Tesla Malfunction Locks Out Owners Who Depended on App for Entry, Forces Them to Scramble for 'Keys'

By Jennings Brown on at

Some Tesla users who rely on the app to gain entry to their Model 3 were temporarily unable to get into their electric cars yesterday.

The Next Web reported that a number of people tweeted out their frustrations on Monday when they were “locked out” of their car due to phone app issues. Downdetector, a tracker for users to report technical difficulties with web-based services, also showed that many users were having trouble with Tesla’s app.

A Tesla spokesperson confirmed to Gizmodo that Tesla’s app was temporarily unavailable on Monday but full functionality was soon restored. Tweets suggest the app was down for around three hours at least.

The company clarified that Tesla owners were still able to access their Model 3 with their physical key fob or key cards, which the company encourages owners to carry in the event that they lose their phone or it dies. Owners were also able to gain access to and start their cars through their mobile devices if they had activated the phone-as-key function, which uses Bluetooth Low Energy to connect with the car and doesn’t rely on the app.

However, Model 3 owners who don’t carry a key fob or key card, and don’t use the phone-as-key feature, and who only use the Tesla in-app lock and unlock feature that requires mobile signals will be temporarily screwed when the app fails.

To recap, before the digital age, we had keys. They were made of metal, were unique, and they worked wonderfully. Today, Tesla has four forms of entry and you need to keep up with all of them in case your preferred method encounters technical difficulties. Is that more difficult than keeping track of your keys? Not necessarily. Is it a sign that not everything needs to be disrupted? One could certainly make a good argument to that effect.

Featured image: Getty