Can the distance of the phone app's unlock be tuned?

  • Please post everything related to v9 (2018.39.x) into the version 9 MEGATHREAD. Please do your part to keep this site organized for everyone by looking around or doing a search BEFORE posting. Thanks

  • Winter is here and the forum is starting to get flooded with cold weather threads and posts. Please heed the suggested threads and posts before you post something related to cold weather. This is a great place to start: https://model3ownersclub.com/threads/teslas-in-cold-weather.5271
  • It's OK to discuss software issues here but please report bugs to Tesla directly at servicehelpna@teslamotors.com if you want things fixed.

coredumperror

Active Member
Joined
Mar 23, 2018
Messages
138
Location
CA
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#1
I just got my 3 a few hours ago, and unfortunately, my fears were realized once I finally got home. I live in a condo that is directly above my carport, so when my phone is sitting in most places in my house (anywhere in the kitchen, or living room, or bathroom), it's close enough to my car that the app unlocks my doors. I obviously can't leave the app enabled as a key if simply walking into my living room with my phone in my pocket unlocks the doors of my car.

So, does anyone know if the auto-unlock distance can be tuned in any way? Is there a way to configure the app so it never automatically unlocks, only unlocking the door when I click the lock/unlock button? I've got the keycard in my wallet, and I'll apparently need to use it until/unless I can get the app distance issues resolved.

Speaking of the keycard, will the car automatically lock when you get out if you're using the card? I don't think it does, but maybe that's a config option?
 

LUXMAN

Legendary Member
M3OC Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2016
Messages
2,610
Location
Lantana, Texas
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#2
I just got my 3 a few hours ago, and unfortunately, my fears were realized once I finally got home. I live in a condo that is directly above my carport, so when my phone is sitting in most places in my house (anywhere in the kitchen, or living room, or bathroom), it's close enough to my car that the app unlocks my doors. I obviously can't leave the app enabled as a key if simply walking into my living room with my phone in my pocket unlocks the doors of my car.

So, does anyone know if the auto-unlock distance can be tuned in any way? Is there a way to configure the app so it never automatically unlocks, only unlocking the door when I click the lock/unlock button? I've got the keycard in my wallet, and I'll apparently need to use it until/unless I can get the app distance issues resolved.

Speaking of the keycard, will the car automatically lock when you get out if you're using the card? I don't think it does, but maybe that's a config option?
Well, one choice is to turn off the BT when you get home. The doors will lock and then walk-up unlock wont work in the house. Then as you leave turn the BT on and the they will unlock. Pain in the … I know cuz you have to do it every time.

But there is no distance setting available (yet). So you may have to go the card route if you don't want to do the BT dance.

If you turn off the auto-lock features and use the card, you will have to use it all the time. The card will need to be used to lock the car as well. Sorry, I know you are hoping for a fix, but I don't see one here. The car will appear locked but if you are close enough then the doors will open if someone try's the handle.

That all said. I am in my office right now and my phone is here. The car is on the other side of the wall. I just went out there and could not get into the car at maybe 7 feet away. So have you tested trying to get in the car with the phone in the condo? Maybe place it at the nearest location to the car and go out and see if it opens,
 

SoFlaModel3

@Teslatunity
Moderator
M3OC Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2017
Messages
8,851
Location
Florida
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#3
I just got my 3 a few hours ago, and unfortunately, my fears were realized once I finally got home. I live in a condo that is directly above my carport, so when my phone is sitting in most places in my house (anywhere in the kitchen, or living room, or bathroom), it's close enough to my car that the app unlocks my doors. I obviously can't leave the app enabled as a key if simply walking into my living room with my phone in my pocket unlocks the doors of my car.

So, does anyone know if the auto-unlock distance can be tuned in any way? Is there a way to configure the app so it never automatically unlocks, only unlocking the door when I click the lock/unlock button? I've got the keycard in my wallet, and I'll apparently need to use it until/unless I can get the app distance issues resolved.

Speaking of the keycard, will the car automatically lock when you get out if you're using the card? I don't think it does, but maybe that's a config option?
The app will say “connected” for phone key if you’re somewhat near the car, but in my experience unless you are incredibly close the doors won’t actually open. Have you confirmed that the doors truly unlock versus just seeing the phone key is connected?
 

coredumperror

Active Member
Joined
Mar 23, 2018
Messages
138
Location
CA
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#4
Yes, I've confirmed that the doors will open if I leave my phone in my condo and walk down the stairs to the carport. I didn't even leave it directly above the car, but rather 5 or 10 feet away (in the kitchen), and the doors would still remain unlocked.

I did confirm that the car will lock and stay locked when I walk away to pick up my mail, but unfortunately, I park directly next to the stairs that go up to my condo (and I can't change that), and going up those stairs brings me close enough for the phone to unlock it. So there doesn't appear to be any way to avoid having the car unlock itself whenever I enter my condo. :(

Fortunately, I did manage to get the keycard situated in my wallet such that I only have to swipe my wallet on the B pillar to make it lock/unlock. So it's not *too* bad. But it's definitely frustrating that I won't be able to use one of the coolest features of the car.

I'm going to a Tesla Owner's Workshop tonight at the delivery center, so I'll definitely be asking them what I might be able to do about this.
 

LUXMAN

Legendary Member
M3OC Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2016
Messages
2,610
Location
Lantana, Texas
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#5
Well I hope they can think of something. But that is strange as I cant even leave my phone on the other side of the wall and retrieve something from the car. I always have to have my phone with me.
 

coredumperror

Active Member
Joined
Mar 23, 2018
Messages
138
Location
CA
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#6
Does your phone connect to your car's Bluetooth system at all while it's on the other side of the wall? I realize this'll be hard to check, but you could do it by using the keycard to get into the car while your phone is in the office.

I ask because it may be that you have a Bluetooth-impermeable wall, while I don't. I've known for a while, from my previous car, that if I leave my phone in my condo, my Prius would still connect to its Bluetooth and auto-play music until I drive out of the driveway.
 

LUXMAN

Legendary Member
M3OC Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2016
Messages
2,610
Location
Lantana, Texas
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#7
I just checked. I had my phone on the desk. I went to the car and it would not open. I used the card to get in. I was able to make a BT call.
So it is connected but not for the locks. So somehow that portion is distance limited.
It is a regular frame house. The wall is a regular wall to a garage with drywall on both sides with blanket insulation in between.
 

coredumperror

Active Member
Joined
Mar 23, 2018
Messages
138
Location
CA
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#8
Huh, that does give me a lot of hope that something can be done about this. I'll definitely be grilling the Tesla folks at the workshop tonight.
 

raptor

Active Member
Joined
May 5, 2018
Messages
84
Location
kroY weN
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#9
If you're running Android, you could in theory address this with Tasker or AutoMagic and an NFC sticker (when you tap the sticker, it activates a task).

Some triggers I can think of:

Bluetooth OFF:
  • Turn bluetooth off when your home network becomes invisible.
  • Turn bluetooth off when disconnected from the vehicle.
Bluetooth ON:
  • Turn bluetooth on when you tap an NFC sticker with your phone.
  • Turn bluetooth on when you shake your phone.
  • Turn bluetooth on when you turn the screen on/off $x times.
I wonder if you could build some type of faraday cage which only blocks 2.4 GHz (or enough to weaken BT, while still allowing the phone to work), but that's far from ideal.
 

coredumperror

Active Member
Joined
Mar 23, 2018
Messages
138
Location
CA
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#10
Sounds pretty interesting, but sadly, I have an iPhone. heh

Frustratingly enough, iPhones have a really easy "quick disable" for Bluetooth. But iOS 11 converted it from "turn off Bluetooth until I turn it back on" to "Turn off Bluetooth for a little while, then turn it back on, because people are stupid and forget they turned off Bluetooth, then call Apple and complain that their phone is broken". And there's NO OPTION to disable that nannying bullshit. The only way to truly disable Bluetooth is unlock the phone, go to Settings -> Bluetooth and disable it from there. Wayyyy too inconvenient to do every single time I park my car at home, since I obviously don't want my car to suddenly unlock some indeterminate time after I get home.

So far, using the keycard is really not that bad. Mildly annoying since it sometimes doesn't detect on the first try, and I have to flail my wallet around a few times to get it to detect. Bit it's usually pretty good.

I did speak to a Tesla rep at the Owner's Workshop today, though, and he said that a Service Center might be able to help. Since I'm also having severe issues with power efficiency, I may end up scheduling an appointment sooner rather than later.
 

LUXMAN

Legendary Member
M3OC Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2016
Messages
2,610
Location
Lantana, Texas
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#11
Sounds pretty interesting, but sadly, I have an iPhone. heh

Frustratingly enough, iPhones have a really easy "quick disable" for Bluetooth. But iOS 11 converted it from "turn off Bluetooth until I turn it back on" to "Turn off Bluetooth for a little while, then turn it back on, because people are stupid and forget they turned off Bluetooth, then call Apple and complain that their phone is broken". And there's NO OPTION to disable that nannying bullshit. The only way to truly disable Bluetooth is unlock the phone, go to Settings -> Bluetooth and disable it from there. Wayyyy too inconvenient to do every single time I park my car at home, since I obviously don't want my car to suddenly unlock some indeterminate time after I get home.

So far, using the keycard is really not that bad. Mildly annoying since it sometimes doesn't detect on the first try, and I have to flail my wallet around a few times to get it to detect. Bit it's usually pretty good.

I did speak to a Tesla rep at the Owner's Workshop today, though, and he said that a Service Center might be able to help. Since I'm also having severe issues with power efficiency, I may end up scheduling an appointment sooner rather than later.
I agree, that BT BS is really annoying. I have to put it in Airplane mode all the time and I want to leave the BT and WiFi off but they still come on every time I toggle that on and off :mad:

I would be interested to hear what the SC says about it.
 
Joined
Apr 16, 2018
Messages
22
Location
Calgary
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#12
You could use an app on your phone like IFTTT to turn your Bluetooth off when you connect to a specific wifi. (but then that may complicate the doors locking)
 

KFORE

Active Member
Joined
May 19, 2018
Messages
39
Location
Detroit, MI
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#13
This is easily solved on Android (as mentioned above) if you were to ever consider switching phone OSs. If not, I hope Tesla makes this configurable or can help you out!

It's situations like this where Tesla really should provide a key fob for folks who want/need it.
 

coredumperror

Active Member
Joined
Mar 23, 2018
Messages
138
Location
CA
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#14
Well, to be fair, the keycards are working wonderfully. Especially now that I finally figured out the correct place to tap my key card-filled wallet (a few inches below the side camera on that pillar), the experience has been basically identical to using keys. I'd love to have the even better convenience of using my phone, but I'm fairly happy with the keycards.
 

coredumperror

Active Member
Joined
Mar 23, 2018
Messages
138
Location
CA
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#15
In case anyone's still interested, I did some more testing, and I think I've found the ultimate reason for my problem, and the reason that @LUXMAN isn't having the same issue.

When I'm on the other side of carport wall, with phone key enabled, the car locks. Just like how it stays locked for Lux when he's in his office. I got within barely 3 feet of the car with my phone, and it didn't unlock. I also confirmed that it locks as soon as I bring my phone to the far side of my kitchen.

However, leaving my phone anywhere in my living room or the close side of my kitchen does cause the car to unlock. That means the places that it unlocks my car are those directly above and within a few feet of the vehicle.

This makes me think that the unlock may be based on 2D proximity, and doesn't take 3D height into account. Possibly because it can't? I'm not sure. It's also possible that the exterior wall of my carport is made of something with less radio permittivity than my carport roof / living room floor.

I emailed my local service center about this, and they said to call Tesla's Tech Support line. I'll be doing that as soon as I get a chance to actually park my car in my carport again. My HOA is having a team slurry-seal the alley that leads to the carports of every house on my block, and we're all forced to park on the street until Wednesday. It's not fun, lol.
 

LUXMAN

Legendary Member
M3OC Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2016
Messages
2,610
Location
Lantana, Texas
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#16
In case anyone's still interested, I did some more testing, and I think I've found the ultimate reason for my problem, and the reason that @LUXMAN isn't having the same issue.

When I'm on the other side of carport wall, with phone key enabled, the car locks. Just like how it stays locked for Lux when he's in his office. I got within barely 3 feet of the car with my phone, and it didn't unlock. I also confirmed that it locks as soon as I bring my phone to the far side of my kitchen.

However, leaving my phone anywhere in my living room or the close side of my kitchen does cause the car to unlock. That means the places that it unlocks my car are those directly above and within a few feet of the vehicle.

This makes me think that the unlock may be based on 2D proximity, and doesn't take 3D height into account. Possibly because it can't? I'm not sure. It's also possible that the exterior wall of my carport is made of something with less radio permittivity than my carport roof / living room floor.

I emailed my local service center about this, and they said to call Tesla's Tech Support line. I'll be doing that as soon as I get a chance to actually park my car in my carport again. My HOA is having a team slurry-seal the alley that leads to the carports of every house on my block, and we're all forced to park on the street until Wednesday. It's not fun, lol.
That is quite interesting. I would like to hear what they have to say. I have seen a picture of the front of the 3 without the front bumper and it was indicated by there that the BT receiver was up front. So I wouldn’t think height would make a difference since they they would need to make a bubble around the car to allow a rear approach.
 

Chris350

Active Member
Joined
Aug 8, 2017
Messages
89
Location
Jupiter, FL
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#17
Let me add a little to the mix..... I can walk up to the door and it won't unlock..... In some cases, waiting 10 seconds and then trying the door again and it unlocks fine.... So, there is a delay for some reason...... Now.... while the car is locked, in every case, I can walk directly to the truck and it will unlock everytime I have the phone.... Immediately.... everytime..... If I lock the car and leave the phone in the house.... Trunk stays locked.... Get the phone and walk directly to the trunk... it opens (using the manual trunk unlock on the car)... Not sure why the trunk works everytime, but I get a delay at the driver side door...
 

RIP_OPEC

Active Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2018
Messages
78
Location
Arizona
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#18
Let me add a little to the mix..... I can walk up to the door and it won't unlock..... In some cases, waiting 10 seconds and then trying the door again and it unlocks fine.... So, there is a delay for some reason...... Now.... while the car is locked, in every case, I can walk directly to the truck and it will unlock everytime I have the phone.... Immediately.... everytime..... If I lock the car and leave the phone in the house.... Trunk stays locked.... Get the phone and walk directly to the trunk... it opens (using the manual trunk unlock on the car)... Not sure why the trunk works everytime, but I get a delay at the driver side door...
Are you on Android? As long as the Tesla app is running in the background on my iPhone, it will automatically unlock the door 100% of the time for me.
 

scaots

Tesla Pilot, Owner, and Shareholder
Joined
Sep 12, 2017
Messages
333
Location
PA
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#20
Does the phone app actually show unlocked when you are in range? In my house I am right above the car and it the app still shows locked icon? If that indicator is misleading I think it really needs to be fixed.