Tesla delivers on Elon Musk’s driver seat-activated Bluetooth feature

The Tesla Model 3's minimalistic interior. (Credit: Tesla)

Tesla’s latest software update 2020.8.1 (full release notes) that started rolling out earlier this week introduced a Bluetooth improvement that makes phone-to-car audio transitions seamless.

Instead of a Tesla automatically connecting to a paired smartphone when one opens the door or goes near the car, the vehicle will only connect to the paired phone after one occupies the driver’s seat and all the doors are closed.

This feature follows the confirmation of Tesla CEO Elon Musk in January that such improvement will soon be implemented. The idea came about when Tesla owner Rob Hoehn shared a suggestion from Reddit to Elon Musk, which involved the detection of a person in the driver’s seat before switching to Bluetooth.

“When a Tesla is unlocked and you’re in the middle of a call, it’s pretty eager to switch the audio from the phone over to the car. This can be frustrating when you’re in the middle of a call and you are not even inside the car yet. Or when you’re near the car and someone else gets in the car a similar thing happens,” Hoehn wrote.

Musk promptly replied with “Thanks for mentioning! We should’ve done this ages ago.”

The Bluetooth improvement might sound very simple but it is a very practical update that would save Tesla owners from frustration when their mobile device automatically connects to the car via Bluetooth even when they don’t need to. The seamless pairing of mobile devices would also lower the risk of distractions.

Countless features have been added to Tesla vehicles following Musk’s interaction with owners via Twitter. Last January, he also confirmed that a never-before-seen in-cabin camera can be used with Sentry Mode to help protect Teslas from vehicle break-ins.

Below is the portion of the 2020.8.1 firmware release notes about the Bluetooth improvement:

To improve the audio transition from phone-to-car when entering your vehicle, Bluetooth now connects to your paired phone only after you are sitting in the driver’s seat and all doors are closed. As a reminder, you can pair your phone to Bluetooth by touching the Bluetooth icon on the top of your touchscreen and then “Add New Device.”

Randell Suba: A curious soul who keeps wondering how Elon Musk, Tesla, electric cars, and clean energy technologies will shape the future, or do we really need to escape to Mars.
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