Tesla upgrades owner safety with clever app feature toggle

Credit: Tesla Inc.

Tesla is upgrading safety with a clever new feature that will allow the owner to disable passive authentication, which unlocks the vehicle when an authorized phone comes into range of the car.

In the past, Tesla owners would have their vehicles automatically unlocked and started if an authorized smartphone was in range of the car.

More of a convenience feature than anything, the passive authentication allowed an easier entry for owners and automatically started the vehicle, which essentially let drivers hop in and drive without ever touching a button.

However, Tesla may have realized this feature could be more of a hazard for some. While the range is not necessarily monumental, and the vehicle unlocks when the driver was within a few feet, it still seems that someone with ill intentions could take advantage of this and break into the car in an attempt to steal belongings.

Tesla is adding the feature with app update version 4.20.75, and it will now feature a toggle button that will give owners the opportunity to choose whether passive authentication is active or not.

As previously mentioned, this is likely a security measure for those who could be traveling in dicey areas. However, it is just another way the vehicle can be catered to an owner’s preferences.

If it was an addition for safety reasons, it only adds to Tesla’s robust suite of features that helps keep drivers safe.

One of the most notable examples is Sentry Mode, which automatically begins recording the vehicle’s surroundings on a Tesla’s exterior cameras, capturing footage of anyone who gets a tad too close. This feature has helped solve numerous crimes, including burglaries and instances of vandalism over the years.

Tesla also hinted toward other possibilities within the app update, including the potential for a voting system with the Loot Box. Tesla App Updates stated it appears to be related to the Earth Day photo contest.

I’d love to hear from you! If you have any comments, concerns, or questions, please email me at joey@teslarati.com. You can also reach me on Twitter @KlenderJoey, or if you have news tips, you can email us at tips@teslarati.com.

Joey Klender: Joey has been a journalist covering electric mobility at TESLARATI since August 2019. In his time at TESLARATI, Joey has broken several big stories, including the first images of the Tesla Model S Plaid, the imminent release of the 4680 Model Y through EPA certification, and several expansions to the Lucid AMP-1 factory in Arizona, to name a few. His stories have been featured in several publications, including Yahoo! Finance, Fox News, CNET, and Seeking Alpha. In his spare time, Joey is playing golf, watching MMA, or cheering on any of his favorite sports teams, including the Baltimore Ravens and Orioles, Miami Heat, Washington Capitals, and Penn State Nittany Lions. You can get in touch with joey at joey@teslarati.com. He is also on Twitter @KlenderJoey.
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