How's the Phone Key working for you?

How's the Phone Key working for you?

It'd be interesting to find out what phones are working well for Model 3 owners (both as a key and the app), and what phones aren't. I don't have my car yet - but it's almost time to upgrade my phone, and I'd rather choose a "working well" phone if possible.

So, quick post everyone, what phone do you have, how well does it work for you with the Model 3?

Phone: (examples: iPhone 7, Samsung Galaxy S8)
Rating: 1 = It's perfect, never had an issue, 3 = Mostly works, have to futz with it more than I want, 5 = Never, or almost never, works.


Update: Noon PDT on 4/3/2018
25 reports made, 21 iPhones, 4 Samsungs.
Number of poor reports: 1 (crobert5)
Average iPhone rating: 1.4 (1.24 if crobert5's report ends up being a car issue rather than BT issue)
Average Samsung rating: 1.25 | 2 avril 2018

iPhone 6 for me, iPhone 5 for my bride. The Model 3 is her car.
Haven't received the SW update that alters the unlocking sequence.
Requirement: If you have more than one Tesla, you must have the target Model 3 selected in the Tesla app.
Your phone need not be active but of course it must be turned on with Bluetooth enabled.

Results: The car always unlocks when I am within about 15 feet. It has failed to unlock a couple of times when my wife was out shopping. She turned her iPhone off and rebooted and the car unlocked. I don't know if this was necessary because I wasn't there to help.

lilbean | 2 avril 2018

Note 8 perfect
iPhone 6 perfect

chadrchristensen79 | 2 avril 2018

iPhone SE -perfect
iPhone 8 -perfect

Sbrownguitar | 2 avril 2018

iPhone 7 = 2, works fine when driving, every once in a while need to manually unlock from the app. I think the app has to be open when approaching the car...

Dasflux | 2 avril 2018

iPhone 8 = 2, the Bluetooth to the car is a bit buggy, but the app key works well once it takes a few seconds to update. | 2 avril 2018

App doesn't have to be open.

nwfan | 3 avril 2018

iphone x - perfect

djharrington | 3 avril 2018

Frank, I'm having a hard time writing 1 because your rating scale is backwards from typical ;)

I've never had a failure and have an iphone6 that's been on iOS 10.2. For firmware I've had three flavors of 2018.4, and now 2018.10.5.

I should be updating to iOS 11.x today and will report back if any issues.

rdavis | 3 avril 2018

iPhone X

Worked perfect for 2.5 weeks then had a few days of issues 1st thing in AM after 10.1 and 10.5 update. Then perfect again for last week.

moorelin | 3 avril 2018

2 iphone x, both updated, both perfect

Model_D | 3 avril 2018

Both of us have iPhone 7 Plus. Works perfect. We close apps we aren’t using (double click home button and then swipe the app up) except the Tesla app with the Model 3 selected. We also reboot our phones often by holding the volume down and the power button till the bitten Apple symbol appears.

joan | 3 avril 2018

My husband and I have Samsung Galaxy S9+ phones. We've only had the car since Friday but everything is working just fine.

Mrx50518 | 3 avril 2018

iPhone 8, perfect

MarylandS85 | 3 avril 2018

iPhone X perfect
iPhone 7 Plus perfect
Firmware 2018.10.5 for the past week since getting the car

billlake2000 | 3 avril 2018

Where are the androids?

rmg007 | 3 avril 2018

Where are the issues?

Madatgascar | 3 avril 2018

iPhone 6 = 2

rtanov | 3 avril 2018

Samsung Galaxy S8 = 2 (had to restart Bluetooth several times to reactivate the key)
iPhone 7 = 1

Unbeliever | 3 avril 2018

Still evaluating, but all my issues so far have been related to either my body or something else in my pocket shielding the phone from the BTLE receiver.

nicoler711 | 3 avril 2018

Sadly I can't even remember what type of iPhone I have - 6? 7? I would put this at a 2. Works pretty seamlessly, though since our garage is right next to kitchen/dining room, we discovered our car would unlock/lock as we moved around that area of the house. Had the same issue when showing the car off to family. Car would unlock when I moved, then lock when I didn't get closer, unlock when I moved again, etc.. Turned the unlock on approach off and seems fine. Today, however, both my husband and I are getting "vehicle connection error" on the app. I assume Bluetooth connectivity is still unaffected by this error, but not sure.

dyefrog | 3 avril 2018

Wow, this certainly confirms Burdoggs observation on another topic that you only hear about it if it's broken. Up till this thread, I was convinced that Tesla screwed the pooch with the phone as a key based on the complaints but now I'm not so sure that's the case.
Excellent post

crobert5 | 3 avril 2018

Two weeks ownership - two Tows to service for being locked out. Both times neither the iphone X nor the card key would work. Turned bluetooth on and off, closed and opened app, swiped from S to 3. Interesting the phone would flash the lights and turn the air on, but would not unlock door. Both times occurred on a hot day after sitting in sun, running on 10.x version of software. 1st trip to service they loaded version 4.6 and it worked until update 10.5.

deemo | 3 avril 2018

We have been having some issues with using a Motorola G5+ running android 7.0, works for a while and then need to reset to get working again. Using the Key card and Tesla app to unlock and start has worked every time (although sometimes takes a long time to come out of sleep for app use).

burdogg | 3 avril 2018

It would be really nice to know what version software your CAR is running.

I got mine with the earlier .10 version and had no issues. Have updated to 2018.10.5 and have had intermitten issues.

Now today - it has been terrible. Had to switch back and forth between S and 3 shows key connecting, then connected, still can't open door. Do it a couple more times, and finally get in the door, only to have the car not start. Had to use the key card this morning and at lunch to get the car to start. After lunch, rebooted the system and my phone and finally it let me start the car. I am not sure right now it is the phone - I really think there is software bugs, as it was working just great - did nothing different, and it seems to be degrading on working.

My phone is Samgsung S8.

So until 2 days ago, I would have said almost no problems at all - worked 99% of the time with only 1% having to just open the app and then for some reason worked. Last two days - thinking that they have got to get this fixed.

madkim23 | 3 avril 2018

IPhone 6 11.3. Car 2018.10.5. I give it a 2. Sometimes it takes two pulls of the handle for it to know I’m there and open up. Occasionally it lets me in the car but wants the keycard to drive. Connecting to the car was quicker with the previous car software version.

djharrington | 3 avril 2018

@crobert, what phone are you using?

This almost sounds like a job for a shared spreadsheet. I wouldn’t be surprised if we found some correlations.

diegoPasadena | 3 avril 2018

I had two occasions at the very beginning in which the car did not unlock (iPhone 7), but it's been perfect ever since. I'm now on V 2018.10.5.

And, at the risk of channeling Cato's "Ceterum Censeo" oratory technique, I will, again, exhort Tesla to give us the ability to disable walk-away lock for when the car is in our garage at home. Based on a suggestion from this forum, I have now created a driver profile called "Home", in which it is disabled, but invariably, I forget to select the regular profile when I leave, which has door lock enabled. And so I've already left the car open at least once, trusting walk-away door locking when the car was still on the "Home" profile.
My fault? Of course. Unexpected? I don't think so. A prime area for a software fix? For sure!

I'm thinking implementing this software option would be low hanging fruit when assessing the "ease of implementation/usefulness" ratio. Of course, I know nothing about coding, so...

burdogg | 3 avril 2018

madkim23 - exactly what I am experiencing today.

MarylandS85 | 3 avril 2018

For those having new problems after a week or more of us, have you tried going into the menu and removing the phone as key, then reinstalling it as a key? I’m talking about the submenu in the Locks menu.

susanspaul | 3 avril 2018

Daily - have to open the Tesla app to unlock the car the first time its is driven. Auto opening is intermittent during the rest of the day. Iphone 7, version 2018.4.9. Same issue with my husband's Android phone. No issues with the Model S.

MarylandS85 | 3 avril 2018

One suggestion for your solution implementation: for the “Home” profile, make sure the seat and/or steering wheel is in an out-of-whack position. This way, you won’t make the second mistake of driving in this mode, which will not auto-lock your door when you later park the car away from home. This is the major danger of using a “Home” (I call mine “Garage”) profile. This isn’t a problem in the Model S, since the keyfob detection automatically changes the profile selected to match the driver getting in. I wish the Model 3 would do this with the “key” (phone) detected.

diegoPasadena | 3 avril 2018

@MarylandS85 - Thanks for the suggestion. I actually thought about that as a possibility, but then I thought that will (ab)use the seat adjustment mechanism so much more than normally since it would have to work at least twice a day while under normal conditions, it would only have to work a few times per month. I'm not sure what kind of wear and tear these systems are built for, and perhaps I'm being paranoid. What do you think?

cnistal1 | 3 avril 2018

iPhone 7 - 1 Only 4 days to report. Perfect every time.

dfelton | 3 avril 2018

iPhone 8, perfect. Still not on the newest update though (2018.4.9)

Sjsato | 3 avril 2018

Iphone X- mostly works, had problem, signed in and out of app and that seemed to clear it up.

sosmerc | 3 avril 2018

Anyone (with a Model 3) been able to call Tesla and have them unlock the car remotely? (if your phone or card didn't work?)
In other words, if you can't get in, can they?

Sweetride | 3 avril 2018

This is the one major negative my wife is experiencing with the Model 3. The last couple days she has been getting her Lexus cleaned up for sale, and in the process she was reminded how nice it is to have a key fob to operate the car.

She feels a key should not be a point of aggravation. But it is for her with the Model 3.

Sometimes the iPhone 6 works. Many times it does not recognize her. Sometimes she has to relog into the app which can be a pain when it's raining or she's in a hurry. She doesn't like to take her phone with her on walks, but she does because she needs it to open her car. And then she also has to take the card because if she doesn't she might be locked out. But she worries about losing the card. She also doesn't like to use the card because she has to take it out of a credit card holder in her purse, and then she's concerned that it will get lost in the car as it is black just like the rest of the interior. So she prefers the phone but it's unreliable.

All in all, she would like some kind of simple key so she can get into the car and start it without having to deal with two different methods, neither of which are as straightforward and reliable as a key fob.

Otherwise she loves the car. But the phone key system isn't working for her.

madkim23 | 3 avril 2018

@burdogg - I’m in good company then.

I will try @MarylandS85’s suggestion and report back if it improves things.

burdogg | 3 avril 2018

So at lunch when I rebooted the phone and the car, it all worked. Went to come home and it all worked just like it had in the past. Will see if that cleared up something that was causing errors.

The problem with this concept is we are left wondering is it our phone, or the car? It is the Microsoft problem - here is our operating system, all you third party people, have at it. Operating system is the car. Now all these different types of phones have to work with the car. Instead of the Apple way, here is your operating system, and here is everything else, sorry third party - good luck. So in essence, Tesla didn't want to be in control, but let anyone's phone be in control.

Even if they made a simple fob, that all it does is unlock and let you drive away - much like the card, but the card problem is, I have to dig it out and manually touch things to make it work. You can still have the whole phone set up to - just make a small fob that uses the same concept as your phone - except you (tesla) control it so that we aren't all left scratching our heads wondering - is it my phone, or is it the car. This allows them to still have the phone set up for FSD/ride sharing, and yet the owner can use a simplified fob if desired as opposed to their phone.

Of course, all this goes away if it is simply software that just needs more bug fixes - I kind of doubt that though - as again, all phones are not created the same way.

avanti5010 | 3 avril 2018

The problem is with the car. It's a "firmware" problem that Tesla can't seem to resolve. However, it may be resolved "soon". LOL! In the meantime it is a royal pain in the ass.

bckator | 3 avril 2018

I'm using an S4 w/ Android v5x. I've had the car since 3/29. I had some problems early on but its worked fine the last two days. But then, I just went out to the car and, although it said I was connected, it would not unlock. Cycling blue-tooth resolved this. This is unacceptable. As Sweetride conveyed, this not working reliably is going to more of a problem for my wife. I can always pull my wallet out of my pocket and hold it up to side of the car. Not so easy for my wife (who the car is for) with her large purse and large studded wallet. I would VERY MUCH like to have the option to buy a fob. Being able to unable to reliably get into your car can be more than an inconvenience; it can be a matter of personnel safety. Tesla could have some new legal & PR problems if someone gets mugged while standing around trying to figure out how to unlock their car.

MarylandS85 | 4 avril 2018

I’m with you on the concern about overdoing it with the mechanism that moves the seat, steering wheel, and/or mirrors. On the other hand, I know many Model S and X owners who’ve shared their vehicle between spouses who therefore frequently have the mechanisms adjust positions daily, and I don’t think there have been rampant reports of damage from wear and tear. Also, it’s quite plausible that the problem will fix itself with future software updates. I’m going to submit to Tesla to implement what they have in the Model S and X on the 3 as well, and by that I mean the vehicle should allow us to program a profile to a certain phone key and automatically select the correct profile when that phone key is detected.

Rmwilliams | 4 avril 2018

Got my car Saturday but the iPhone key has never worked. The service center had no luck and the ranger service has been out but it wont connect via any iPhone. Tried from a X + 8

joanobrien03 | 11 mai 2018

I have an iPhone 5 and my key almost never works. Sometimes the phone will let me in to the car but then asks for the keycard when I want to drive. It's been like this for the past 3.5 months. It is incredibly annoying. I want to return the car.

spockagain34 | 11 mai 2018

I've had zero issues with the phone key.

GAGSTESLA | 11 mai 2018

Great, love it!

andrewlee05 | 11 mai 2018

Had one lockout incident yesterday, but aside from that, everything is ok. My other half left her purse and phone in the car and closed the door to go up to the house to grab something. When she came down, the car locked itself even though bluetooth was connected. She was able to facetime me from her laptop to ask me to unlock it remotely, so it worked out.

12Brent | 11 mai 2018

Yesterday my coworker forgot his phone at home and he was bummed out. Another benefit of the 3, I will never forget my phone at home. :) I love the phone key and wish that I could add my house, work key card, and all my other keys to my phone too!

MarylandS85 | 11 mai 2018

Phone key has been flawless for us in the month and a half since we got the car using iPhone X and 7 Plus on latest iOS. Model 3 firmware has been 2018.10.4 and newer versions.

lilbean | 11 mai 2018

@12Brent Yes. I never misplace my phone anymore and it always has a good charge. :)