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

spuzzz123 | 11 mei 2018

iPhone 6s. Never had a problem. Not once. Have had one iOS upgrade and one model s release. Never missed a beat. It’s still early. 5 weeks 1200 Miles

andrewlee05 | 11 mei 2018

iPhone X and iPhone 7 Plus - Works well

canuck55 | 11 mei 2018

iPhone X, ios 11.3.1, works well

jvcesare | 11 mei 2018

Zero issues in over a month of usage: iPhone 7

EvrGrn | 11 mei 2018

iPhone 6plus, latest OS. I've had consistently seamless performance as a key. Occasionally the app spins when I'm away from the car and won't update, but the key function has been flawless. I have a magnet mount behind my steering wheel, and grabbing the phone when I put it into park and get out is automatic for me. Haven't left the phone behind yet/

saurabh.ganeriwal | 4 juni 2018

I have had my Model 3 for a week now. Locked out 3 times.
1st time, I didnt carry the key card and my husband had to remotely unlock the car for me.

2nd time, we were at home and I had the key card in my wallet. My wallet and kids were in the car as we were getting ready to go out. I had to run in the house for a bottle of water. I was locked out and it was super scary. By the time I came back with the 2nd key card, my kids unlocked the driver side door for me, although the car alarm started blaring.

3rd time, I was locked out again with my wallet in the car.

I am changing my habits to not put my bag in the car if I am not in the car myself. :)
I guess the simplicity of owning a Prius with Smart Key where you CANNOT get locked out if your keys/wallet are around the car has spoilt me.
Phone key is quite unreliable.

czamara | 4 juni 2018

iPhone X has been perfect. So convenient, I never have to think about unlocking or locking: I just get in and drive, then get out and walk away.

RP3 | 4 juni 2018

ditto what jvcesare says: "Zero issues in over a month of usage: iPhone 7"

Once I had bluetooth turned off on my phone when I went to open the driver's door...after I realized bluetooth was off, I turned bluetooth back on and in less than 1 second I was able to unlock the door. Surprised at how quickly it reconnected!

Xerogas | 4 juni 2018

@Frank99: took delivery today. iPhone 7+ worked first time, both for walk-up lock and unlock. Took less than a second to pair it.

hpn | 4 juni 2018

IT SUCKS! Hoping for a key fob option.
android user only 20-30% of the was connected but often times doesn't connect to the key card. I was at the service center and the tech see that my car is awake...but the phone card was not connected had to use the card to start the car...

tech shook his head. redone the phone connection then it works...drove car connection to key card...stopped working

I'm waiting for the fob like the Model S that I used as a Loaner this past weekend.

seattlemag | 4 juni 2018

iPhone 8, works every time :)

jefjes | 4 juni 2018

I just upgraded my android phone to a newer version but from reading this thread, I may be getting an iPhone if I get my car and start having problems. Not going to let the type of cell I'm using spoil my experience of a $60k car.

ebmcs03 | 5 juni 2018

iPhone 6S doesn’t work all the time. But Seems to work better if the app is opened and running in the background and bluetooth is on at least several minutes before approaching the car.

hokiegir1 | 5 juni 2018

Google Pixel (original) - 2 over the 5 week average of ownership, but 1 after changing phone battery optimization settings a week ago to keep the app "awake" on my phone.

Blackberry Priv (runs android) - 3. It somewhat regularly needs to be opened and clicked to unlock. He's had a handful of times where he needs to pull the card out to start the car, despite it unlocking properly. I just changed his settings to match mine, but I think my phone is taking priority, so it hasn't really helped him. Or his habit of force-closing all recent apps is doing it. Or...blackberry. *sigh* I'm working on it. ;)

spuzzz123 | 5 juni 2018

@ebmcs03 - also iPhone 6s, never once had a problem here -- but i never "hard close" my Tesla app. I think you want to leave it open in the background. Also I don't usually turn off bluetooth for any reason. You probably have your reasons. I think this is why we are seeing such varying results with phonekey. Different people use their phones in such different manners.

Iwantmy3 | 5 juni 2018

My Samsung Galaxy S8 has been flawless. My wife has an LG G5, it is less reliable. My son has a Huawai P10 lite. It is not reliable (he regularly has to turn the bluetooth off and on.

We recently put a bluetooth lock on our house door. Our experiences have been the same on the door lock.

ml1211 | 5 juni 2018

iPhone 6: Works every time. takes a second or 2 to wake up app. Always leave it running in the backround. iOS 11.4. Very useful. Haven't tried the key cards yet!

JAD | 5 juni 2018

From what I can tell, the newer phones work pretty well, whereas older Android phones put Bluetooth in a power saving mode and don't work. My Pixel 2XL seems to work well, but the older Motorola Droid Turbo almost never works without cycling the bluetooth.

Not really a car issue, just a phone issue but waiting to see if Tesla fixes even for old phones or I will get the new generation phones to come out in a couple months and upgrade the phone then.

Daryl | 5 juni 2018

It works about 90% of the time for me, and then always works if I open the app on the phone, though it sometimes takes a minute or so and occasionally I have to go into airplane mode and back out. A hassle, and I hope it gets fixed, but I can live with it.

People talked about never leaving their phone at home any more, and I agree that's a benefit. But I have the opposite problem: I put the phone in the handy charging location, and then get out of the car and leave it there. I wish the car would warn you if you leave and the phone is still inside.

I've never had the car lock me out with the phone inside, but that isn't necessarily good. It means that while I am inside the store my car is enabled and someone could drive away with it. I know, the same could happen with a fob, but the fob is much more likely to stay in my pocket, and the car will usually warn you if you do leave it inside.

highlander | 5 juni 2018

S8 (Samsung Galaxy 8) - Mostly works. Sadly some times (once in two weeks approx. or so), I will need to turn the airplane mode on and off, when it first fails to unlock.

However, it would be nice if I can configure my M3 to honk (even better if it could play a personalized little tune) when it locks itself after the phone has moved away from it, so I don't have to wait or turn back to make sure the ears are tucked in - a sign that indicates the car is locked.

ShesNoCissy | 5 juni 2018

IPhone SE 1 = It's perfect, never had an issue
IPhone 6S 1 = It's perfect, never had an issue

fskott | 5 juni 2018

iPhone X, giving the system a rating of 1.3.

Has worked 99% of the time, over the past six days of ownership. And that 1% probably is evenly split with me still learning how to use it, and then half where it genuinely did not open the door. Some pro's / con's:

Con01: Sometimes - but only sometimes, it seems only work if I have the phone at door-handle level, and very close to the handle. Which is weird. I've had to do a sort of hip check dance move a few times to get it to unlock. So that's odd. Mostly that's not the case, but a few times definitely it was the case. Mostly, I just walk up to the car, and open the door and it's glorious.

Con02: It seems to take a long time to lock up when I walk away. This leads me to always turn and look at the car after about ten steps, just staring at it, backing up a few more steps to be sure I've cleared far enough away for it to lock. It actually is slightly embarrassing, because makes it look like I love my car so much, I have to keep turning back and looking and looking at it . . . . which actually is sorta true (it *is* a beautiful car!), but also primarily I'm just waiting to be sure the thing locks up. I wish it would lock up more quickly, and maybe with just a ten foot distance. This one's tough, I know, because sometimes you don't want it to lock up at that distance.

Pro01: It actually ensures I never leave my phone in the car, since I have to have it in-hand and walk away to have it self-lock. A few times, I've closed it up, walked away, waited and waited, and began to curse the buggy Tesla App, when all of a sudden I realize the darned phone is still in the car and that's why it's not locking up.

Pro02: I love gadgets, so I love fiddling with my phone and now also my giant deep metallic blue gadget on wheels. So, even in those rare instances where it's not working, I still like trouble-shooting it. Weird, I know, but probably less weird for the crowd here on these forums . . .

Iwantmy3 | 5 juni 2018

Con03: While I never have to worry about leaving my phone at home anymore, I do have to worry about leaving my office key at home. Both the car, and my house door operate off of the phone. The only key I still have is to get into my office.

TexasBob | 5 juni 2018

After 5 weeks

Phone: iPhone 7
Rating: 1
Comments: Only had a problem 1 time, when I had upgraded phone software and forgot to re-open the Tesla app. Reopened the app and worked immediately. Otherwise 100% so far.

TexasBob | 5 juni 2018

Addendum - I should note that this is on two iPhone 7s (mine and my wife's) and same experience.

fskott | 5 juni 2018

@Iwantmy3 - yes, me too re con03. And - maybe a Con04 - I have a work badge that I must have to get into work, so I used to tie that to my car keys since I knew I'd always need my car keys to go to work. Now I don't have the car keys, and I'm in grave danger of leaving my badge back at home. Need a new system. . . .

MarylandS85 | 5 juni 2018

@fskott and @Iwantmy3
Have you considered storing your keys and/or badges IN your car? I leave all my work-related stuff in my frunk.

RP3 | 5 juni 2018

@highlander - Agree...I don't like having to turn around and look for the folded mirrors. Feels like I'm just checkin' out my new wheels every time I walk away from it... One thing that *might* be nice is if we can get a notification from the app that it's locked...I say *might* because I can see that getting annoying too. Maybe your suggestion of a little beep or something as it locks. I did notice that the rear light flashes, but that's too quick to rely on that and it again has me turning around and checkin' out the new wheels.

rxlawdude | 5 juni 2018

My lovely bride has an iPhone 7, which seems to work 99% of the time. My Galaxy S7edge requires me to open the Tesla app if I haven't been in the M3 for more than a few hours.

Clearly, at the macro level, iPhone reliability is better than Android.

hokiegir1 | 5 juni 2018

@rxlawdude -- check your battery optimization settings. The phone could be closing the app in the background to "save" the battery. Once I changed mine, I think I've been near 100%.

rxlawdude | 5 juni 2018

@hokiegirl, I've done all those steps. It made it better, but nowhere near 99%. It's not that big a deal, other than playing the "do I need to take out my phone now?" game.

SolarCharged | 5 juni 2018

Hey, MarylandS85, are you a Capitals fan? One more game to go to erase decades of painful season endings!

SolarCharged | 5 juni 2018

Back to the topic at hand, my iPhone 6s continues to be flawless after I started keeping it in my front pocket instead of the back pocket. I’m only 160 lbs so the disadvantage might be even more pronounced for bigger people.

hpn | 5 juni 2018

The Fob works flawlessly....why change it..

it was great having the Model S as a loaner for 4 days...walk up to the car...door unlocks.

sits starts and off i go......

open door...walk away...doors Locks up...


Where's the Fob option so i can add to my Cart....

Iwantmy3 | 5 juni 2018

Remember to put key in car. Remember to take key from car. Yikes, to much to remember.
I have resorted to hiding a second key in the general office area outside my office. If I forget my key, I have a backup. When the colder weather returns, I can just keep the key in my coat pocket.

MarylandS85 | 5 juni 2018

Definitely! Let’s go Caps! (I’m more into football, but if my racist-mascot team can’t win, I’m all for rooting for the hockey team.)

SolarCharged | 5 juni 2018

@MarylandS85: yeah, I grew up in Vienna, VA, a die-hard Skins fan. I think they should change their name to the DC Americans and keep the logo.

Iwantmym3, if anyone Knows your secret identity, there’s going to be a treasure hunt for your key!

ColonyGolfer | 5 juni 2018

Motorola Drioid Turbo X. Neither my wife's nor mine work with walk-up. This is so annoying, have had 4 different Tesla people fiddlle with it on 4 different occasions. I get "walk uo to car" and always says "vehicle not found". I have tried 30 times on my own, still zip.

Iwantmy3 | 5 juni 2018

I am sure they will never find it. (I just hope I will be able to)

Go Capitals! Last chance to stop the Knights. No sports team should get to win their first year in the league. (Anyone here from Vegas?)

Sweetride | 5 juni 2018

My wife had fits with her iPhone 6 until 7 weeks ago when things started behaving reliably. No complaints recently.

Sweetride | 5 juni 2018

My wife had fits with her iPhone 6 until 7 weeks ago when things started behaving reliably. No complaints recently.

bpiercey | 5 juni 2018

iPhone X
Rating: 1 Has worked flawlessly for my wife and I, (She has iPhone X too.)
Always locks and unlocks. It's amazing! Really shocked at how well it works.

lilbean | 5 juni 2018

@lawdude My Note8 works flawlessly. Maybe time for an upgrade?

olsonfamily5 | 5 juni 2018

Motorola phone, has only worked 2 days in 60 days of ownership. I just have to use the key card and listen to podcasts from my phone, not through the premium sound system. Very frustrating for something so simple to be so annoying.

ehsmadhatter | 5 juni 2018

No problems here. I love it. No keys, no worries.

jje | 5 juni 2018

I've had the car since April 24th. Since, my iPhone failed to open the car for me exactly once. When that occurred, I unlocked with the phone app. No problems since.

kaffine | 5 juni 2018

I have an iPhone 6s and have twice had to unlock my phone for the car to unlock. I didn't have to bring the app up just unlocking the phone using my fingerprint was enough.

I will note that I turn bluetooth off during the workday and turn it on after I leave the building, Most times I have used remote app to turn the AC on before leaving the building normally 10 to 30 minutes before leaving.

kaffine | 5 juni 2018


i'm from vegas go knights. please note no capitals were used in this message. sorry for changing your name.

wade.wilson | 5 juni 2018

Phone: LG G6
Rating: 4 (poor)

Have to reboot the phone, OR force stop the Bluetooth app on almost daily basis.

hollarwest | 18 juni 2018

The phone-as-key feature has not been working well for me. I’ve had my Model 3 for about 5 weeks and I’ve tried 3 phones with it.

First was a Samsung Note 3, BT 4.0, Android 5.0
Bluetooth-for-calls connects without issue, however, the Phone-Key would randomly take ~10sec to connect (sometimes it worked great, but mostly it was delayed). If I used the Card-Key to get in the door, the phone would be able to start the car by the time I got buckled in so the issue is a significant delay, not the final connection.

Second (and currently) is the Samsung Galaxy S7, BT 4.2, Android 7.0
The Phone-Key works perfectly as advertised. However, I’d prefer a different phone.

Third was a LG V20, BT 4.2, Android 7.0
Same BT specs as the Galaxy S7, however, I had the same random delay as the Note 3. Phone-Key would randomly (~50% of the time) take several seconds to connect while I stood at the door trying the handle. Once inside the car, the BT-for-calls works fine and the phone is able to start the car. Also, I always had the app running in the background so that didn’t seem to matter.

At this point I’m happy that I can use the S7 to reliably get into the car, but I’m concerned because I don’t know what specs to look for in a new phone. I wish there was a Key-Fob option because it’s no fun stand next to the car trying the door handle, hopping it will let you. Otherwise, it’s an awesome car.