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What doesn't work when you don't have cell service or WiFi?


Well-Known Member
Dec 8, 2007
Your phone will still work as a key to get in the door, and to start the car. But none of the other features of the phone app will work without cell/wifi connectivity.
That's not quite correct. I know at least opening the frunk and trunk works, as well as unlocking the car. The climate features don't, but haven't tried the others (like flashing lights, horn, venting windows, etc).
Yikes, that's a long list -- really, opening the windows or the trunk needs an internet connection? That's an absurd design, if true. (Or am I misunderstanding-- are you saying it's just the phone app that won't work to do those things but there is still a manual way to do them?)

Even so, it seems like a poor choice to have the app dependent on an internet connection rather than a local wifi hub in the car or the shared hotspot feature of the phone. But then I'm not a software engineer.
Sorry that I wasn't very clear
As others have pointed out that list I posted was things you wont be able to do remotely via the Tesla app
without a WiFi or cellular data connection for both your phone and the car

It's not a poor choice, currently there is no other way of communicating between the car and your cell phone
over great distances reliably (providing you have a good connection). It's actually a strength not a weakness
With cellular data connection or WiFi you can control the car from your couch or the other side of the world
Having a independent internet connection allows for other advances the future

A local WiFi or shared hotspot would suffer from range and be far to unreliable and limiting
You couldn't garentee that once you've walked to the restaurant you'd be able to turn sentry mode on
or check the car is locked for example.

You can still do all the thing I mentioned from the car just not from the cafe, couch, corner store or Croatia
without cell data or WiFi for the car and Tesla app
Close to the car you will be able to unlock/lock with the Tesla app/cellphone over bluetooth but not much else
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Got it. Thanks. Understand the desirability of doing some functions remotely, it just seemed like it might be more transparent to the user if it used local wifi to carry out all of those same functions when internet wasn't available. With most devices my experience is that wifi has longer range and higher reliability than bluetooth and your app would continue to work in exactly the same way for all of the functions that don't actually need the internet-- eg controlling windows, trunk, etc. when you are near the car. Perhaps I'm an anomaly in keeping bluetooth turned off unless I explicitly need it as it seems to drain my phone battery
Haven't yet ordered (waiting for the rebate fog to clear) but thinking about a 3 or Y a lot.

There's effectively no cell service where we live and we frequently travel to places that have neither cell nor WiFi. (We have excellent internet speed and WiFi at home.)

I'm wondering what doesn't work in those situations. I'm assuming updates will happen over WiFi when the car is at home, but what about route planning and navigation? Are there downloaded maps and GPS that's not reliant on cell service? If so, do those maps know where chargers are located even if they can't tell you about their current status? Does that system use WiFi when cell is not available? Does it "forget" your route and stops when it runs out of signal? I've been reading confused and conflicting reports about what happens with navigation.

Is there anything else important I'm not thinking about that stops working when the car can't communicate with the outside world? (not worried about entertainment systems here, just car function.)
Traffic info, music streaming, sometimes cant start a new navigation.

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