Tesla Redesigns Its User Interface – Love It or Hate It?

On December 25, 2022, Tesla owners received a notification of a new software update and most of us downloaded it like we always do. The download caused the biggest UI realignment I’ve seen in the more than two years I’ve owned a Model 3. I generally like the new UI, but my editor Zack Shahan and many others hate it. This article includes some tips on how to use it, which may help some people like it more.

The main screen of the Tesla user interface. March 1, 2020. Photography by Fritz Hassler.

Good change: The temperature controls as shown at LO and 73°F in Figure 1, are now separated for driver and right-seat passengers, allowing each to have intuitive control over separate temperatures.

Bad change: A number of often used functions, such as seat heating controls, and even critical ones, such as windshield defogger controls, are no longer on the home screen. It is only available in second level listings. You only see them on the screen that appears (Fig. 2) when you touch one of the temperature controls at the bottom left and right as shown in Figures 1-3. In Figure 2, the driver’s seat heater is set to level 3 and the front and rear defogging controls are the gray icons for the windshield and rear to the left of the blue AC switch. They turn color when activated.

Good change: If you slide your finger horizontally on the driver’s temperature number, a sub-screen (Fig.3) will appear that helps you to easily and accurately adjust the temperature. Note: If you hold the temperature number down for several seconds, the fan will turn off.

Figure 2: Seat heater and defrosting controls. Photography by Fritz Hassler

Tesla Model 3 Screencap - Decorative Changes

Figure 3: Driver temperature control. Photography by Fritz Hassler

What about the infotainment controls? In the middle of the bottom of Figures 1-3, if you click on the three small white dots, you will get a sub-screen with 14 options as shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4: Multifunction sub-screen. Photography by Fritz Hassler

I’m a news junkie, so pressing the TuneIn button brings up the sub-screen shown in Figure 5. I often listen to CNN, MSNBC, or PBS KUER 90.1 broadcasts at SLC on the radio. This screen allows me to choose between the three options as I try to avoid objectionable ads.

Functions of the Tesla Model 3 radio screencap

Figure 5: TuneIn sub-screen. Photography by Fritz Hassler

If I want to stream music instead, I press the orange button in the bottom center (Fig. 5), which shows the sub-screen shown in Fig. 6. From this screen, I choose one of my favorite music genres. Streaming music requires good mobile reception, so if I’m driving north of Casper, Wyoming, and cellular reception isn’t good, I go to my iPhone for one of my favorite playlists by pressing the Bluetooth button on the sub-display shown in Figure 4 You can see Diane Warwick’s “That What Friends Are For” Bluetooth controls at the top of Figure 5.

Figure 6: Music stream. Sub sub screen. Photography by Fritz Hassler

I rarely play computer games, but if I have kids in the car, I have to show the car racing game which uses the steering wheel and brakes (when parked) to control the racing car. To access, go to Arcade on the sub-screen in Figure 4, then choose the dune buggy race shown in Figure 7.

Tesla Model 3 Screencap From Racing Game

Figure 7: Dune buggy racing game. Oops, I’m driving my typical white 3 car. It’s controlled by the steering wheel and brakes. Photography by Fritz Hassler

I’ve never played/sung karaoke in public, but I love to sing and have never been able to memorize the lyrics to many songs. So, if I’m spending time on the Supercharger, I pick Caraoke on the sub-screen shown in Figure 4 and pick one of my favorite songs (see Figure 8) and sing along with the amazing high-quality sound.

Figure 8: Karaoke Sweet Caroline Singing. Photography by Fritz Hassler

Of course, for real entertainment, Tesla allows movies to be streamed on Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, etc. (see Figure 9.) They can be brought up by pressing the theater button shown in Figure 4.

Figure 9: Theater broadcast options. Photography by Fritz Hassler

By choosing the Netflix option, you will get the standard Netflix movie list, as shown in Figure 10. I have found that in typical metro areas and towns, movie streaming using mobile data works well.

Figure 10: Netflix streaming options. Photography by Fritz Hassler

Tesla Control Options

Returning to a few of the more important driver control options, pressing the single white dot to the left of the three white dots in the lower center of Figure 8 brings up the rear camera view. You can also bring up the side camera views as shown in Figure 11 if you swipe up from the bottom of the screen. If the image is blurry, wipe the camera with your finger over your license plate.

Figure 11: Rear and side camera views in my garage. Photography by Fritz Hassler

If you are wondering where Tesla has hidden the tire pressures, tap the vehicle icon in the bottom left of the main screen shown in Figure 1 and Figure 8. Then press the Service button, which shows the tire pressure on the sub-screen shown in Figure 12. This only works when Leadership.

Tesla Model 3 Screencap

Figure 12: Tire pressures. Readings are available when driving. Photography by Fritz Hassler

Another piece of incomprehensible important information is your odometer reading, which is cleverly hidden under the program button in the car’s main control menu as shown in Figure 13.

Tesla Model 3 Screencap

Figure 13: Odometer reading. Cleverly hidden under software. Photography by Fritz Hassler

Whether you’re doing an Adobe Photoshop or Tesla UI tutorial, one can’t hope to be exhaustive about the endless number of options in a short article like this one. An example of other Tesla tips can be found on YouTube:

My philosophy is to read or watch some tutorials like this one, which will tell you some useful information that you would never have guessed. However, I can’t remember all the tips. It is better then to send your question to Google for that information that you really want and they will most likely remember it.


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