Tesla will now let drivers know when an app requests the vehicle’s location with a new feature in a software update.
Among the features in Tesla’s new 2023.38 software update is the “Location Sharing” functionality. It is a new feature that will give drivers a heads-up when an app is requesting live location data of the vehicle.
The notes for the function state (via Tesla-info):
“An icon appears at the top of your touchscreen when an app requests your vehicle’s live location data. You can turn off sharing at Controls > Safety > Allow Mobile Access. This also turns off Tesla app access. When this setting is on, your vehicle communicates directly with the Tesla app and other apps, but Tesla doesn’t track your location (see tesla.com/privacy).”
It is a step toward more transparency to the driver as to when an app wants to know where you are. The feature aligns with Tesla’s “Privacy First” mentality, which is to “ensure your personal data is in your hands, letting you decide what information you want to share—and when.”
Unfortunately, there is not all that much privacy when it comes to tech any longer, and there is little to no transparency when it comes to when apps may be using your location on smartphones or when using a computer.
However, the appearance of this icon on the home screen is a big step in the right direction for when people may want to know if their whereabouts are being requested. It is also a bit of a safety feature.
Perhaps the forgetful driver forgets to text their significant other that they’ve left work and they’ve decided to make a stop on the way home. There is no scarier feeling than when you are expecting some communication about a loved one’s whereabouts, and there is no response.
This still allows that person to use the Tesla app or another third-party app to check the car’s location, but it also could give the driver a heads-up. As the icon appears, it could be looked at as a reminder, “Maybe I need to shoot a text to my husband/wife to let them know I’m okay.”
While it is a safety feature for one party, it is a good sign of transparency for the other.
Some are poking fun at the new feature, as one member of the r/TeslaMotors subreddit called it “Ashley Madison Mode,” meaning it would give those will bad intentions during a committed relationship a notification as to when their significant other might be onto them.