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Using phone as key

Using phone as key

Model 3 can use phone as key to automatically open their car without having to go into app to manually unlock the door. Why can't model S and X do this? After all, these are the premium cars and it seems that would be a simple software alteration to make it work. It would be nice not to have to take my key fob. I always carry my phone.

PrescottRichard | September 23, 2019

Well, I’m guessing the S wasn’t designed with that in mind. I’m not saying the S can’t do this, and I would like to be able to use my phone as a Bluetooth key.

Also- Even if the car can not use the phone as a key like that, maybe a option to use the phone instead of PIN to drive? That would be a *little* more secure at home. Unless your phone is charging in a room above / next to your garage.

When Remote Tesla App is updated we will once again be able to use Siri Shortcuts to do everything you want with a voice command. Not exactly what you were asking for but still pretty helpful. I tap my watch as I’m walking to my car in a parking lot and say ‘Get Ready.’ When I arrive at the car, or soon after it is open and ready to go. Keep in mind you and your car have to have cell connection for this to work.

The only time that fails is when the Tesla servers go down, so I *always* have my fob with the battery taken out. So a direct BT key would be better, but I understand that when the servers went down Model 3 owners had issues too, so again, maybe I don’t understand how all that works.

Lastly- there are a few reports of people locking their fob and phone in the car! So if they phone was the ‘key’ this wouldn’t happen? It shouldn’t happen with the fob in the car, so one more back up would be great.

EVRider | September 23, 2019

The Model 3 phone key was intended to be an alternative to the Model S/X key fob. I don't know if there's anything about the Model S/X hardware that would preclude adding phone key support, but I don't think there's much demand for it. Lots of people in the Model 3 forum seem to have issues with the phone key. It works pretty well for our Model 3, but every now and then it doesn't.

2015P90DI | September 23, 2019

Careful what you wish for. I drove the Model 3 for about 10 months. Thing annoyed the hell out of me on a DAILY basis. Phone key often didn't work. Stand in the rain fumbling with the phone because bluetooth won't connect, have to pull your phone out to open the frunk. I tried the key fob for the M3 as well.That was better, but not by much and brought with it a whole new set of issues. In all my years of driving, never once had a car that annoyed me for the simple task of entering, exiting and driving away. Since I've been back to the S and ol' reliable passive entry key fob, the only time I even think about it is when I read about more Model 3 owners complaining about the issues they have with the phone key, key fob or key card. The Model S/X are as they should be, never give it a thought and it just does what it's supposed to 99.999999% of the time. It honestly is one of the major factors in me wanting out of the 3 so badly and back to the S as my daily driver.

That's not to mention, if god forbid, you accidentally leave your phone in the car....

Haggy | September 23, 2019

Since the phone can establish a Bluetooth connection to the car with software, it should be technically possible. What's not technically possible is to carry a backup fob in your wallet, or install a card reader after the fact.

The only real advantage to adding the capability would be that it could be used in dead spots where the car or the phone can't get a data connection through a mobile carrier.

If you accidentally leave your phone in the car, then you could call Tesla or call your spouse, except that you won't have a phone with you. That happened to me once, when I didn't have my fob with me and decided to use the phone. I went to put air in my tires, and normally would have taken my phone with me, but didn't since I wasn't parked. I got locked out, and had to borrow a phone to call my wife.

Darthamerica | September 23, 2019

I sometimes leave the key when I go to the gym, but I don't feel good about it. Tesla servers are always going down and that can be a real inconvenience. This won't work until the phone and car can make a direct connection with something a bit more secure and robust than the current BT implementation.

Haggy | September 23, 2019

What I'd really like to see more than this sort of change would be the ability to give the car a five digit code on the screen, and then allow me to use it to access the car with the trunk button. Subaru has that. It would mean pressing the button a certain number of times per digit, and waiting for a tone in between, which Tesla could do easily since they have a warning tone for the rear hatch.

EVRider | September 23, 2019

@Haggy: Bluetooth is the least of it. Tesla would have to provide a way for owners to set up phone keys in the S/X, figure out how to handle conflicts between the key fob and phone key (if you have both with you), and a variety of other things. There’s no conflict between the Model 3 key card and phone key because the card is very short range, and the optional Model 3 key fob works differently from the S/X version. Technically possible, yes, but not easy.

Boonedocks | September 23, 2019

@ Darthamerica | September 23, 2019
.....”Tesla servers are always going down”

SMH at this guys lies and dramatization. Makes you wonder about the multitude and endless posts based on the same kind of mindset!!!

DRFLGD | September 23, 2019

You can ask Siri to open your car doors, without having to go into the app.

Darthamerica | September 23, 2019

Siri still has a dependency on Apple servers, Tesla servers, cell service and the battery on your phone. Many potential points of failure that could get you stuck. A biometric system could solve this. Facial recognition or fingerprint sensor.

EVRider | September 24, 2019

@Darthamerica: The Tesla app doesn’t use Bluetooth to access a Model S/X, it only does that for the Model 3. Unlocking an S/X from the app requires internet access. That’s why you should always have your key fob.

Darthamerica | September 24, 2019

EV4rider I know... I'm talking about what it would take to make the phone app a reliable key replacement. Tesla servers had issues just 2 hours ago.

PhillyGal | September 24, 2019

I love love love not having to carry keys anymore but get annoyed on the regular as I stand there waiting for my Model 3 door to open, more often than not, for what I deem to be too long. Mine is early (VIN 55xx) so I hope newer ones work better but our S never skips a beat when you walk toward it with the fob.

I don't know how to make it a "reliable" replacement. Neither dose Tesla, as they've officially stopped responding to my still unresolved problem where even if the car opens for me, it doesn't always lock when I walk away. Sigh...

PrescottRichard | September 24, 2019

Philly- that last part has me thinking I have seen that same complaint recently. Is that a setting somewhere? Maybe it was re-set? Un set?

You have a 3 though, and I’m used to the S so that could be apples and orangutans.

PhillyGal | September 24, 2019

@Prescott - I first noticed my car not locked in December. From then through late March Tesla had escalated the issue and was working on some very detailed analytics to get to the bottom of it. They went silent and so did I as I did not notice the issue for about 3 months. Then it came back, happening 3 times within 6 weeks and after each time, I sent time stamps to my contact and heard nothing back.

Definitely not a setting issue in my case but much like the S, it could easily be that way. It's a single toggle switch.

Don't have issues with the Model S fob. It works even buried deep within my work bag, where I constantly forget that I keep it, since I rarely drive the S these days.

PrescottRichard | September 24, 2019

Good for you being on top of all that, sorry to hear that service has been silent on the matter. I *wish* that complaint wasn’t so common.

3’s are different enough from the S in how they work with keys that hopefully someone with a 3 and experience will chime in on the Model 3 forum. Good luck!