Improved Phone Key Sensitivity: Bug or Feature?

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Joined
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#1
When Tesla announced the Model 3 fob I wondered, "Why TF do you need a fob? Just use your phone to unlock the car automatically."

I may have learned why a fob might be preferred.

My home office is on the ground floor, directly adjacent to my garage. That means my desk - and my iPhone - are < 10 feet from my car.

I've had my Model 3 since early September and have had no issues with this use case but in early January, my car started to continually unlock/lock. I could hear it all day long while sitting in my office.

I turned off the Phone Key option and deleted the Tesla app for a couple of hours and it conitnued to happen - so I reported it as a bug/service issue.

This past Monday after being completely fed up with the situation and no resolution from Tesla, I deleted the app for three days.

It finally stopped on the morning of the second day. (~18 hours after I deleted the app.)

Since I've not heard further from Tesla on this issue, I'm working on the assumption that it is my phone key and not a bug.

I don't know if it was a software update that made the car more sensitive to the proximity of my iPhone, or something else, but it looks like I will have to give up my passive entry and consider a fob. :(
 

Bokonon

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#2
I've had my Model 3 since early September and have had no issues with this use case but in early January, my car started to continually unlock/lock. I could hear it all day long while sitting in my office.
Wow, that's wacky... but the phone key doesn't actually lock/unlock the doors unless you press a door handle, and it won't do anything at all if the app is deleted from your phone. I think the lock/unlock issue was caused by something else entirely, though it's unclear what. It could be anything from a faulty door sensor to a web-based request to unlock your car.

Have you tried re-installing the app since the unlock/lock behavior stopped? If so, did the behavior resume after re-installing the app?

Also, to rule out third-party lock/unlock commands coming from an outside service, have you tried changing your Tesla account password?

Since I've not heard further from Tesla on this issue, I'm working on the assumption that it is my phone key and not a bug.
I wouldn't take Tesla's lack of response as confirmation that the behavior you're describing is expected. Your issue sounds very unusual and unexpected. :)

If it's still happening, call your local Service Center (or use the "Schedule Service" ability within the app) and see if they can send a Mobile Ranger out to your car to see it for themselves. If the issue is a faulty sensor, they might be able to repair it on the spot. Worst case, they'll triage the problem and have a better idea of what the next steps should be.
 
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#3
... but the phone key doesn't actually lock/unlock the doors unless you press a door handle
Tesla tells me that the doors are not actually locking/unlocking - the "contactors" are actuating. (I still don't know what that means.) This would happen if you were approaching the car with the phone key so you are correct - it's not actually unlocking the door until the handle is pushed but is related to Bluetooth/app proximity.

Have you tried re-installing the app since the unlock/lock behavior stopped? If so, did the behavior resume after re-installing the app?
I did delete both the Tesla app and third-party apps. This time around after deleting the Tesla app - but still using the third-party apps (Stats, Remote S) it has stopped.


If it's still happening, call your local Service Center (or use the "Schedule Service" ability within the app) and see if they can send a Mobile Ranger out to your car to see it for themselves.
This is a great idea since the behavior appears specific to my situation.
 

Bokonon

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#4
Tesla tells me that the doors are not actually locking/unlocking - the "contactors" are actuating. (I still don't know what that means.) This would happen if you were approaching the car with the phone key so you are correct - it's not actually unlocking the door until the handle is pushed but is related to Bluetooth/app proximity.
Ah, got it. That's *slightly* more reassuring than a full self-unlock. :)

By "contactors" I assume Tesla is referring to the high-voltage contactors, which you would hear as a "thunk-thunk" sound as they close when the car wakes up. See this thread for more information.

The contactors should not constantly be cycling open/closed while the car is parked, so it's still something that should be checked out.
 

JasonF

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#5
Tesla tells me that the doors are not actually locking/unlocking - the "contactors" are actuating. (I still don't know what that means.) This would happen if you were approaching the car with the phone key so you are correct - it's not actually unlocking the door until the handle is pushed but is related to Bluetooth/app proximity.
A third party app that queries the status of the climate control causes the contactors to close (the Tesla app does the same, only it doesn't do so in the background as far as I can tell), but only when the A/C compressor or heat is engaged. The app itself might not be what queries the climate control, though - it's often some background service on a web server, and it will keep doing it until it's denied access to your Tesla account.

FYI, the doors are able to unlock without closing the contactors at all. It looks to me that what causes them to click on when you open the door is the activation of the climate control system.
 
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#7
Have you deleted the phone as a key on your Tesla? I think that might end up being the trick here: the car is still seeing the bluetooth ID of the phone, so it's unlocking (despite the app having been deleted from the phone...the car might not necessarily know about that).

Of course, I could just be talking out of my behind. Let us know if you test it!
 

John

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#9
@gadgetboy My advice? You should have just been turning off Bluetooth from your swipe screen, not closing/deleting the app.
 

John

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#11
That was the first thing I did. This isn't my first rodeo. ;)
It's not the Tesla app's fault (we all have the app, no issues).
If Bluetooth's turned off, it's not a "phone being close" issue.
It's the other apps/services you've subscribed to.
If it's still happening, change the Tesla account password on their website, then update the password in the Tesla app, then each app individually to figure out which is doing it.
You've got a lot of apps going on.