How to Connect Your Phone to Tesla Model 3 (iPhone & Android)

By Nicki Schill •  Updated: 07/17/21 •  10 min read

New owner? Don’t know how to connect your phone to Tesla Model 3 or set it up as a key for keyless entry?

Well, in this comprehensive guide, I’ll give you a step-by-step process for connecting your phone, whether iPhone or Android, to your Tesla Model 3 — and setting it up as a phone key.

We’ll also discuss five reasons why your phone might not be connecting to your car and their solutions.

If that sounds interesting, let’s hop into it.

How to Connect Your Phone to Tesla Model 3 via Bluetooth

Here’s the two-step procedure for connecting your phone to your Tesla Model 3:

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.

How to Connect Phone to Tesla Model 3: Finding the Bluetooth Icon

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 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 the Now You Know YouTube channel walks you through setting up a new device and syncing back to an existing phone should you get disconnected:

Quick tutorial!

A phone mount comes in very handy if you’re setting your phone up on the road.

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 your phone (like Samsung Galaxy).

If your phone is successfully found, a big blue button appears that says “CONNECT.”

Once you click that, you’ll be able to sync “Contacts and Recent Calls” by clicking 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, you can simply turn this feature off.

So there you have it: a simple two-step process to get your phone up and running in your vehicle.

It’s really about the convenience of connecting your phone.

How to Setup Your Tesla Model 3 Phone Key for Keyless Entry

One of the greatest conveniences of setting up a phone key 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!

Here are the step-by-step instructions to connect your phone to your Tesla Model 3 in 10 easy steps.

how to connect phone to tesla model 3
Credit to Malte Helmhold

Pretty straightforward, isn’t it?

How to Remove a Phone Key from the Tesla Model 3 System

It’s super easy too. Here is what you need to do:

  1. On your touchscreen, tap “Locks.”
  2. Find the “Garbage” symbol in front of the phone you want to remove.
  3. Tap your key card on the center console to complete the removal procedure.

And it’s done.

How to Add a Second Phone to Tesla Model 3

Why would you want to add a second phone to your car anyway? Well, what if you misplaced your first phone? Or what if you and your wife both drive the car, and she’d also like keyless entry to your car through her phone?

Luckily, Tesla allows up to three phone connections. Here is what you need to do to add a second phone to your Tesla Model 3 system:

  1. Turn off the Bluetooth of the first phone and make sure it’s away from the car.
  2. Sit inside your car, turn on the Bluetooth of your second phone, tap the phone key setup on your touchscreen, and wait for the car to pick up the Bluetooth signal.
  3. Now pair the second phone, and once it shows “Successfully Paired,” click “Done.”
  4. Your second phone has been added, and now your car will unlock automatically through both phone keys.

Perks to Enjoy After Connecting Your Phone to Your Model 3

This is what you can do with your phone after connecting it to your Tesla Model 3:

  1. Locate your car on the map
  2. Monitor the speed limit
  3. Control the vehicle’s temperature
  4. Control the defrost settings
  5. Lock and unlock your car remotely
  6. View your vehicle’s odometer
  7. Control your car’s windows remotely
  8. Monitor your car’s range
  9. Synchronize your car’s calendar with your phone
  10. Blow the horn remotely to locate your parked vehicle
  11. Monitor your vehicle’s charging conditions
  12. Control your garage door opener
  13. Get security alerts
  14. Turn keyless driving on if you lose your key fob
  15. Access Tesla inbox

Phone Not Connecting to Tesla Model 3? This May Be the Reason…

Below are the five reasons why your phone might not be connecting to your electric vehicle. Let’s discuss each.

1. Your Bluetooth Connection Is Off

It’s the obvious thing, and you might have checked it already. But it wouldn’t hurt to check twice. You know, just to be sure…

2. You’ve Been Logged Out of Your Tesla Mobile App

If your Bluetooth is on, the next step in your troubleshooting process is to check if you haven’t gotten locked out of your Tesla mobile app.

If you have, log back in and it’ll solve the issue.

3. Your Tesla Mobile App Isn’t Running in Background

Now this is the most common reason why most Tesla Model 3 owners couldn’t connect their phone or couldn’t keep it connected to their cars.

This is your phone’s fault, not Tesla’s. 

Just unlock your phone and open the Tesla app. Typically, it’ll solve the issue instantly, but to make sure this doesn’t happen again, check if you’ve disabled the “Run in Background” permission for your Tesla app through your phone’s app settings.

If it’s disabled, enable it and you won’t have this issue again.

4. You Need to Reinstall Your Tesla Mobile App

Nothing worked still? Then you’ll have to uninstall your Tesla mobile app and download it again. It should solve the issue.

5. You Need to Reboot Your Tesla Model 3

Nope? This is the last resort then! Reboot your Tesla Model 3. It’s not hard though. Here is what you need to do to reboot your car:

  1. Put your car in “Park.”
  2. Press the “Brake” pedal. Don’t remove the pressure just yet.
  3. Press both the scroll wheels on your steering wheel for 10 seconds.
  4. You’ll see your center screen rebooting.
  5. Once the screen restarts, you can remove the pressure from the brake pedal.
  6. It’s done.

Now your phone should connect to your Tesla.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Bluetooth pairing process the same for an iPhone and 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 tapping the microphone button on your touchscreen or 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 interfere with your phone’s Bluetooth 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 on 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 it might have 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 the issue.

Final Thoughts: How to Connect Your Phone to Tesla Model 3

Wasn’t it pretty straightforward? 

All you need to do is turn on the Bluetooth on your phone, pair it to your Model 3’s touchscreen, and hit “Done!”

That’s it.

Enjoy keyless driving and all the other perks I shared above. (Missed them? Go up and read ‘em!)

Nicki Schill

Nicki Schill is a writer and content marketer out of Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. As the former Geotab Marketing Manager, she’s got loads of experience in electric vehicles and fleet electrification. She’s a tech blogger and marketing guru who enjoys all things Canadian like hockey and poutine.

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