Improve Auto Unlock

My bridge is about 3 ft away and when I set it up it said the BT link to the lock was only so-so and that I should move it closer… so I think the bridge to lock BT is not well implemented, since my phone has a good BT connectivity to the lock from much further away.

You can test the BtoL BT by turning off your BT on your phone and try locking and unlocking your lock with your phone. If it doesn’t obey consistantly then you know that link is flaky.

I will let you know if my autounlock fades away as you’ve described.

When I leave home, I get the notification that I have left.

When I get back into the home geofence, I get the notification that I am “back” and the lock will unlock when I approach it.

When I approach the lock from leaving home and returning, I see the LED ring turn Blue on the lock.
I open Settings->BlueTooth and see U-Lock is “Connected”

But Nothing Happens. I have to unlock it with my finger print.

Sometimes it will autounlock a minute later. After I have entered the house and re-locked it manually.

I do not have “Auto-Lock” enabled.

I feel I am missing something so simple and going mad.

@WilliamChong Any updates?

Can you try disconnecting the WiFi the next time you return home? I’ve been testing with one of the beta apps with an iphone 15 and it’s been working pretty good. I do however have the WiFi not connected to my work and it seems to be very reliable. When I connect to the WiFi, not as reliable. Make sure Bluetooth is on though. Maybe you guys can help with this testing and post your findings. It’s almost as if the Bluetooth and WiFi are fighting for the job and both become useless.

William - Can you explain the logic flow for AutoUnlock? I see two possible approaches.
#1 When the phone sees you leave and re-enter the geofence it is “primed” to use Bluetooth to unlock the lock. Once the BT connection is established (when you reach home), it uses that channel to send the unlock command.
#2 When the phone sees you leave and re-enter the geofence, it communicates with the lock over the cell network to tell the lock to unlock when a BT link is established with that particular phone. Once the BT connection is established with that phone (when you reach home), the lock unlocks.

Of course, there could be other logic flows.

I hope 1) is how it works, since it would be totally contained within the app, making any patches or upgrades simple and not requiring capability that the app and lock already have (that is, the phone can already use BT to open the lock “manually”, so autounlock is just tapping the icon for you). It is also less complicated; 2) requires the lock to recognize with which phone it is in BT communication (otherwise the lock would unlock when an at-home phone got close enough to make the BT connection.

Another, related question. Can a lock be BT connected to more than one phone at a time?

I did one test today. I turned off WiFi prior to leaving the house. Everything worked as expected. It has not worked that flawlessly in a very long time. I know it it is only one test. But I will continue to test more. But since today is a holiday here. I do not expect many more attempts in the next few days. I will keep you posted.

So over the long holiday weekend, I was able to do many more tests. Only one worked.

Failed: Went for walk with iPhone (WiFi OFF) and AirPods connected listening to music.
Failed 3 or 4 times: Drove my car . iPhone (WiFi OFF) BlueTooth connected to car (Did not use)
Failed: Wife and I both left and returned in her car. My iPhone (WiFi OFF) not bluetooth connected. Wife’s iPhone (WiFi ON Bluetooth connected to car not used)
Success: I drove Wife’s car, She did not come with me. My iPhone (WiFi ON, not bluetooth connected to car) and Wife not home.

This week I am going to try unplugging the WiFi bridge and see what the results are. Will Post

If you go into the Auto Unlock menu in the Settings, leaving the Geofence will trigger the app to Away mode. It’s adjustable in some apps from 300 to 1000 meters. So I think number 1 is out. 2 is what I think it does. Yes, I assume having two phones setup with Auto Unlock with the same lock would confuse it. Lets say one user stays home and one user leaves. I’ve never tried that. I’m going to ask around and see what answers I can get.

I’ll ask for more info regarding 2 or more users on one lock. However, if your phone is connected to the car I wonder if it will affect the phone Bluetooth signaling the lock when you return to the lock. Don’t unplug the WiFi Bridge, WiFi is necessary for Auto Unlock. Please try disabling you or your wife’s Auto Unlock and disable the connection of the selected phone to the car. That should give the best chance of success. If that is good, then you can try adding your wife to auto unlock again to see if that affects it. Thank you.

Hi William - I’m glad to hear that #2 is (most likely) how it’s designed since it would not make a lot of sense to make the lock itself “remember” that you have left the geofence and have now re-entered it.

You wrote: Yes, I assume having two phones setup with Auto Unlock with the same lock would confuse it. Lets say one user stays home and one user leaves. I’ve never tried that.

Actually, that wasn’t my question… and you can have two phones setup with Auto Unlock and it will work (see exception below). My wife and I both have AU set up and when I’m already home and she comes home it works. After all, it is the app just sending the unlock command (over BT? or at least once there is a BT handshake) automatically instead of waiting for a human to click the lock icon.

The exception actually goes to my question about 2 devices connecting (simultaneously) over BT with the one lock. I did a little test and confirmed that only one phone can be in BT communication with the lock at any one time. Thus, IF I had the app open on my phone while waiting for my wife to come home, her phone, no matter how close she came to the lock, could not get a BT handshake and thus not be able to transmit the unlock command to autounlock.

Hi William - based on your most recent answers to Bennett2 and me, I think I understand what Bennett may be experiencing. I believe you have said that AutoUnlock uses a BT handshake to trigger the unlock command but it uses the WiFi channel to transmit the actual unlock command.

If that is true, then Bennett2’s experiments make perfect sense: the 3 “failed cases” each entail either “no WiFi” or “yes WiFi” but the phone’s BT occupied (and thus not able to handshake with the lock). The one successful case has WiFi on AND unoccupied BT.

As I mentioned before, my wife and I have not had any problems with both of us using AutoUnlock, whether we are together in the car or whether one of us is home while the other is coming home. And we virtually never have our phones connected to our cars’ BT but we do have WiFi enabled.

In case you are wondering… I’m tracking this thread to help my neighbor who has AU problems.

Thomas - I’ve been watching Bennett2’s and William’s conversation is this thread and I think I know your problem. In order for AU to operate properly your phone has to be able to make a BT handshake with your lock when you arrive home AND it has to use your lock’s WiFi channel to tell the lock to unlock. I believe devices cannot have a BT connection/handshake with more one device at a time, so if you arrive home with your phone connected via bluetooth to some other device, your handshake with lock will not happen, at least not until the other device is dropped. Similarly, if someone else has a BT handshake with the lock, your phone can’t connect. The second person could be a someone in the car with you (who does NOT have AU enabled) or the second person could be inside your house with the app open.

The autounlock feature is strictly within the app. Your phone’s GPS tells the app when you’ve left and reentered the geofence. when the phone then makes a BT handshake with the lock, it transmits an unlock command using the WiFi channel.

Interestingly, for those of us using the bridge, that unlock command over the BT channel actually reaches the lock via BT, which, if I understand this all, means your phone, having seen the BT handshake, has to drop the BT connection to the lock so the WiFi command can pass through the bridge and reach the lock via BT.

Anyway, maybe you can try an experiment or two where there is only one phone with the app powered up, with BT and cellular data and WiFi enabled, leaving and entering the geofence.

Well guys. Here is my latest update. And these results are with the Bridge being unplugged.

Success: Left geofence with WiFi off and no bluetooth devices.
Failed: Left GeoFence and returned with WiFi ON and BlueTooth connected to AirPods.

So this proves the bridge is not needed for Auto-Unlock.

@Bruce4 What device are you and your wife using? Both iPhones? Which ones?

My wife and I have had this issue happening on iPhones 14 and 15. Maybe on iPhone 13 too. And yes it used to work perfectly. No matter if one was home and one returned. Or if we both returned at the same time.

Interesting, way beyond my IT intellect. I do wear a Garmin Fitness watch, connected continuosly w/ my ph via bluetooth.
However, I always wear it, during the occasional operation of AU, and certainly otherwise.
It worked out of the blue again last week for a cpl days…lol

@WilliamChong @Bruce4

Guys I think it is an issue with my WiFi Bridge. I have two UltraLoq’s. Both came with WiFi Bridges. The bridge for the front door (Not the door we use) failed a few months ago. Just threw it away. Have not replaced it as we never use this door.

The Kitchen door has the other UltraLoq and “working” WiFi Bridge. I use working lightly. As when I use the app to try to lock or unlock the door, it HANGS. Just stuck at “Unlocking” or “Locking” until some time out happens. Then reverts to the previous lock state. And Connects via BlueTooth and then I can unlock or lock.

Here are my tests. My wife is out of town. So it is just me.

WiFi bridge unplugged Wife out of town
Success: walk WiFi off no Bluetooth audio
Fail: walk WiFi on Bluetooth to AirPods used
Success: drive home. Automation WiFi off
Success: drive home. Automation WiFi off

Bridge back on. Wife out of town
Fail: drive home. Automation WiFi off
Fail: drive home. Automation WiFi off

Removed bridge. Wife out of town
Success: walk WiFi off no Bluetooth audio

I see a pattern here.

Bridge plugged in == FAIL
Bridge unplugged == SUCCESS (and no other BlueTooth audio device connected)

I have not had any success in the past year this consistent as I have had with the bridge unplugged.

I have also set up Apple Automation to turn off WiFi when I leave the house. And when I return it waits 90 seconds before it turns it back on. But even with that automation it did not help with the Bridge plugged in.


What this tells me is that the app is “smart enough” to send the unlock command over the direct phone-to-lock BT connection, presumably (based on previous parts of this thread) as a less preferred channel than the WiFi bridge-to-lock channel. The direct BT connection is the only one remaining when the bridge is disconnected.

Clarification please: when you say Apple Automation turns off WiFi, what exactly is it turning off? Are you shutting down all the WiFi in your house or toggling the WiFi settings in the app? (Obviously, I don’t use Apple Automation or any similar system).

Assuming there is no WiFi in your house when it is “off”, then the only difference between bridge plugged in and bridge NOT plugged in would be that the bridge is getting the lock’s BT attention, preventing your phone from talking to the lock over that channel.

Here’s a little test for you to perform. Open the app, select your lock, click the gear (settings), at the bottom of the settings list select bridge, and you should see the status and strength of WiFi, BLE strength, and Server Status.

Then, close the app, turn off Wifi, and recheck the bridge settings.

Finally, close the app, unplug the bridge, and recheck again.

You’re going to love this… Based on your experience I unplugged my bridge, put my phone on airplane mode (but turned BT back on) and turned cellular data off in the app settings on my phone.

When I reentered the geofence and walked up my driveway, the blue “lock” indicator blinked and, of course, the lock did not unlock.

I then restored everything to it’s original configuration… but next return it still did not unlock!!

I have just rebooted my phone and double checked all the settings. If need be I’ll do a factory reset, reinstall the app, and see what happens.

I reviewed all the settings, don’t believe I needed to change anything, did the reboot (AKA restart) of my phone, and happily it is working again. BTW, my wife’s autounlock never stopped working.

BTW, I apparently didn’t “reply” to you yesterday - just posted a couple of comments that were in reply to your successful experiments. If you didn’t see them, please scroll up.