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What to expect during a software update


Enjoy the journey
Feb 5, 2018
I did some looking around and didn’t see an example of a software update progressing through its various stages. I apologize if this is out there and I just missed it. My observation might be helpful for those buying a used Model S or X and the general idea depicted here applies to Model 3 as well. If you’ve had your Tesla for years and simply don’t want to sit through an update, it is still important to know a few basics about how it works (IMHO).

TMC posters have pointed out that cars with access to WiFi usually have access to the updates sooner than those on the cellular network exclusively.

Updates can be scheduled for a time when you know you won’t be driving. The car is not drivable when the update is in progress.

Read the release notes. Updates can change the way things look on displays as well as add features (easy entry, auto wipers) so it is a matter of safety to be sure each driver is aware of changes to the car made by an update.

Here are some pictures I took of the screens as update 2018.6.1 641efac progressed. It took about 30 minutes start to finish on my WiFi network. There were multiple whirring and clicking sounds during the update. My wipers also cycled, so be sure there are no covers or other obstructions on the vehicle.

As you might notice there were several notifications that popped up. A person might be concerned the update is not going well if they hadn’t seen these before. I’ve also read it is a good idea to do a vehicle reset after the software is complete to avoid certain anomalies.


No cause for alarm, just wait for the update to finish.


A soft reset can be done by simply turning the car “OFF” for five minutes using the interface screen on the parking brake menu. Start it back up after the elapsed time by pressing the brake pedal.

A deeper reset can be done by simultaneously pressing and holding both steering wheel mounted control wheels for 15 seconds, then the buttons above the wheels for 15 more seconds.


Please add your experiences so we can collectively add to the knowledge of this group and prepare the next generation of Tesla owners.


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  • Informative
Reactions: GatorGuy
Turning the power off on the menu is a ‘deeper’ reset. All you are doing with the steering wheel buttons is resetting the MCU (large screen) or IC (small screen).

It’s really better to start the update (tap three times on the timer) and walk away. Your app will tell you when the update is done. Touching the car while the update is processing may (has been known to) interfere with it.

This has been discussed for years. :)
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Reactions: PaulusdB

Selecting “Install Now” worked for me.

Yes, probably best to let the software update happen without watching it. I was just curious and I imagine some others were as well. Definitely don’t touch anything while the update is in progress.

The reset (once an update is complete and ready to drive) has been recommended by several owners here on TMC, but you’d think if it was required it would be part of the programmed sequence.
I understand what the “three taps” means now that I completed another update. The timer will count down to the update, maybe to allow me to exit the car before it starts. Three taps on the timer zeros it out and immediately starts the update with me in the car. The doors still open while the update is in progress.
v8.1 (2018.12 5eadc71) took 45 minutes with one bar of service on LTE. I started the update without checking the signal strength and was glad when it finished after less than an hour.


The release notes included an update to the Tesla App for remote trunk/frunk access as long as I have the most recent version on my device. No Nav or AP1 changes included in the release notes.
Today I stopped at a SuC today while I grabbed lunch. When I came back 30 minutes later my car was charged and I had the pictured Nav update release notes on the screen.

Do updates happen often while at SuCs?

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From another thread...

Updates like the Nav take time to process before we see the release notes and the update becomes usable.

Likely when the SC pushed the latest firmware to my car and I selected the update to occur, it took time before it was completely ready to be active.

So updates do not necessarily happen because we are in any particular location, we just see them when we see them.