You may take it for granted today but syncing your phone with your car is still pretty wild and very Jetsons-like.
Third-party apps that enable data gathering make the whole thing even crazier than any science fiction film 20 years ago.
Whether it’s as a Bluetooth device or as a key for your car, knowing how to connect your phone to your Tesla Model 3 brings a lot of conveniences.
Let’s navigate through the steps to set up your phone as a key first.
(Or tap here to jump to the Bluetooth setup instructions if that’s what you’re after.)
Setting Up a Phone Key in Your Model 3
If you’re a new Tesla owner, welcome to the club! (There’s no going back after your ownership experience.)
Along with your new purchase, comes a new set of learning curves about this technological marvel.
One of the greatest conveniences is the ability to walk in to find the car unlocked — and to start it by simply pressing the brakes.
No 20th-century keys.
No carrying around key cards, which many owners lose pretty easily.
Just your phone and that’s it!
But your phone needs set up as a phone key first.
Here are the step-by-step instructions to connect your phone to your Tesla Model 3 in 10 easy steps.
- Step #1: Make sure to download the Tesla app in your mobile device. Here are the respective links to the iOS and the Android version.
- Step #2: With both key card and phone handy, enter your car and wait for the infotainment screen to come up.
- Step #3: Tap the small Tesla car icon on the very left bottom corner.
- Step #4: Select the “Locks” tab from the main menu.
- Step #5: Then press the plus (+) icon to add a phone key device to your car.
- Step #6: Open up the Tesla app in your mobile device. You should have downloaded it in the first step.
- Step #7: Tap on “Phone Key” (the first menu option). Instructions to pair the phone will be detailed on the screen from then on.
- Step #8: Tap on “Start” whenever the app asks for confirmation so the vehicle’s bluetooth can start searching for your phone.
- Step #9: Place the key card on the middle of the center console as the display screen will instruct.
- Step #10: Within seconds, the vehicle will recognize the key card and your phone will become a Phone Key device. To confirm, tap back to the Locks menu: your phone’s name should be there!
Pretty straightforward, isn’t it?
How to Connect Your Phone to Tesla Model 3’s Bluetoth
Setting up your phone as a key is great… but what about Bluetooth?
With steering wheel-mounted controls, the ability to sync up your music library, and text over voice commands, your options to have fun are limitless!
But first, you need to pair your phone with your vehicle’s Bluetooth. Here are the basic steps to do just that in under 5 minutes.
Step 1: Locate and Tap the Bluetooth Logo on Your Touchscreen.
First things first, make sure your phone’s Bluetooth is turned on to make it searchable by your vehicle.
Depending on your phone, you can turn on Bluetooth pretty quickly directly from your home screen, swiping down the status bar, or navigating to the “Settings” options.
Look up in the top right corner of your Tesla touchscreen.
You’ll see the universal Bluetooth icon on the far right.
Hit that and you’ll open up the pairing screen.
#2- Find Your Phone and Pair
If you’re doing this in a new vehicle, the left-hand pane that lists out the devices should be empty.
Otherwise, you might see a list of other people’s previous phones that have connected to the vehicle.
This video from Now You Know walks you through setting up a brand new device and also syncing back to an existing phone should you get disconnected.
If you’re setting up your phone for the first time, tap the “Add New Device” button.
It might take the car some time to establish the connection and locate your phone, but after 10-20 seconds, you’ll see your phone connection pop up on the right-hand side of the pane.
Make sure you know what your phone is named (if you did name it) or it might just show up as the model or brand of phone (like Samsung Galaxy).
If your phone is successfully found, a big blue button appears that says “CONNECT.”
Once you click on that, you’ll be able to sync “Contacts and Recent Calls” by clicking on the expand icon beside the name of your phone.
This is a great feature for taking and placing calls from the car. If you’re not interested, though, you can simply leave this feature turned off.
So there you have it: a simple two-step process to getting your phone up and running in your vehicle.
It’s really about the convenience of connecting your phone.
If you’re a big music lover and want to crank your Spotify or Apple Music tunes in the vehicle, now you can right from your phone.
Plus, the steering wheel-mounted controls let you skip through songs or adjust the volume as desired.
Having Concerns About Connecting Your Phone to Model 3?
You might encounter some issues down the road using your phone in the vehicle.
I’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions when it comes to how to connect your phone to Tesla Model 3.
Scroll through and see if I answered your most burning questions. If I didn’t, feel free to comment below and I’ll do my best to help.
- Is the bluetooth pairing process the same for an iPhone vs. Android?
Yup, both Apple and Android devices should connect once Bluetooth is enabled and the car will locate them and sync up just the same.
- How does voice command work?
Once your phone is connected, you can use the voice command by touching the microphone button on your touchscreen or by pressing the right scroll button.
Then simply let your phone know who you’re trying to contact and if you want to call or send a text.
There are a lot of other voice commands you can try.
Here’s an exhaustive document that attempts to list all voice commands in case you’re curious. They also have a mobile app for easy access.
- If I set up the Phone Key with the Tesla App, will it mess up the Bluetooth connection?
No, the Tesla phone key application is a different type of Bluetooth connection and modern phones allow multiple Bluetooth connections at once.
It won’t run interference on your phone’s Bluetooth streaming connection to the car — so don’t worry.
- Can I access Bluetooth in other places on the touchscreen?
Yes, by hitting the music note button along the bottom of the touchscreen.
It will open up a new menu that has a Phone option and it will take you to the same Bluetooth connection page as Step 2.
- Can I connect my calendar to my Tesla?
Yes, once you’ve got the Tesla app also downloaded onto your phone. Enter the settings on the Tesla app and make sure you turn on the calendar.
Then from the touchscreen in the vehicle, click on Map in the menu at the bottom of the screen — and from the pop-up window, select Calendar.
Let your car remind you of that big work meeting or your Aunt Linda’s birthday coming up.
- Why did my screen go dark? Was it a Bluetooth disruption?
The dreaded black screen might not have been a result of your Bluetooth connection going down but something more to do with the actual touchscreen.
As with other screen issues, it’s recommended you perform a reboot on the vehicle.
I covered how to do one of these in another article but by holding down the scroll buttons on the steering wheel, you can usually get the screen to do a quick reset that should fix up your issue.
- Where can I find more questions and answers about my Tesla Model 3?
Tesla answers many more frequently asked questions in their Guide to New Owners.
Check it out if you find yourself uncertain about how to get the most out of your new vehicle!
Further reading: How to Reboot Your Tesla Model 3: A Definitive Gude
How to Connect Phone to Tesla Model 3: Final Thoughts
It’s fairly straightforward to get your phone up and running in the car.
Now you’re all set to lock and start your vehicle, play music from your phone, take calls, and even connect your phone’s calendar — so you’re not late for any appointments.