Tesla don’t provide a native watch app at this time. If you want to be able to control your Tesla from your Apple Watch you will need to look at third party apps. Watch for Tesla is a great example.
What options are there?
If you search for “Tesla Watch” in the App Store there are a few options, although your choices are limited. This is not a review of the different options and truth be told, I have not tested them all.
This is a review of one particular choice that I got to like, “Watch for Tesla”.
Being able to control your Tesla from your watch is useful but for me, but this isn’t the most important feature. Although this does enable me to control my Tesla from my watch when my phone is on charge this isn’t a typical problem for me as my phone is generally in my pocket. I would also point out that if I have my phone on me, I would generally rather use that. The screen is clearly bigger and much easier to use. That said there are times, such as when the kids have my phone or it is on charge that this feature is useful.
What I use the app for more than anything else is the Siri integration. This app comes with a companion app for the iPhone which enables you to setup Siri integration to complete a number of Tesla tasks. This is the golden component as the Siri integration means that once setup, I can use my phone, watch and even HomePod to run a Tesla task.
Apart from quick viewing notifications, I use Siri on my watch a lot to perform tasks. From turning on lights at home, running scenes, and now getting my Tesla ready to leave.
What can Watch for Tesla do?
Pretty much anything that can be achieved using the native Tesla app for iPhone can be accomplished on Watch for Tesla.
Before we look at the features, I will bring your attention to the top left of the screen. This is very important and shows your connection status to your Tesla. “Online” is typically what you want to see when are using any of the vehicle commands. This means your car is awake, connected, and ready to respond. The time in brackets (in this case 8 seconds) shows how long ago that status was last reported.
If your car is awake, typically if recently used or if sentry is running your watch will show the “Online” status quite quickly. At other times, it may take 5 – 20 seconds until the car is responding, similar to the time it takes for the Tesla app to be ready to accept commands.
From here you can do all the usual stuff, turn on climate, lock the doors, control the boot and frunk, etc. A simple press of the corresponding button will start that action. You can scroll down on the home screen for more. You can also scroll to the right for additional commands such as your seat heaters and window controls.
Siri Integration on Watch for Tesla
This for me is one of the most important and useful features of the app. Opening up the companion Watch for Tesla app on your iPhone and scroll down to settings will enable you to access the Siri shortcut menu.
By default there are no Siri commands pre-configured. You have to choose the ones you want. This is as simple as clicking the corresponding “Add to Siri” button. You can then choose your voice command. So why is this so useful? As Tesla owners we are spoilt. We never have to get into a cold car on a freezing day or a hot car when the sun is scorching. But it can be a bit of a faff.
An early morning start could be a case of opening the Tesla app 15 minutes before I want to leave to turn the climate on. Then, when the kids are getting into the car while I’m still locking up the house going back to the app to open the doors. Then when I walk out of the house going back into the app to unlock the charge port. It’s just not as simple as clicking the remote on your car key. And let’s face it, once you have a Tesla you will typically want to prep the car before leaving as it is a creature comfort we have come to know and love.
Siri integration solves these issues. I won’t talk about the vast number of controls you can set to be managed by Siri, you can see them for yourself on the app.
My typical use
15 minutes before I’m ready to leave the house, “Hey Siri, start Tesla”. Now this one is slightly different from the others as typically the car is sound asleep. I don’t use Sentry when at home so my car needs to wake up. The app will almost always respond after a few seconds with “Vehicle not online, keep trying?”. At this point the car is already waking but as you will already know, this can take a few seconds. I typically wait 5 seconds before saying “Yes”. The car is now online and climate is started using your last settings. The battery is also now warming up so you don’t have limited regen braking. You can go to your Tesla app, Watch for Tesla app on iPhone, or Watch for Tesla app on Watch and the same status will be shown. You can also customise any of these to amend the temperature or turn your heated seats on. However, if your heated seats were already on when you last left the car, they will be turned on automatically with the climate, exactly how it operates on the Tesla app.
As my kids walk out of the car, “Hey Siri, unlock Tesla”. A few seconds later the car is unlocked and the kids jump on.
As I walk out of the house “Hey Siri, unlock charge port” and I can just pull the cable out.
I also use Siri when out and about. Walking back to the car that has been parked up in a car park I say “Hey Siri, start Tesla”. By the time I reach the car, it is already at the right temperature and ready to go.
I also use the remote start feature when I have guests. I always use PIN to drive, but there will be times I have people in the car and I don’t want them to see me enter my PIN. Instead, I say, “Hey Siri, remote start” and the PIN is entered automatically and I’m ready to go.
I like having the complication too. On the top right of my Apple Watch, I can see the car status. This is currently showing as 56% charged and asleep. It also shows it was last updated 3 hours ago and that is because the car is currently asleep. You can set the app to keep waking the car to get a current status. However, I would rather not use the battery when I don’t need to. After all, we all need sleep! Great when you are out and about and want to quickly check.
Overall the app is worth the small cost and brings an additional level of convenience to owning a Tesla. I don’t often use the app itself but having the complication and the ability to integrate with Siri is why it is worth it for me.
I couldn’t write this article to talk about the one elephant in the room and that is security. With any third party app you have to grant permissions to the app to communicate with your Tesla. This means either providing it with your Tesla username and password or a security token. Security 101 tells us you should never share your passwords so you do need to be mindful of that. A lot of people are concerned and I did a lot of research before deciding to go ahead. The app states that they never store your credentials but as with anything like this, there is risk. Personally, I have been using this app for over 2 years on 2 different Tesla’s and have never had any issues but you need to decide if this decision is for you.
Watch for Tesla can be purchased here: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/watch-app-for-tesla/id1512108917
If you want to ready more about my experience of owning an EV, https://which-tech.co.uk/electric-cars-evs-real-world-mileage-and-running-costs/