Getting Started


VisibleTesla lets you view, monitor, and control your Tesla Model S in much the same way as the official Tesla iPhone and Android apps do. Unlike those apps, VisibleTesla is not official, not from Tesla, and not supported. Please read the Disclaimer below - it's important.


Towards the end of 2014 Tesla changed the way their service worked. They updated their offical mobile phone apps and they introduced a new set of servers that speak to the apps in a new way. Over time Tesla is migrating all owners to these new servers. Unfortunately the new servers are incompatible with the original version of VisibleTesla. Moreover, these servers impose strict limitations on usage. Exceeding these limits may result in diminished operability of the VisibleTesla and of the offical Tesla mobile applications.

The author created VisibleTesla in his spare time for the enjoyment of the Tesla community. VisibleTesla is free for personal and non-commercial use. It speaks to your Tesla in the same way that the official Tesla applications do. Several members of the Tesla Motors Club Forum spent long hours determining how that mechanism works. Many thanks for their hard work.

VisibleTesla has a tabbed interface with one tab per functional area. At the right of this (and every) page you'll see a Table of Contents. Each tab has it's own page. You'll see a number of screen shots throughout this guide. These images may not reflect exactly what you'll see. For example, most screen shots are from a Mac and not every screen shot is updated on every release.

Most of the action In VisibleTesla happens within the tabs, but there are also three three menus: File, Options, and Help. Items from the first two menus are described along with the most relevant tab. The Help menu allows you to bring up this documentation, the release notes, and a general "About" dialog.

The next section describes how to install and run VisibleTesla. For a list of the most recent changes to VisibleTesla, please consult the Release Notes. If you have general questions, try the FAQ. I strongly encourage you to read the section regarding Sleep Mode. It will help you understand when VisibleTesla is collecting information from your car and when it is leaving your car alone. For additional information and discussion, you may want to read the VisibleTesla thread at the Tesla Motors Club Forum.

Installing, Running, and Updating VisibleTesla

VisibleTesla comes in several flavors: a standard Mac application, an installation for Windows, and a generic Java package that will run on Linux (and Mac and Windows for that mattter). Though they are the same application, installing and running them is different so they are described separately below.

Installing and Using the Mac App

App Icon

The standard Mac application works like any other Mac app. Just download it from here and you'll find in your Downloads folder. The icon looks like the one shown to the right. You can drag it to your Applications folder or leave it where it is. Now just double-click the icon to run it.

If you don't see VisibleTesla in your Downloads folder, but instead see, it means that your browser did not decompress the file for you. Just double-click and the app will appear.

Depending on your security settings, your Mac may complain about running VisibleTesla the first time. If so, consult the Troubleshooting section of the FAQ. It explains the one-time steps necessary to handle this.

Installing and Using the Windows Package

Using the VisibleTesla package for Windows is pretty easy:

  1. Download to your Downloads folder by clicking here.
  2. Double click the zip file and a window will pop up showing you a single folder named something like VisibleTesla 0.30.00. The actual numbers will vary - that's the version number.
  3. Drag that folder to your Desktop or anywhere else you'd like, and open it up.
  4. Double click the file named Make_Windows_Shortcut and you'll see a VisibleTesla icon appear on your Desktop.

That's it - you're ready to go. Just double click the VisibleTesla icon on your Desktop any time you want to run the app.

Installing the Generic Package

The generic package is primarily meant for use on Linux systems. Use the instructions above for Mac and Windows.

Dependencies: When using the generic package you must ensure that you Java 7 installed on your system. If you already have Java installed, you may be able to skip this step. However, VisibleTesla requires a recent version of Java (at least 1.7u25) so you may have to update your Java installation if it is old. You can download Java for Linux here. Note that there have been extensive changes to JavaFX in Java 8 and VisibleTesla will not work with it. At some point in the future the app will transition to Java 8 at which point it will no longer work with Java 7. For the time being, be sure to have Java 7 installed for use with VisibleTesla.

Once you have Java installed you need to download and install VisibleTesla:

Updating VisibleTesla

Once you've installed and run VisibleTesla it will automatically check for updates on a weekly basis. You can also check for new updates at any time using the Help→Check for Updates menu item. If an update is available, you'll get a dialog box that gives you a link to the Release Notes (so you can see what changed) and a link to download the new version of the app. When you download the newer version, just use the same process as above to install and launch it.

Warnings and Disclaimer

Be careful when using this software as it can lock and unlock your car as well as control various functions relating to the charging system, sun roof, lights, horn, and other subsystems of the car. Don't send your username and password to anyone other than Tesla. Doing so would give away the authentication details required to control your car. VisibleTesla does not store your password and only communicates with Tesla.

Use this application at your own risk. The author does not guarantee its proper functioning. This application attempts to use the same interfaces used by the official Tesla apps. However, it is possible that use of this application may cause unexpected damage for which nobody but you are responsible. Use of this application can change the settings on your car and may have negative consequences such as (but not limited to) unlocking the doors, opening the sun roof, or reducing the available charge in the battery.

Warning: Using VisibleTesla may cause Tesla Motors to limit or completely cease your remote access capability. If they do this, you will not be able to use your mobile phone application, or it's use may be impaired. The author of VisibleTesla cannot do anything to rectify this situation if it occurs. You are solely responsible for any adverse effects that stem from the use of VisibleTesla. Use it at your own risk.