TMC Poll on Phone Key Failure Rates

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jsmay311

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#1
Last week I created a poll on the TMC forum to gauge how frequently Model 3 owners were having issues with using their phones for keyless entry, and also to see what differences there were (if any) between iPhone and Android users. I've gotten a good number of responses and the results are already quite informative, but I wanted to post a link to it here too and invite any TOO member owners to vote as well in order to increase the sample size.

You will need a TMC account and be logged in to vote. But anyone can view the results without having to log in. (I thought about creating a 2nd poll on TOO, but I figured it would be better to have one poll with a bigger sample size than 2 smaller ones.)

So if you own a Model 3 and have a TMC account, please go vote. Thanks! :)

https://teslamotorsclub.com/tmc/threads/poll-model-3-phone-key-failure-rate.113239/

(FYI... here's a screenshot of the poll questions and possible answers: )
upload_2018-4-24_0-14-34-png.7727
 

skygraff

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#4
Yeah, only occasionally lurk over there.

No failures getting in car (just three days of data) but occasionally get the prompt to put card on center console and have to wake phone (don't even have to unlock it or open app).
 

@gravityrydr

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#5
Since I've picked up my car last Wednesday (5-23-18) I have not been able to get the walk up and unlock to work. I have made several calls to the help desk (all who have been very nice). The LTE connection has been inconsistent. I don't know if that is related. Mostly I've used an android phone (7.0). I'm going to set up an iPhone 6 tonight as the second phone key and test that. The experience has been consistently inconsistent. There has not been any issue with the Bluetooth functions such as phone calls, streaming, or locking and unlocking the doors with the app. But almost always I have to use the keycard to start the car. I was told by the agent that an update is rolling out soon to update connectivity issues. Fingers crossed.

Addendum. Other than that issue, which really is a minor irritation. The car is flawless. I gave about a dozen test rides this weekend to friends and every one of them got out of the car smiling and talking about the future. Also, doing a dozen or so 0-80 runs seriously reduces range. I used nearly a full charge in one afternoon giving rides.
 
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@gravityrydr

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#6
Update: iPhone 6 works fine. Android phone Moto G5+ running Android 7.0 is still flaky. doors do not unlock on walk up but after using the key card to unlock the doors usually the car then recognizes the phone as a key and I can start the car without using the key card.
 

ahagge

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#7
Update: iPhone 6 works fine. Android phone Moto G5+ running Android 7.0 is still flaky. doors do not unlock on walk up but after using the key card to unlock the doors usually the car then recognizes the phone as a key and I can start the car without using the key card.
Ditto here...also Moto G5+, Android 7.0. Works immediately after a phone reboot and will work for perhaps an hour or two thereafter. After that, always "Disconnected" until another phone reboot. No amount of permission granting, Bluetooth setting fiddling, etc. has helped. Wife has a Moto G (Gen 1) w/Android 5.1 and it works much more reliably. Not 100%, but probably 80% percent.

Welcome to the club you don't want to be in. Sigh. :(
 

GDN

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#9
Two iPhone X's in the family here, had the car 8 days, not one failure at all.

And something I've seen in the other threads and we also had problems with prior to today, the charging cable would not unplug if the car was locked.

Today was the first day however, twice, walked up, locked car, phone in pocket, pushed the button on the charge cable and it unlocked and pulled right out of the socket, just as we think it should, but had not done since day 1, without unlocking the car first. The first time it worked was at home and the second was when I stopped at a SC to check it out. Very surprising it worked by just pushing the button, but was very nice.
 
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#10
Update: iPhone 6 works fine. Android phone Moto G5+ running Android 7.0 is still flaky. doors do not unlock on walk up but after using the key card to unlock the doors usually the car then recognizes the phone as a key and I can start the car without using the key card.
I know this post is almost a month old, but hopefully this info will help. When using the key card to unlock, you have 2 min (I think it's 2 min) to put the vehicle into gear without having to use the key card on the center console. So it's not the phone working here either.
I have a Moto G4+ and like you it never works reliably. Or more correctly, it reliably never works. I have found that if I toggle bluetooth off and wait AT LEAST 5 seconds, then toggle bluetooth on, it will work for a short time. If I don't wait long enough, it won't work.

At this point, I'm starting to look into getting another phone... But which one? Are any reliable phone keys?
 

@gravityrydr

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#11
I know this post is almost a month old, but hopefully this info will help. When using the key card to unlock, you have 2 min (I think it's 2 min) to put the vehicle into gear without having to use the key card on the center console. So it's not the phone working here either.
I have a Moto G4+ and like you it never works reliably. Or more correctly, it reliably never works. I have found that if I toggle bluetooth off and wait AT LEAST 5 seconds, then toggle bluetooth on, it will work for a short time. If I don't wait long enough, it won't work.

At this point, I'm starting to look into getting another phone... But which one? Are any reliable phone keys?
It's 2 minutes to put the car in gear if you remote start using the app. You still need to put the keycard on the center console hotspot if you unlocked using the keycard. I've given up on the Moto G4+ and started carrying an old iPhone 5s without a sim as a keyfob. It's small enough that I just keep in my pocket and I don't really notice it. iPhones seem to be the most reliable. It seems on the Android side you need to be on Android 8.0 to have much luck. It looks like the Moto G4 is not going to get updated to 8.0 even though it was promised.
 

skygraff

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#12
It's 2 minutes to put the car in gear if you remote start using the app. You still need to put the keycard on the center console hotspot if you unlocked using the keycard...
That is not correct.

When my phone’s Bluetooth antenna failed, I used the keycard for two days and always had 2 minutes from unlocking to put the car in gear. Even had time to put stuff in the trunk or set up nevigation before driving.
 

@gravityrydr

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#13
That is not correct.

When my phone’s Bluetooth antenna failed, I used the keycard for two days and always had 2 minutes from unlocking to put the car in gear. Even had time to put stuff in the trunk or set up nevigation before driving.
I was going by what the FAQ videos showed, but I see in the manual it states you have two minutes.
 
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#14
I finally got my phone (one of them) to work as the key 100% of the time. I was using a Samsung S7Edge, and I tried changing the settings so the Tesla app doesn't go to sleep. I also tried doing the same with some Bluetooth "apps." It still did not work reliably. Almost every time, I had to take the phone out of my pocket, unlock it, open the Tesla app, and wait until it showed "Updated just now" on the bottom of the screen.

I fixed it by switching to my Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact. I went into the settings, Battery, menu control, Power-saving exemptions, and added the Tesla app and the Bluetooth service to the exemptions. Now it works every time, even if I do not have the Tesla app opened.

Granted, this will drain the battery more, which would have been a problem with the Samsung, but the battery on my Sony was lasting multiple days, so I can stand a little battery drain.
 

LucyferSam

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#15
I finally got my phone (one of them) to work as the key 100% of the time. I was using a Samsung S7Edge, and I tried changing the settings so the Tesla app doesn't go to sleep. I also tried doing the same with some Bluetooth "apps." It still did not work reliably. Almost every time, I had to take the phone out of my pocket, unlock it, open the Tesla app, and wait until it showed "Updated just now" on the bottom of the screen.

I fixed it by switching to my Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact. I went into the settings, Battery, menu control, Power-saving exemptions, and added the Tesla app and the Bluetooth service to the exemptions. Now it works every time, even if I do not have the Tesla app opened.

Granted, this will drain the battery more, which would have been a problem with the Samsung, but the battery on my Sony was lasting multiple days, so I can stand a little battery drain.
Exempting the Tesla App from Power-saving seems to be the critical one, and on some phones Bluetooth at large. If you can get away with just exempting the Tesla App, the change in battery use is not noticeable (at least not by me, my Pixel 2 still has plenty of charge at the end of the day). Not sure what effect exempting bluetooth in general has, as I didn't need to exempt it to get 100% reliability. Does the S7 not give you the option to exempt things from battery optimization?
 
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#16
Exempting the Tesla App from Power-saving seems to be the critical one, and on some phones Bluetooth at large. If you can get away with just exempting the Tesla App, the change in battery use is not noticeable (at least not by me, my Pixel 2 still has plenty of charge at the end of the day). Not sure what effect exempting bluetooth in general has, as I didn't need to exempt it to get 100% reliability. Does the S7 not give you the option to exempt things from battery optimization?
The Samsung S7 had a way to exempt an app in the settings, but it was not as straight-forward as the Sony, and it did not work for me. The phone-as-key is supposed to work without the app being opened, so in order to get it to work the way it was designed, exempting the app should not be the fix. I don't think the app has anything to do with it (other than the initial setup) unless you're using the lock/unlock button in the app to unlock your car. I believe the phone-as-key component is inserted into the Bluetooth stack so the app does not have to be opened.

Many people are using Tasker as a work-around to keep Bluetooth active. You can either use Tasker to toggle Bluetooth off/on periodically or you can tell your phone to never turn Bluetooth off.
 

LucyferSam

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#17
The Samsung S7 had a way to exempt an app in the settings, but it was not as straight-forward as the Sony, and it did not work for me. The phone-as-key is supposed to work without the app being opened, so in order to get it to work the way it was designed, exempting the app should not be the fix. I don't think the app has anything to do with it (other than the initial setup) unless you're using the lock/unlock button in the app to unlock your car. I believe the phone-as-key component is inserted into the Bluetooth stack so the app does not have to be opened.

Many people are using Tasker as a work-around to keep Bluetooth active. You can either use Tasker to toggle Bluetooth off/on periodically or you can tell your phone to never turn Bluetooth off.
The app absolutely has to be running for the phone as key to work, it's just running in the background. It is required to provide the security handshake at the very least to open or start the car. The bluetooth interaction with apps on the Samsung may be more restrictive than in base Android as I only needed to remove the Tesla app from optimization to go from ~90% reliability to 100%, bluetooth is still set to battery optimization. Interesting amount of variability across Android implementations.
 

GDN

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#18
Here is an observation from an iPhone. It may have no correlation but may have some insight. You say that phone as key should work without the app being opened. That may be true for Android but not in the case of my iphone. We also probably need to defined “open”. As long as I don’t force close my app and it is really running in the background I am ok. This is what happens though if I force close my app and it is not running at all on the iPhone, when I close it, it also shuts down the Bluetooth connections to the car. I can go into my Bluetooth settings with the app open and see 4 connections to the car. If I force close the app those all drop. They remain if I just have a different active app and Tesla is running in the background. I think you have to keep the app active.
 

edgar_T

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#20
Here is an observation from an iPhone. It may have no correlation but may have some insight. You say that phone as key should work without the app being opened. That may be true for Android but not in the case of my iphone. We also probably need to defined “open”. As long as I don’t force close my app and it is really running in the background I am ok. This is what happens though if I force close my app and it is not running at all on the iPhone, when I close it, it also shuts down the Bluetooth connections to the car. I can go into my Bluetooth settings with the app open and see 4 connections to the car. If I force close the app those all drop. They remain if I just have a different active app and Tesla is running in the background. I think you have to keep the app active.
Yeah it's working as intended. There's no reason to force close apps unless they're unresponsive. iOS has great memory and power management. Bluetooth LE will wake up the app that's running in the background when it detects your car.