My Tesla Model 3 is two years old this week, yet it feels new again. Not long after I bought the car, it got one of the most significant software updates in the history of Teslas — Tesla added a “Theater Mode” where you could watch Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, or Twitch on the large infotainment touchscreen in your car. Now, as of yesterday, Disney+ is added to that list.
The in-car theater was already put to use while waiting for my older daughter to get out of school. The younger one cuddled up with mommy and watched half of Raya and the Last Dragon … while I worked.
Needless to say, this Disney+ update will be put to good use. There’s a lot of great National Graphic content on there as well that I suspect we’ll finally get to watching.
For anyone new to Tesla World, note that Tesla Theater cannot be used while driving. It’s only available in Park. For now.
There were several other updates as well. They were:
- Car Wash Mode
- Mirror Auto Dim
- Dashcam Improvements
- Range Display
- Remain Connected to Wi-Fi in Drive
- New Language Support
Let’s roll through them.
Car Wash Mode
If you take your Tesla into a car wash, as I do, you know that there are a couple of things to do that you might well forget until the last moment (or after the last moment) — turn off the windshield wipers and fold the rear-view mirrors. Heck, you may even forget to close all the windows. Apparently, other issues can pop up as well — the charge point door opening due to some pressure on the door and Sentry Mode going off (though, I can’t say either has ever happened to me). A new Car Wash Mode now has you covered! Just tap a few buttons and your car should prepare itself for a wash.
— Arash Malek 🦆 (@MinimalDuck) August 25, 2021
Over time, I learned to avoid certain car washes, particularly one that I’d probably use routinely if not for this one issue — you have to pull onto a belt of sorts and put the car in Neutral, but doing so is quite difficult once the belt is moving. It seems that this update provides a solution — you just have to enable “Roll.” See the video above.
Mirror Auto Dim
I can’t say that I understand what this is referring to. Dimming? I have to poke around — perhaps at night — to gather what’s going on here. In any case, you can read the update note: “You can now enable or disable automatic dimming for your mirrors.” Have fun!
I believe this feature was a Twitter request that Elon responded to. If you turn this new feature on, the dashcam will automatically save video clips it captures if a “safety event” is detected — an accident or airbag deployment, for example.
Hyper-attentive to people’s privacy concerns, Tesla notes that recordings captured via this featured are never transmitted to Tesla. The point is just so that you have a recording that you can use in the case of an accident, disturbance, or reckless driving.
Some people prefer to see how much range they have left in terms of miles/kilometers. Some in terms of percentage (that’s me). Some may even like switching back and forth (though, I can’t say that I’ve ever met such a person). Whether you’re sharing a car with someone who prefers the “wrong” display or you happen to be that rare person who likes changing between percentage and distance, now you have an option to toggle between them rather than having to fuddle through a few screens of settings. You just tap the battery symbol or the figure next to it. (I may actually become a person who likes toggling between them now that this is so easy! And I bet others will discover some interest and enjoyment in doing the same.)
Remain Connected to Wi-Fi in Drive
This one may seem odd/obscure, and it is. For some reason, if you are in Park and the car is connected to WiFi via your phone hotspot (as mine tends to be), when you put the car into Drive, it kills the WiFi connection. I’ve never understood why, but it can be a bit annoying. For example, it can cancel Caraoke if you have that on for the kids, and then you have to get your phone and connect to WiFi again. No more!
New Language Support
Lastly, as is somewhat often the case, this update added some new language options for the car’s touchscreen text — Russian, Romanian, and Hungarian in this case. There are now 24 different language options (though, note that “French” and “French Canadian” are two options). Know any other cars that speak so many languages?
Nope, not yet. Though, after many months of Elon saying that it should come in ~2 weeks (the language varied, but the timeframe was almost always ~2 weeks, which has actually become popular joke in the Tesla fan community), the current estimate is ~4 weeks. Also, this timeframe seems more convincing due to the explanation, but I can’t say that this is the first time I’ve had faith in the forecast.
We should be there with Beta 10, which goes out a week from Friday (no point release this week).
It will have a completely retrained NN, so will need another few weeks after that for tuning & bug fixes. Best guess is public beta button in ~4 weeks.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 25, 2021