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

jmiday | 18 juin 2018

Wanted to wait several weeks before responding but phone key has been a dream.

0 issues, not a single one in all the time we have had it.

I have an iPhone X, my wife has a iPhone 8 plus. An unexpected pleasure not to have to grab bulky keys and stick them in my pocket every time I leave the house.

rxlawdude | 18 juin 2018

I have to report it's working much better on the Galaxy S7edge. In fact, it's now 100% reliable, as long as I didn't use the app to do something with the MS and forgot to slide the app's focus to the M3.

billlake2000 | 18 juin 2018

Taped my key card to my princess phone and it seems to work as expected.

ANTHONYROSEJR | 19 juin 2018

iPhone 7s plus works perfect as long as app is open in the background

jithesh | 19 juin 2018

My iPhone 6 is a hit and miss.. doesn't work always. When it works its the best thing in the world, if it doesn't I always keep the keycard handy so not a major issue, but it would have been great if phone key worked all the time because that's how Tesla marketed it. Using Tesla app to unlock is not as convenient as keyfob would be.

I guess the problem is that that feature is also dependent on a third party device(phone) so could have issues which Tesla cannot control. A Keyfob on the other hand is completely under Tesla's control so a keyfob would always work.

Please don't tell me to upgrade my phone, no plans for that :)

ahagge | 19 juin 2018

Motorola Moto G5+ with Android 7.0 - rating: 4.5. Will connect immediately after rebooting phone and will work for an hour or two, but after that, no amount of Bluetooth or Airplane toggling (or anything else that I've tried) will allow it to connect again except another phone reboot. I'm convinced it's a phone-side problem, probably issues with the Android Bluetooth stack and/or it's use by the Tesla Android app.

elephant2007 | 22 juin 2018

The problem is that all Model 3 owners do not have the same phone. Each phone has its own idiosyncrasies. Some work great. Others work irregularly. Some never work. A key fob you carry in your pocket, purse, etc. would be more reliable for all. My other car, a Chevy Volt has a key fob that has never failed to work in the almost two years I've owned it. I just walk up to the car and open the door. No fumbling with a phone or pulling a key card out of my wallet. If I have a vote, I vote for Tesla to provide a key fob for the Model 3.

elephant2007 | 22 juin 2018

As far as my phone, a Nexus 6, it works most of the time but not always. Always have to have the key card with me "just in case." So, my phone rating is a "3."

dick.weisiger | 24 juin 2018

Model 3 key "disconnects" unpredictably on my wife's iPhone 6s (Bluetooth still connected). We both have the same phone and have a Model S as well. When she calls me for help, I have been able to turn on her car remotely with my phone's Tesla app.

Sure hope this gets fixed.

DesignArt | 24 juin 2018

iPhone 6s - Works Perfectly

Zippy114 | 24 juin 2018

5. In my opinion, the phone key is the biggest weakness of an otherwise nearly perfect car. Wife and I are Android; I have a Moto G5 Plus, she has a Samsung Galaxy J7. In both cases, the phone key only works reliably if the phone is first put into airplane mode then taken out (i think this re-sets bluetooth) - then it work correctly. Otherwise it basically doesn't work.

Gregg Ray | 24 juin 2018

Wow, talk about "all over the map"!
It sounds like this is the most undependable function of the whole car, Apple seems to be the best, but I won't own one, so I suppose just live with using the card every time and manually lock it by using the touchscreen every time is the only way to insure dependable results.

wade.wilson | 24 juin 2018

The problem is the phone key functionality depends on 3rd party device, which is why it's so unpredictable. On my LG G6, I am 99.99% sure it's the phone itself. If it fails to connect to the car, I simply had to "Force Stop" the Bluetooth System app (turning BT off/on doesn't work).

My Fitbit has similar issues that it'll stop connecting to my phone. But it fails differently. It's probably due to the BLE implementation is not quite mature, unlike BT audio stuff.

dgordon | 24 juin 2018

As was said above, with a Moto G5+ running Android 7.0, it almost never works. The phone always disconnects after a few minutes away from the car, although it does reliably reconnect after I toggle airplane mode. After several sessions with Tesla engineers, I was told that it's not going to improve until a Google security update in August (and whenever that and/or Android 8.0 gets rolled out to Moto G5+'s).

gellison56 | 25 juillet 2018

My Samsung Galaxy S4 is so unreliable I'm ready to give up using it as a phone key. The card is less convenient than a key fob. This may not be a fair comparison but my cheap bluetooth speaker I use for music on my patio always connects with my phone as soon as I turn it on.

ANTHONYROSEJR | 25 juillet 2018

iPhone 7plus. Works prefect

mazers | 25 juillet 2018

iPhone 8 plus, has worked every time

quatroch | 25 juillet 2018

iPhone 8. Zero issues after 5 days.

maki808 | 25 juillet 2018

Note4 - works most of the times (85%).

cascadiadesign | 25 juillet 2018

Moto G4+ Not reliable at all. None of the Android phone setting recommendations I collected from various forums has helped. I have stopped even trying to use it as a key.

elandpea | 25 juillet 2018

I have had my M3 now for three weeks and i have a iphone X and i have not had one issue with the connection , it always works.

jithesh | 25 juillet 2018

There was a time period after I got the last update when it wasn't working frequently. Then i unpaired my phone and removed all phone keys and added them back again.

Now If I keep bluetooth on on my phone it works 95-99% of the time. Very rarely it doesn't work so I just keep the keycard handy.
The only problem I have with keycard is that not only I have to use it to open the door but then I have to place it again inside to drive the car which seems like unnecessary double work.

rbolton | 25 juillet 2018

iPhone 8+
1 works every time
Just picked up the car this past Saturday an took off to Big Bear for a few days. Phone key and app worked flawlessly.

vmulla | 25 juillet 2018

iphone 7, it getting progressively worse. It works when my phone screen is lit up, but not when my phone is my pocket. I just click the volume button on the phone to wake the phone up and then everything works.
Whats frustrating is that the phone key was working perfectly before :(

markr7 | 25 juillet 2018

iPhone X - Phone Key has worked 100% of the time!

kiwank | 25 juillet 2018

Iphone X: Perfect never had a problem.

Gregg Ray | 26 juillet 2018


Another person on another forum had zero problems with a Moto e5 cruise v8.0 OS

jvcesare | 26 juillet 2018

iPhone 7 - works perfectly every time.

cascadiadesign | 26 juillet 2018

@Gregg - Thanks. Yeah - I read that the newer version of Android may fix this issue. I'm on 7.0 and waiting for Moto to push out an update.

Gregg Ray | 26 juillet 2018

I won't do apple, so it's this or nothing... ;>)

GAGSTESLA | 26 juillet 2018

8+ here, works perfect and has since I got the car in December.

dgstan | 26 juillet 2018

I am interested that if it does or doesn't work, do you have any other Bluetooth devices attached to the phone? Watch, headset, etc.

rd_forum | 28 juillet 2018

Samsung Galaxy S8, Android 8 - would rate it a 4. One of only 2 complaints I have with the car (other being the trunk is too hard to close) and find it extremely annoying. 75% of the time it doesn't unlock when I try to open it, then I pull out my phone and make sure the app is launched which will fix it about half the time, if not then airplane mode on/off which will fix it 90% of the time, if not then use keycard. I really, really hate this dance, please give us a fob Tesla. Relying on bluetooth for the only convenient means of opening your car was not a good idea.

jwat14 | 28 juillet 2018

I've downloaded the app onto both my phones. One is a MOTO and the other is an LG. It's fairly reliable on both, however if I want to use the Summon feature, I had the use the LG; otherwise I get the weird error message about the phone's proximity sensor being covered. I have had to turn Airplane mode on and then off a few times. It still feels a little strange not having to hunt for keys before I leave the house, but I'm getting used to it. :) So long as you keep the key card as a back-up, I don't see the real issue.

fkmga | 28 juillet 2018

We have 2 iPhone 6s and have had lots of problems. I would give it a 4. Sometimes one phone works, sometimes another. Both get "disconnected" or unpaired messages regularly. I can't believe Tesla can't provide keyless entry with our key card -- having to dig it out and touch the post seems ridiculously retro in a car supposed to be so advanced. Absurd to have to rely on a phone and have to carry both the phone and the card at all times.

Cdotpeterman | 28 juillet 2018

Only ten days, but iPhone x has worked every time.

coredumperror | 28 juillet 2018

I have an iPhone 7 and have not had any issue with Phone Key failing to work. Unfortunately, my house is built such that my living room is directly over top of my carport, which puts me so close to the car that the Phone Key will unlock it while I'm inside my house.

I've spoken to Tesla Support about this, and it's a known issue. Apparently this kind of "living room above carport" thing is pretty common among Tesla owners in San Fransisco. They are unfortunately not currently working on a solution.

So, I decided to turn off Phone Key and use the keycards exclusively. I slipped one of the cards into the outside pocket of my wallet, and I just have to tap my wallet on the B pillar to unlock the car. It's mildly annoying that I have to remember to lock the car on my way out, which isn't necessary with Phone Key, but I was already in that habit from having to lock my old Prius, so it's really not a big deal.

DO NOTE, however, that you must disable Phone key FROM THE CAR. Disabling it from the APP doesn't actually turn it off, even though the app says it's off. You have to remove your phone from the Keys list in the car's Locks screen. That's a major security bug that I intend to report to Tesla immediately.

Joho.keith | 28 juillet 2018

I have an iPhone SE and it works 90% of the time. Pairing more than one phone is asking for trouble. My model S had both the work and home phones paired and you could never predict which phone would grab the Bluetooth connection. It seemed random. So for the model 3, I decided to only pair the home phone. The app needs to be running location to always and background refresh on and cellular data on.

Clyffe3 | 28 juillet 2018

Google Pixel 2 XL
1 Works every time

SVMike | 30 juillet 2018

Just got my Model 3 yesterday
Samsung S7

The app seems to work fine (unlock, climate, etc.)
I cannot get the car to unlock as I approach the car
I can unlock remotely by tapping on padlock icon
If the car is unlocked the phone allows me to drive without placing the card on the console.
Also, when I walk away with my phone after closing the door the car automatically locks

Yes, Bluetooth is on. Yes, I have enabled the feature on the console.

kathi2000usa | 28 août 2018

Below I tried with our 1 month old Model 3 showing v8.1 (2018.32.2 3817FDD) firmware.
Bluetooth is so infuriatingly unknowably modal! When your Tesla is showing “Searching…” on the Bluetooth screen in the car going round and round as you are holding your phone looking at it to confirm the Bluetooth is indeed on---- will it ever STOP searching? Will it ever complete and FIND your phone? No countdown, no nothing…except the END of your patience! Just me whinging.

I would think that the couple-with-identical-model-cellphones is the MOST LIKELY USE CASE even more than the single guy as the only driver (maybe?).
Accepting that the first person who approaches will “win” the Bluetooth connection, I learned I needed to CHANGE THE Bluetooth NAME so we could tell whose phone was driving our Model 3.
Hope this is useful to someone, here is HOW to change the Bluetooth names on Android 7.0 Nougat on Moto G5 Plus (or G5+):
1. (not the swipe from top of screen, but the icon on your Home screen I hope): Settings,
2. Bluetooth,
3. (three vertical dots menu on the right top),
4. Rename This Device.
Here you can differentiate yours from your significant-other’s same-model-phone. In my experience the Model 3 did not need to be told to forget/re-search the phone to display the new names when I changed them (must have stored some MAC ID like numbers that it does not show us I speculate).
Now when you both get in nearly simultaneously you can figure out who “won” by looking on the Bluetooth screen (and so whose address book will be used for voice commands through the car system).
And you can switch to the other phone if you like! But remember currently the phone does not affect the Profile in effect for seat position etcetera!
More on-topic is my current status:
1. Walk up to LOCKED Model 3 with either phone, Bluetooth ON
2. Try door handle, screen in car asks for Key Card
3. Cycle Airplane Mode on phone (on, then off) (can observe on the phone it establishes contact with Model 3 at this point)
4. Try door handle, Model 3 unlocks every time!
5. Walk away with phone, Model 3 locks with beep and tucks mirrors every time.

Still it could be a dozen things, like how the phone fingerprint lock affects the Bluetooth or who knows what! Far fewer permutations on an iPhone I bet, maybe? Probably many subtleties I have not recorded; most of the times I have the phone in my hand but have activated the screen so I can see the settings summary on the swipe-down-from-the-top-of-the-screen page. State of the Tesla app? More unknowable stuff as I am not an Android developer!

When they get it all working, it will be GREAT!

kaffine | 28 août 2018

I have noticed if I walk up to the driver door with my phone in my left pocket it wont open if I turn some so the phone is closer to the car it will open. If my phone is in my right pocket I haven't had an issue just isn't common for me to have the phone in that pocket.

lilbean | 28 août 2018

Better since the update.

Mike12 | 28 août 2018

Received the car 11 weeks ago. IPhone 7 worked perfectly every time . Enjoying not having to carry a bulky fob.

dalesmith1962 | 29 août 2018

@kaffine “I have noticed if I walk up to the driver door with my phone in my left pocket it wont open if I turn some so the phone is closer to the car it will open. If my phone is in my right pocket I haven't had an issue just isn't common for me to have the phone in that pocket.”

My iphone 7 typically connects to the car from 30+ feet away (once it connected from about 60 feet away). I’ve never had an issue with the locked door not opening when the phone is connected to the car.

Only once in 67 days has my phone failed to unlock the door as I walk up and that was because it wasn’t connected through bluetooth (a car reboot fixed it). Sorry to hear so many are having issues.

pulsar2612 | 29 août 2018

S7: Worked perfectly everytime
Moto G3: Does not work, everytime. Gotta toggle airplane mode on and off.
Moto G1: Same as above

Seems like Motorola phones are bad for the Tesla App.

spuzzz123 | 29 août 2018

iPhone 6S works 100% of the time, every time.

kathi2000usa | 29 août 2018

Another observation on my Moto G5+
I walk up to the car with the swipe-down-from-the-top-of-screen setting subset showing. Under the Bluetooth
icon is the word Bluetooth. Pause for a moment or two, and that word CHANGES to Tesla Model 3..THEN GOES
BACK TO Bluetooth! Forever, until I cycle Airplane Mode. Then it comes back to Tesla Model 3 and stays like
that until I get in the car. Connected, then rejected?

M3BlueGeorgia | 29 août 2018

Nexus 6P (android 8.1) and Pixel (Android 9) all work fine.

I find it best to wait one or two seconds after walking up to the car before using the door handle.
If I don't wait, it often doesn't unlock first time, but if I hesitate just by a second or so, it works almost all the time.

syclone | 29 août 2018

iPhone 6S Plus 1 never a problem
iPhone 8 Plus 1 never a problem
Since 7/17/18