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Time to Drive (your Tesla)

IamGaryGnu

Endless IBS
Supporting Member
Jun 16, 2021
1,459
4,592
Central New Jersey
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(photo from Watt Time - For Your Tesla)
About 18 months ago, I ordered my first Tesla (Model S refresh). Then my usual worries and overcomplications got int the way. Hmmm, key cards. Okay. I can hide a few in case I’m ever locked out. Phone as a key? Great idea! Err, what if the battery dies? Lose my phone? Robbed? Aliens?

Nearly a year ago (September 15, 2021, but who’s counting?) I posted on TMC that I had a Galaxy Watch 4, and asked if there was an app to unlock my car, etc. @joshendy mentioned he created his own app (how cool is that?) – originally Tesla Time on Google Play, now it is Watt Time – For your Tesla. I also just stumbled across Watt Key – For your Tesla which turns your watch into a Bluetooth key – I haven’t had a chance to check either out.

Unfortunately, I thought the Watch 4, like the Watch 3, and prior Motorola offerings left me flat, so by the time joshendy replied, my watch had been long returned.

Fast forward – this year, the originally named Galaxy Watch 5 came out after spending zillions in name brainstorming sessions for a successor to the Galaxy Watch 4. I bought the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, mostly because it offered a purportedly huge battery life. Note, I have an apple household, and own about 6 iPads, and presently subscribe to 4 iPhones for my family, but I’m an Android phone guy. I try not to be, don’t want to be, but am. I’ve seen but have no way to try the existing apps, and heck, I don’t even know how many Tesla apps are available for the apple watch, but they are out there. However, I believe Android gives you some options hardware wise that apple doesn’t, so when you read further below about DRIVE Electric for Tesla, you’ll understand what I mean.

I then bought two apps (sorry Josh, yours looks great, but after buying the other two, I didn’t think I needed a third or fourth).

Soap Box Rant: I think you should always have a physical key card with you – it doesn’t weight a lot, and the downside of not having a physical key card could I suppose leave you stranded. Okay, enough warning.

Here’s the story:

First I tripped over Wear for Tesla – that will happen when you google Wear OS and Tesla! It seemed to tick all the boxes, clean interface, pretty much control everything. $7 later, it was mine.

It can do some nifty things – I think it’s through the cloud, so it sends the signals to and fro the cloud, and then I believe your car’s LTE or wifi will interact. You can then do pretty much what you want – unlock the car, control the temperature, remote start, etc. – the list is huge. You can find it at wearfortesla.danielcastro.dev . Note: The (outdated) FAQ on the website states it doesn’t work on Samsung watches. Buzzer – wrong - well, I think they’re referencing the ol’ Tizen days which ended with the Watch 3. I assure you, this app works on my Watch 5 Pro, which is internally similar to the Watch 4, so there shouldn’t be any problems there.

Here are a few photos of Wear for Tesla from their google play listing:

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Now, why did I stumble across DRIVE for Electric and spend about 4 hours this weekend getting a certain part to work?

Level 1 – it handles NFC. It would be rare for me to be in a place where I don’t have wifi or LTE, but there is a place in the mountain where I’ve been where you lose signal. If that happened I don’t think I could remote my way into the car via wifi or LTE. I had also been in an auditorium for recitals (kids!) where the phone has gotten really hot and seen the poor battery get demolished as the phone tried to get a signal – this has happened every year, and to my friends as well, so that tells me in a poor signal area, I may also lose phone power. I guess if my phone was dead, my watch might not fare better, but maybe….

Anyway, the NFC setup took under 1 minute. I turns out I regretted the NFC function the way I implemented it, however it was uber cool to have my phone turned off, and use my watch to both unlock the car by the pillar, but also have it recognized as a key on the consol.

Level 2 – This is where I spent hours. Note, the developer Runar was incredibly responsive and helpful. Anyway, if NFC isn’t enough for you, how about walk up and walk away unlocking? Yup, my watch can act like my phone in that capacity. It wasn’t without snags to set up (I think the biggest issue was I needed the watch to have location enabled, which is a battery drain so I usually keep it off) and there were some confusing things, but now I can throw my phone out, and my watch will unlock the car like my phone would have. That also means I DON’T have to keep putting my watch by the console to authorize. (I might have been able to avoid that with the start icon.)

Here's a few photos, this time from DRIVE Electric for Tesla:
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Miscellaneous – I plugged in my car after a few days out of the garage, and wanted it to charge immediately versus the normal scheduled time. It took me a few minutes, but I was able to get DRIVE my Electric to do so – I couldn’t find how to get Wear for Tesla to do it (if it can).

Which should you buy? In many ways Wear for Tesla has cleaner displays, and I think it offers additional Watch shortcuts (there’s one for control (the main one) and one for battery information, and one for climate control.) It also seems a tad more “elegant” to me.

However, the one I keep coming back to is DRIVE Electric for Tesla. I think it has more options and more controls. It also offers multiple ways to display the controls. For $9 I can’t see what else I’d want from a car app.

Bear in mind, originally I just wanted a way to unlock the car and maybe set the A/C. Both apps will do that. And at least DRIVE Electric for Tesla will let me do some more things, like configure the trunk to open when I approach, or honk, lights, etc. – however, just because you CAN do a thing doesn’t mean you should – in a pinch, I can at least get the charging to skip the schedule, and I can change the charging percentage. However, I can also theoretically type a letter on the watch, but without a hardware keyboard, well, there’s no way I’d hunt and peck all day unless I was stranded on an island. You get the idea. Some things (I dare say most things) are better left to the Tesla app on your phone. However, in a pinch or on the go, I think either of these watch apps, and probably Watt Time and/or Watt Key, are great adjuncts.
 

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mswlogo

Well-Known Member
Aug 27, 2018
8,357
7,878
MA, NH
Well I find LTE only smart watches useless for networking. They go in and out of service all the time. I gave up, and my watch depends on my phone to function now.

My phone battery never dies. And I carry a keycard backup. So the watch gains me almost nothing.

I used to be an Android guy until I came to my senses and I’m all in on iDevices now. And so are most Tesla owners.

My watch also dies way faster than the phone when it’s “busy”. Like you said if location is always on etc.
 

IamGaryGnu

Endless IBS
Supporting Member
Jun 16, 2021
1,459
4,592
Central New Jersey
so far i'm finding minor uses for the app (and trying to find additional uses) - so if i'm in the garage without my phone, or last night i wanted to vent the windows, etc. - i don't see the watch replacing my phone for basically anything other than as a, well, watch, but i like that i CAN answer calls, see and/or quickly respond to messages, and now partially or almost fully handle my car.
it's another layer of redundancy - i'm far more likely to lose my phone or even my wallet than my watch, and this helps obviate the need for me to get a ring key (which i decided against, but my neurosis still loves the concept).
 

FatherTo1

Active Member
Mar 7, 2019
1,230
1,182
California
I just switched back to Android from iOS. I love MacOS but iOS/iPadOS leaves me unfulfilled. My previous iPhone 12 Pro Max and 13 Pro were fine but rather boring and limited in options (multiwindow, widgets, customizations). Switched to a Z Fold 4 and loving the form factor and flexibility.

Ironically I loved my Apple Watch 7 LTE more than the iPhone. It was nice to go on a run or swim, pay for stuff, drive our Model Y, respond to calls or texts, and operate my garage or house locks from the Apple Watch without my phone at all. I miss the Apple Watch more than the iPhone.

I am now on a Galaxy Watch 5 Pro and it's pretty on par with the Apple Watch and double the battery life. Not sure which Tesla app I want to get for the Watch but @IamGaryGnu 's post is helpful.
 
Last edited:

IamGaryGnu

Endless IBS
Supporting Member
Jun 16, 2021
1,459
4,592
Central New Jersey
I just switched back to Android from iOS. I love MacOS but iOS/iPadOS leaves me unfulfilled. My previous iPhone 12 Pro Max and 13 Pro were fine but rather boring and limited in options (multiwindow, widgets, customizations). Switched to a Z Fold 4 and loving the form factor and flexibility.

Ironically I loved my Apple Watch 7 LTE more than the iPhone. It was nice to go on a run or swim, pay for stuff, drive our Model Y, respond to calls or texts, and operate my garage or house locks from the Apple Watch without my phone at all. I miss the Apple Watch more than the iPhone.

I am now on a Galaxy Watch 5 Pro and it's pretty on par with the Apple Watch and double the battery life. Not sure which Tesla app I want to get for the Watch but @IamGaryGnu 's post is helpful.
thanks for the feedback. i find these days....i don't really use either app very much! it's not THAT hard to pull my phone out, but at least for the novelty i like the capability, and there were times i'd walk from my office and tick the climate icon on an app to get the car going.
i'm envious for the z fold and regret not getting that versus getting my i think S21 plus - i missed out on the z fold/watch discounts, so maybe in a year or two.
i did/do have some ios envy, and i walk around my home clutched to my beloved ipad for dear life (i never had a decent android tablet) though other than me, my family, workers, etc. are all iphone.
i do like my watch 5 pro battery life, and thought about NOT taking the charger on an overnight. My neurosis won, and i took the charger after all. at WORST i suppose i could enable "watch only" mode which is supposed to be good for up to 15 days of dumb watch-dom.
 

FatherTo1

Active Member
Mar 7, 2019
1,230
1,182
California
thanks for the feedback. i find these days....i don't really use either app very much! it's not THAT hard to pull my phone out, but at least for the novelty i like the capability, and there were times i'd walk from my office and tick the climate icon on an app to get the car going.
i'm envious for the z fold and regret not getting that versus getting my i think S21 plus - i missed out on the z fold/watch discounts, so maybe in a year or two.
i did/do have some ios envy, and i walk around my home clutched to my beloved ipad for dear life (i never had a decent android tablet) though other than me, my family, workers, etc. are all iphone.
i do like my watch 5 pro battery life, and thought about NOT taking the charger on an overnight. My neurosis won, and i took the charger after all. at WORST i suppose i could enable "watch only" mode which is supposed to be good for up to 15 days of dumb watch-dom.
True, even with the Apple Watch it wasn't often that I relied solely on the Tesla watch app but it was nice whenever I didn't have my phone on me. I will usually have at least the watch or phone on me.

It took me a while to set up the Z Fold 4 coming from iOS but it was worth it. I like my iPad Pro 12.9 but multi-window is abysmal. Looking forward to iOS 16 Stage Manager on that device.

Have you tried the reverse charging feature on the S21? I was able to use the Z Fold 4 to reverse wirelessly charge the Buds2 Pro by placing the case on the back of the phone. The power sharing feature works remarkably well for earpod case but is trickier with the Watch 5 Pro due to the wrist band. I guess it is doable in an emergency if you did forget to pack the watch charger, but you'd have to remove the wrist band to be able to keep the Watch 5 pro flat against the back of the phone to charge.
 
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IamGaryGnu

Endless IBS
Supporting Member
Jun 16, 2021
1,459
4,592
Central New Jersey
True, even with the Apple Watch it wasn't often that I relied solely on the Tesla watch app but it was nice whenever I didn't have my phone on me. I will usually have at least the watch or phone on me.

It took me a while to set up the Z Fold 4 coming from iOS but it was worth it. I like my iPad Pro 12.9 but multi-window is abysmal. Looking forward to iOS 16 Stage Manager on that device.

Have you tried the reverse charging feature on the S21? I was able to use the Z Fold 4 to reverse wirelessly charge the Buds2 Pro by placing the case on the back of the phone. The power sharing feature works remarkably well for earpod case but is trickier with the Watch 5 Pro due to the wrist band. I guess it is doable in an emergency if you did forget to pack the watch charger, but you'd have to remove the wrist band to be able to keep the Watch 5 pro flat against the back of the phone to charge.
i did try the reverse charge wtih my phone (btw, i was wrong, it's S22+, which doesn't lessen my remorse over not getting the Z Fold 4) - the charge worked, but yeah, i had to hold the watch down with the band over the other side of my phone. I doubt I'd ever use that, and would instead just switch to pure watch mode.
my watch lost connectivity with my phone over the weekend, not sure why, and i had to reset it - now it's connected perfectly, however the "automatic backups" - didn't. The last backup I had was probably the date of initial activation, sometime in August. I since manually forced the backups, which I think will save a lot, but not everything, like credit cards in pay, etc. - anyway, i encourage you to back up and any time you make major additions or changes to the watch.
I also had to reinstall the tesla apps, and re-sync the watch with the car. wasn't too bad to do.
I also too it off saturday night to wear a dress watch - and have to admit, i missed the smart features. Contrast this, to numerous smart watch purchases that went back after a few days.
Yeah, i'm hooked :)
 
So I have Wear for Tesla installed on Z Fold 4/Watch 5 Pro. Everything working well. Can Google Assistant create voice routines like Siri shortcuts? I tried creating a routine for "open trunk", but Assistant doesn't allow setting up routines to execute app functions like iOS/Siri.
Gonna try Drive Electric next. After more time with Wear for Tesla I realized it's not as good as the iWatch app I had before.

For starters, opening the app doesn't make it clear whether the car is locked or not. The lock icon always appears as a static unlock image. You have to go into Stats to see if the car is locked, and even then it wasn't reliable for me. I tried refreshing the token, restarting the app, and also reached out to the developer but no response yet after four days.

Here's an example of Wear for Tesla misreporting my battery percentage:
20221112_104059.jpg
 

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