demonstrate. This is either Apple’s problem or Tesla’s problem. If enough people complain, maybe it will be fixed. I have an old iPhone available just to unlock car!!!
I normally don’t upgrade iOS for several weeks until problems like this are found. This time my wife’s iPhone asked to be upgraded and I forgot to tell her to ALWAYS decline. Do it manually after reading about problems.

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