Can I control ...?
There are many features of the Tesla Model S that cannot be controlled by VisibleTesla (or other applications). All of the following have been requested, but are not controllable via VisibleTesla:
  • The heated seats
  • The front and rear defrosters
  • The car's scheduled charge time
  • The charge amperage
Can I get VisibleTesla in my native language?
Unfortunately no (unless your native language is US English). There is actually a lot of work to be done to make VisibleTesla able to support different languages and then someone would have to do the actual translations. As of 1/1/2014, this work is not planned.
How do I switch between my many different Teslas?
For those of you lucky enough to have more than one Tesla, there is no easy way to switch between them at the moment. Since I only have one car, this is not something I can test and is unlikely to be addressed anytime soon. You can keep multiple copies of VisibleTesla running and point one to each car.
Why does the Graphs Tab collect data very often some times and less frequently at other times?
If you check out the section on Data Collection you'll see that the Graphs Tab is always collecting data in the background. It collects a sample of data every two minutes unless the app is asleep in which case it doesn't collect any data. See Understanding Sleep Mode for more details.

If VisibleTesla notices that your car is moving, it will collect data more frequently (every 30 seconds). There is one more twist. The Graphs Tab collects its own data, but it also snoops on the other tabs. If they collect anything of interest, the Graphs Tab plots that information and stores it away. For example, if you are viewing the Location Tab, the relevant data that it collects will also appear on the Graphs Tab at whatever rate the Location Tab is collecting data - usually every 30 seconds.

This explains why you see data collected very quickly at some times and slower at others. Big gaps in the data typically represent times at which either (a) VisibleTesla wasn't running, (b) it was asleep, (c) your car was in an area with no cellular coverage.
Can I store the app data files in Dropbox?
The application data files are stored in a system specific location that can be shown using the "Show User Folder" button in Prefs→General→Advanced. If you are an advanced user you can use symbolic links (Mac/Linux) or MKLINK (Windows) to store the files in Dropbox and link them to User Folder. For details on how this mechanism works, check out: 15 Hacks Every Dropbox User Should Know.
Is VisibleTesla secure?
VisibleTesla has not undergone a rigorous security analysis, but the source code is available on github for anyone to review. I welcome feedback on any security vulnerabilities that might be present. I understand that not everyone has the time, interest, or inclination to do that, but it is an option for some.

Here are some basic facts about how VisibleTesla works:
  • VisibleTesla uses https to connect to Tesla's servers which means that all communication are encrypted.
  • It does not store or communicate the user's password. It does store a cookie file on the user's disk. If this cookie file falls into the hands of an attacker, they could access your vehicle. An attacker would have to have access to your computer to make this possible.
  • The application shares no information with the author or anyone else other than Tesla. I'd actually love to collect some aggregate statistics (not user identifiable) but I've refrained from doing so because I don't want to create even a perception that users are being spied upon. I don't even know how many people have tried VisibleTesla.
  • User preferences and other application state is stored unencrypted on your local disk. This includes things like your scheduled events, your Graph options, and your Notification settings. None of this is particularly sensitive information. However, if you choose to enter sensitive information into a field such as a custom email subject in the Notify Tab then you must be aware that the information will be stored unencrypted on your local disk.
  • VisibleTesla includes an experimental web services mechanisms that allows a limited set of commands to be accessed remotely. Currently this only lets you set the inactivity mode of the application. It does not communicate with the car. This service is off by default. If it is turned on, it is protected via HTTP Basic Authentication. The password for this is stored salted and encrypted on the local disk. The clear text of the password is never stored. VisibleTesla does nothing to make this function visible beyond your local network. Take care if you set up port forwarding to access the service remotely.
  • Both the Windows and Mac app include a copy of the Java Virtual Machine. You don't need to download, install, or configure Java. Also, the version of Java used by VisibleTesla is not available to other parts of your system including your web browsers. As a result, it will not expose you to any security vulnerabilities that arise through the use of Java and browsers.
Other than communicating with Tesla, VisibleTesla communicates with two other services - Dropbox and MailGun. It uses Dropbox to download up to three files that are used in the update process:
  • The first file is a list of the releases. The app uses this to determine whether a newer release is available.
  • If a new release is available, the user can click a link to see the most recent release notes. These notes are downloaded from Dropbox.
  • Finally, if the user chooses to download the latest release, it will be downloaded from Dropbox. No user information is shared in this process.
if you use the notifications tab, your notification messages are sent via the MailGun hosted service. By default, logging information from that service is available to the author of VisibleTesla who administers the MailGun account. To avoid having this logging information visible, you may provide your own MailGun key. Please refer to this section on Advanced Preferences.

If you would like more certainty about what VisibleTesla is doing, you can use a program like Little Snitch on the Mac to monitor and control all of VisibleTesla's network activity.
Can I ask Tesla for help with VisibleTesla or report problems to them?
No. VisibleTesla is not an official application from Tesla.
OK, well if I can't ask Tesla for support where can I go to ask questions or learn more about the app?
There is a thread on the Tesla Motors Club forum that you can read and participate in.
I like the idea of monitoring and controlling my Tesla, but VisibleTesla isn't right for me. Are there other options?
Yes! There are a number of great projects out there. Please have a look at the this post for a few ideas. For sophisticated monitoring and visualization, check out teslams on the forum.


How should I report a bug?
The best thing to do is ask about your problem on the Tesla Motors Club forum. When reporting a bug please describe the following:
  • What you expected to happen and how you configured VisibleTesla to make it happen. For example: I expected a notification that the car was unplugged at 10:00PM because I set it up in the Scheduler Tab.
  • What actually happened, for example, 10:00PM came and went and I didn't get a notification even though my car was unplugged.
  • Screen shots of the relevant Tabs if possible.
  • Your configuration including version of VisibleTesla, which OS you're running on (e.g. Windows 8.1 or MacOS 10.9.1)
  • Whether it worked using Tesla's app. Try the equivalent function on the iOS or Android app (if there is an equivalent function) to see if it works there but not in VisibleTesla.
VisibleTesla keeps track of any internal errors or problems in a log file. This file is very important to the developer in the debugging process. It is very difficult to diagnose a problem without it (even with it, it can be difficult). A new log file is written every time you start the application. It is named visibletesla-00.log.

If you notice a problem and wish to report it to the developer, follow these steps:
  1. Go the Advanced section of the General Preferences and click the Show App Files button. You'll get a new Finder or Explorer window that will be displaying the log files.
  2. Quit VisibleTesla and copy the log file to a safe place (like your desktop)
  3. Restart VisibleTesla
  4. Send your error report and log file to
If you quit and restart VisibleTesla before copying the log file, the previous version is still around. In fact, several old log files are kept around just in case. The old files are named visibletesla-01.log - visibletesla-03.log.
VisibleTesla won't start - it seems to be a Java problem
VisibleTesla requires a fairly modern version of Java to work properly. It uses some features that were introduced part way through Java version 7. There were some changes in Java version 8 libraries that make it incompatible with Visible Tesla. When you update the version of Java installed on your computer, you may cause an incompatibility. To take the guess work out of this, VisibleTesla ships with a bundled version of Java on Windows and Mac. The bundled version:
  • Is known to work with VisibleTesla
  • Will not be used for anything other than VisibleTesla
  • It will not interfere with other versions of Java installed on your computer
On the Mac you will automatically use this bundled version of Java unless you go way out of your way not to. On Windows you must follow the installation instructions to get a VisibleTesla app icon on your desktop. When you launch using that icon, it will use the bundled version of Java and insulate you from problems with Java versions. See the installation instructions here. If you are using the generic version of VisibleTesla on Linux, please consult the installation instructions to find an appropriate version of Java.
VisibleTesla won't wake up my car
Tesla updated their software with a mode that allows the car to go into a very deep sleep. I don't know what triggers this sleep, but it seems like an extended period of inactivity may be at least one trigger. When the car goes into a deep sleep it cannot be awakened by VisibleTesla or the official iPhone/Android app. The only known way to wake the car once it has entered this state is to physically interact with the car (open the door and get in).
It takes a long time to quit VisibleTesla
When you quit the application it's possible that the icon won't disappear for up to a minute. Usually the window closes and the icon disappears immediately. This is a known problem. Nothing bad is happening and you don't have to terminate it by force. It's stuck waiting for information from Tesla. Eventually it will give up and quit.
I'm not getting a notification that I expected
The two most common problems here are (a) the app is not running at the time the event occurred, and (b) the app is in "Allow Sleeping" mode when the event occurred. When VisibleTesla is in "Allow Sleeping" mode it still checks the car periodically to see if it is awake. If the car is awake during one of these checks and if a specified event occurs, a notification will be sent. However, the top priority of "Allow Sleeping" mode is to let your car sleep which means that events may occur while VisibleTesla is avoiding communication with your vehicle.
I'm not seeing my old trips. What happened to them?
VisibleTesla only loads as much historical information as you tell it to in the Prefs→General→Basic→Load data for: field. For example, if you have that set to 14 days, you won't see trips that are older than that. The same is true for the data in the Graph Tab.
Mac: I get a message saying that VisibleTesla can't be opened because it's not from the Mac App Store
Whenever you try to open an application that was downloaded from the internet, the Mac enforces a security policy. The default, and most stringent policy is not to run any application that didn't come from the Mac App Store. The next most stringent policy is to allow apps that are from the App Store or from identified developers. The least stringent policy is to allow any application to run. VisibleTesla isn't in the App Store, but it is from an identified developer (me). That means that you can be sure that the application you're about to run hasn't been tampered with since it left my hands.

There are a couple of ways to deal with this. First, you can simply right-click (or control-click) VisibleTesla and choose Open. You only have to do that once. Alternatively, you can change your security policy to allow apps from identified developers. For more details, check out this article from CNET.
Mac: The zooming and panning gestures don't work
In the Mac System Preferences look at the Accessibility preferences. There is a checkbox labeled Use scroll gesture with modifier keys to zoom. If you have that checked, the system may be intercepting these gestures. You'll need to uncheck it.

Installation Tips

How can I get an icon on my desktop that will let me launch VisibleTesla?
The standard installation process for Mac and Windows (described here) will result in a VisibleTesla icon that you can use to launch the app. Older versions required some additional steps that are no longer required.

For Developers

Is the source code for VisibleTesla available?
Yes! VisibleTesla lives on github. It relies on another project, TeslaClient, by the same author which can also be found on github.
Can I contribute to VisibleTesla?
Yes! You can contribute to VisibleTesla and/or TeslaClient. You can fork either project and go on your own path or you can contribute back to the central projects.
I'm not a Developer. Is there anything I can contribute?
Yes! For example, you can test experimental versions of VisibleTesla, contribute to the documentation, and help others on the forums.