How to update your Tesla?

One of the strengths of Tesla vehicles is that they can be updated remotely, either to fix bugs or to bring new features. But how do you update your Tesla? What are the prerequisites and the different types of updates possible? Let’s see it all together.

Tesla Model 3

Source: Anthony Wonner – Frandroid

In the same way as our smartphones, game consoles or robot vacuum cleaner, our cars will be able to update remotely, and this is already the case with Tesla. The manufacturer’s promises being that the vehicles will gain certain features, such as driving assistance or more simply some entertainment which will be added to the offer already available.

But how does a software update work on a Tesla? What should you check to make sure you receive updates on time? This file is here to answer your questions and give you the steps to follow so that your Tesla is always ready to receive the latest updates.

Prerequisites: Wi-Fi, with some exceptions

Whether or not you have premium connectivity on your Tesla does not change anything, it is necessary, with exceptions, that the car is connected to a Wi-Fi network for it to be able to download an update. Examples of exceptions that do not require Wi-Fi include security updates, or regulatory compliance.

So, to make sure that your Tesla can receive updates without a hitch, it is ideal if it connects to a Wi-Fi network when parked. If it’s in your garage, for example, it should be easy, but sometimes it’s quite complicated. If you are unfortunately one of those who cannot have Wi-Fi where their vehicle is parked, the solution available to you is much less practical, but still feasible: you will sometimes have to share your smartphone connection to that your Tesla connects to it.

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This is because the vehicle only needs Wi-Fi to download the update, not to apply it. And the download can be done on the go, without the slightest worry. For some time now, the vehicle has been warning you when an update is pending download. And if you notice it, you can share your smartphone connection, just long enough for the update to be downloaded. If this has to be done several times, no worries: the download will resume where it left off.

How do I know if an update is pending?

As mentioned above, you can see that an update is pending directly from the main screen of your Tesla, using a download symbol that appears in the status bar, at the top of the screen. If you are not connected to a Wi-Fi network, the symbol is orange, and if you are connected, it is green, indicating that the download is in progress.


The “Software” tab on the car’s main screen // Source: Bob Jouy for Frandroid

You also have the possibility to see the progress of the download in the “Software” tab of the control screen, where in particular the version number and the download speed will be displayed.

Start the update: remotely, immediately or later

Once the update has been downloaded over Wi-Fi, you will receive an alert on the Tesla app and on the car screen that an update is available for installation, and you can launch it from there. ‘application if you wish.

Updating the car from the Tesla app

Updating the car from the Tesla application // Source: Bob Jouy for Frandroid

If you are in the car, after downloading the update, an orange clock icon will appear in the status bar. By clicking on this icon, you will have the choice to start the installation immediately, or to schedule it for the time of your choice. At any time before the update, you can tap the clock icon to change the update time.

Planning the update on Tesla

Planning the update on Tesla // Source: Bob Jouy for Frandroid

Note that you will not be able to drive the vehicle during the update. You must therefore take into account the time required for the update to take place before you can drive again. An indicative update time is specified on the application and on the screen in the vehicle, but the reliability of the forecast is not always perfect. So, if it says that the update will take about 25 minutes, then avoid needing the car for the next hour, just in case the installation overflows a bit.

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How do I know the content of the update?

Unlike many other products where you can read the release notes before applying the update, at Tesla it’s a little different. In fact, apart from the version number, you will not have any information on the content of the update before applying it. Only once after performing the update will you be able to read what it contained.

Tesla's software release notes

Tesla software release notes // Source: Bob Jouy for Frandroid

To do this, simply select “Release Notes” in the “Software” tab from the car’s main screen. You will then see in detail if the update you have just made contains only minor improvements, or if new features are indeed present.

Update preferences: advanced or standard, what’s the difference?

In theory, selecting “advanced” mode in the update preferences (in the “Software” tab on the main vehicle screen) allows you to receive updates as soon as they are available for your configuration. vehicle. This means that you won’t have to wait a few days for a new update to be offered to you, but it’s a feature that has its negative points as well.

Update preferences on Tesla

Update preferences on Tesla // Source: Bob Jouy for Frandroid

Indeed, as has already happened, an update can be deployed. Then Tesla decides not to offer this update a few hours or days later, following problems encountered by some drivers. The time to make some fixes, a new version will be proposed as soon as possible. If you have configured the “standard” update, you probably will not have had the problematic update, thus avoiding having to make several updates in just a few days.

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If after reading this file you still have a few unanswered questions, Tesla offers an FAQ page for software updates that you can find here.

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