The official Tesla Mobile App is a great addition to the Model S and allows Tesla to make the most out of the car’s permanent Internet connection.

Mobile reception required!

Since the Mobile App communicates between your phone and car via the Internet, both require a sufficient Internet connection for the App to function.

If either your phone or car has insufficient signal to make the connection then the Mobile App will usually show the “Waking car…” message regardless of what is limiting the connection.

Main Controls

The Tesla App has five main screens:

  • Home
  • Controls
  • Charge
  • Climate
  • Location

Home: shows some general status information about the current state of your Model S, including: name (or VIN if you haven’t assigned a name), State of Charge (SoC) and charging status, location and whether the car is locked.

Controls: allows you to remotely control certain functions, including: locking/unlocking and starting the car, venting the sunroof (if fitted) and finally (albeit arguably less useful) flashing the lights and sounding the horn.

Charge: allows you to remotely start, monitor and stop charging if the Model S is currently plugged into a suitable EV charger (either permanent or mobile). You are also able to open and unlock the charge port and/or change the maximum charge limit. When using most chargers this screen will show an estimate of how much longer your current charge session will take to complete. However, this is not true for Superchargers since the charge is controlled by the Supercharger and not the car’s onboard charger.

Climate: allows you to remotely start or stop your HVAC (Heating, Ventilating & Air Conditioning) system. Once switched on the HVAC will run for up to 30 minutes before automatically switching off, unless you manually switch it off before this. You are also able to set/change the temperature of the HVAC, from ‘LO’ through to ‘HI’. If your objective is to pre-warm the car’s battery it is believed that you need to run the HVAC on ‘HI’ for the battery heating system to kick-in. 

Location: a Google Maps overlay that shows where your Model S is in real-time, along with speed, acceleration and regen information if the car is being driven. It can also show where your phone is and provide directions back to your Model S – handy if you’ve parked somewhere unusual and need a little help finding it again!

Options and Settings

The options are accessed via the sidebar menu (button on the top left of the main screen).

The Options Menu consists of:

  • Your car’s name and the end of your VIN – so that it’s clear which car is currently selected (for those lucky enough to have more than one on their account!)
  • Access the Main Controls – as covered above
  • Your account’s email address – which actually links through to a car selection screen
  • Notifications – provides options as to which notifications you wish to receive. Notifications cover the car alarm, charging and software updates. You will always receive charging notifications when Supercharging (these cannot be disabled). NB. Notifications are currently only available in the iPhone app.
  • Calendar – provides guidance on how to configure calendar sharing between your phone and Model S
  • Sign Out – fairly self explanatory. A good idea if you need to allow other people to access your phone as the App doesn’t automatically sign you out
Can’t sign into the Tesla Mobile App?

If you are struggling to get the Mobile App to connect to your car, it can help to restart the Mobile App by closing it (not just minimising it) and re-starting the App.