How to set up Tesla Text Messaging to send and receive messages (2022)

By Nuno Cristovao

Teslas have the ability to send and receive text messages. Any message you receive while connected to the car will display the sender's name on the screen. You can then have the car read the message to you or dismiss it.

Being able to receive text messages is as simple as pairing your phone and turning on a few settings. If you’d like to reply or send a text message, you can do it completely through your voice.

How to Set Up Text Messaging

How to set up Tesla Text Messaging to send and receive messages (6)

How to set up text messaging in your Tesla

Not a Tesla App

  • Tap the Bluetooth icon at the top of the screen to go to Bluetooth settings.
  • You’ll see a list of phones and devices paired to your car. You’ll want to pair your phone now if you haven’t done so already.
  • You’ll need to make sure the phone you’re setting up messaging for is already connected. Then tap the name of your device on the left side.
  • You’ll see options for that device on the right side. You will want to have the “Sync Messages,” option turned on. It may also want to turn on the “Chime on New Message” option if you’d like the car to have an audible alert every time you receive a new message. If you leave this option off, the car will still display a notification on the car’s screen, but without a chime.

How to Send a Text Message

The only way to send a text message through your Tesla is using your voice.

How to set up Tesla Text Messaging to send and receive messages (7)

Your Tesla will read incoming text messages and allow you to respond

Not a Tesla App

  • On a Model S or Model X, tap the voice button on the top right side of the steering wheel.
  • On a Model 3 or Model Y, push in the right scroll wheel to start a voice command.
  • Then use the voice command, “Send text to Name”, Name being the person in your phone’s contacts that you’d like the message to be sent to. You’ll need to have your contacts synced to your car in order for this to function.
  • If you’d like to send or view text messages already sent during your trip. You can tap the Apps button (denoted by a ^) and choose Phone. From there tap the Messages tab and you'll see a list of all the contacts and messages you have sent and received during this trip. Messages already on your phone or sent in a previous drive will not show up here.

How to Receive a Text Message

How to set up Tesla Text Messaging to send and receive messages (8)

Your Tesla will display and read incoming text messages

Not a Tesla App

If your phone is connected via Bluetooth and you have the sync messages option turned on, you’ll now receive an alert every time you receive a text message.

You’ll hear a ding and the alert will appear on the screen along with the sender’s name. The message will be obscured until you choose it to be shown and read.

(Video) How To Enable Text Messaging on Tesla Model 3

  • Model 3 or Model Y
    • To view a text message and have the car read the message to you, press the right scroll wheel.
    • To dismiss a message, you can press the right scroll wheel twice.
    • To dictate a reply, you press the right scroll wheel once, followed by your reply. Once you're done, you can press the right scroll wheel again to send the message.
  • Model S or Model X
    • On the instrument cluster you will see different options that you can select with the scroll wheel and the select button that will let you view, reply or dismiss the text message.

Tips

Car doesn't recognize a name

If the car has a hard time recognizing a name in your phonebook, there are a couple things you can do. You can duplicate the contact on your phone, giving the second contact a name that the car will recognize. Alternatively, you can favorite the contact. By favoriting a contact you'll be able to easily start a text message with them by going to Apps (the ^ icon ), Phone and then Favorites. Each favorite or contact has a Call icon next to their name along with a Message icon that you can use to start a new conversation.

Re-dictate a message

If you have a Model 3 or Model Y, and you reply to someone, only to have the car not understand what you said, you can dictate your message again by pressing the right scroll wheel in twice. On a Model S or Model X, you have a selectable option to let you re-try dictating the message.

Stop reading a message

If the car is reading a long text message and you'd like to stop it, you can press the right scroll wheel two times to dismiss the message.

Playback volume

Although it would be a great feature, there is currently no way to adjust the volume at which text messages are read.

Troubleshooting

If you’re not receiving text messaging in the car you will want to confirm that your phone is paired and connected. You’ll also want to confirm that the ‘Sync Messages’ option is turned on in the car's Bluetooth settings.

You'll also want to check your phone's Bluetooth settings to make sure the phone is sharing the relevant data with the car. You'll want to go to Bluetooth settings and find your device which you're connecting to, which is the car in this case. It should be labeled as Tesla followed by the model and the name of your car. Then you can tap on the ( i ) icon for iPhone's or the gear icon for Android and you should see device specific settings. You will want to be sure that the car is sharing contacts and notification or text message data with the car.

If you’re still having trouble, you may want to try rebooting your car. If it still doesn't work, you can try unpairing the phone and repairing it again. Delete the device from the car's Bluetooth settings and also delete the car from your phone's Bluetooth settings. You can then repair and enable text messaging again.

Keep in mind that sending group messages or replying to group messages is not currently supported on some devices, including iPhones.

By Gabe Rodriguez Morrison

How to set up Tesla Text Messaging to send and receive messages (16)

The differences between Keep Climate, Dog Mode and Camp Mode

Not a Tesla App

(Video) How to set up SMS Text Messages on Tesla Model 3 with v10.2 update (2019.40.50.1)

Keep Climate On, Dog Mode, and Camp Mode all allow you to keep your vehicle's climate control system running while the vehicle is parked. These settings can maintain the cabin temperature in hot or cold weather conditions. However, there are some differences between the three options.

Tesla's 2022.12 update in April of 2022 added the ability to enable Dog Mode and Camp Mode directly from the mobile app, but you'll need to enable Keep Climate On from within the vehicle.

Keep Climate On

Keep Climate On is helpful in circumstances that require the car to remain at a specific temperature when no one is in the vehicle. For example, if you run into a store and want to maintain the cabin at an ideal temperature so that it's at an ideal temperature when you return.

Keep Climate On can only be enabled from within the vehicle. To activate it you go to the HVAC menu and choose the 'Keep' icon on the right.

The Keep Climate On option is very similar to activating the climate system from within the Tesla app. Where they differ is how long they'll remain on and which notifications Tesla will send you.

Keep Climate On will keep your HVAC system on indefinitely until it's either, turned off, or until the car's battery gets down to 20%. Whereas, turning on the climate system from within the app will only keep your cabin at a set temperature for up to two hours.

When using the app, Tesla will also send you multiple notifications letting you the climate system has been enabled for an extended period.

Dog Mode

Dog Mode was specifically created for your pet. It'll keep a comfortable cabin temperature for them while letting nearby individuals know that your pet is safe and comfortable inside the vehicle.

While Dog Mode is similar to Keep Climate On, there are a few significant differences.

The most obvious is that the display stays on. It displays an animated balloon animal and shows the temperature inside of the vehicle.

While Dog Mode is enabled, Sentry Mode and the vehicle's alarm are both disabled to prevent them from going off accidentally.

For more details about Dog Mode, view our Dog Mode page.

While you can monitor the vehicle's temperature from the Tesla app, Dog Mode should only be used for short periods while you are nearby in case the temperature cannot be maintained due to failure, a low battery or extreme temperatures.

Camp Mode

Camp Mode is designed for camping and offers a few additional features over Dog Mode and Keep Climate On.

While Camp Mode is enabled, the vehicle's USB ports and low-voltage socket remain powered so that you can charge devices or use electronics while Camp Mode is active.

The touchscreen also remains on, allowing you to use the vehicle's infotainment system to play music, browse the web, or watch streaming video. Similar to Dog Mode, the vehicle's alarm and Sentry Mode are both disabled while Camp Mode is active.

In Camp Mode, the vehicle's auto-locking system is also turned off, so you'll need to manually lock the vehicle by tapping the lock button on the screen before going to bed.

For more details about Camp Mode, view our Camp Mode page.

Feature Comparison

FeatureKeep ClimateDog ModeCamp Mode
Display stays on
Able to use infotainment
Can be enabled from app
Turns off when battery reaches 20%
Auto lock disabled
Most efficient
Sentry Mode can be used
Vehicle alarm is enabled

To activate Dog Mode or Camp Mode from the Tesla app, you can navigate to the Climate section and swipe up from the bottom. This will reveal some additional climate options, which include the ability to turn on Dog Mode and Camp Mode, as well as Defrost and Cabin Overheat Protection.

(Video) Tesla Version 2022.8.2 How to send a text message from the car

While Keep Climate On, Dog Mode and Camp Mode have some differences, they're also similar in a few ways.

To prevent you from returning to a vehicle with an empty battery, Keep Climate On, Dog Mode and Camp Mode are all automatically disabled if your vehicle battery reaches 20%. Tesla will attempt to send you multiple notifications letting you know that the climate mode you're in will soon be turned off.

Software updates can not be performed while these climiate modes are engaged and if you shift out of Park each of these modes is automatically turned off as well.

By Not a Tesla App Staff

How to set up Tesla Text Messaging to send and receive messages (24)

You can now remotely unlatch the driver's door latch on the Model 3 and Model Y

Tesla Info/YouTube

Tesla has updated its app for iOS to version 4.14, and with it come two new features.

(Video) How to Sync iPhone Text Messages With Your Tesla

The first is iOS lock screen widgets. There are two widgets to pick from, both of which display the vehicle's battery level. There's a small circular widget that fills in based on the vehicle's state of charge, and there's a larger widget that includes the vehicle's name and a numerical view of the vehicle's battery level, either in percent or miles/km, depending on what your app set to.

How to set up Tesla Text Messaging to send and receive messages (25)

Tesla introduces lock screen widgets for iOS

Not a Tesla App

The second feature is the ability to unlatch the driver's side door from the app.

The door handles on the Model 3 and Model Y aren't powered and with the right mix of water and cold weather, the door handle can sometimes freeze to the door frame.

The ability to unlatch the door from the app means that the door handle isn't used at all and the door is electronically unlatched, causing it to open just enough for you to grab the side of the door to fully open it.

Unlatch Door in Action

The ability to unlatch the door is only available on the Model 3 and Model Y and it requires your vehicle to be on update 2022.36 or later, which is currently about 35% of the Tesla fleet.

To unlatch the door you'll need to add the new "Unlatch Door" icon to the Quick Actions section of the Tesla app that appears under the vehicle visualization.

Update 2022.36.2Installed on 34% of cars2 Installs todayLast updated: Oct 17, 3:00 am

Unfortunately, Tesla hasn't added the ability to unlatch the door in any other areas of the app, such as the Climate or Controls section, but hopefully, that's coming in a future update.

Currently, version 4.14 of the app is only available for iOS but we expect it to be available in the Google Play store soon.

You can also view the release notes for Tesla app 4.14.

FAQs

How do I set up text messages on my Tesla? ›

You need to go into the settings. This is for an iphone. Go into the settings. And then go bluetooth

How do I enable text messages in my car? ›

To get message notifications automatically, you must turn on notifications for the Google app.
  1. On your device, go to Settings.
  2. Tap Apps & notifications Advanced Special app access Notification access. Google.
  3. Turn on Allow notification access.

How do I turn on sync messaging? ›

Receiving iPhone text messages with SYNC® 3
  1. Tap Settings > Bluetooth > SYNC*
  2. Set Show Notifications to ON.

How do I connect my phone messages to my car? ›

How to hear text messages in the car
  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap Bluetooth.
  3. Locate the name of your car in the Bluetooth list.
  4. Tap the i icon next to the name of your car.
  5. Tap the toggle next to Show Notifications to the On position.
  6. Turn the car off.
  7. Turn the car back on.
12 Jan 2021

Why am I not getting my text messages in my car? ›

Here is the problem: if a new app asks for permissions, it can block your texts in your car. Go to settings, then to apps and then look at all app settings. If an recently installed or updated app shows access to SMS that may be your problem.

How do I set up my phone for Tesla? ›

Pairing a Bluetooth Phone
  1. Ensure both the touchscreen and the phone are powered on.
  2. On your phone, enable Bluetooth and ensure it is discoverable. ...
  3. Touch the Bluetooth icon located at the top of the Controls screen.
  4. On the touchscreen, touch Add New Device > Start Search. ...
  5. Choose the phone with which you want to pair.

How do I connect my iPhone messages to my car? ›

  1. On your iPhone, touch Settings > Bluetooth > SYNC.
  2. Set Show Notifications to ON.

How do I sync my text messages with Sync? ›

How to Fix Sync Does Not Have Access to Text Messaging from ...

How can I see text messages on my Tesla? ›

To view a text message and have the car read the message to you, press the right scroll wheel. To dismiss a message, you can press the right scroll wheel twice. To dictate a reply, you press the right scroll wheel once, followed by your reply.

How do I sync my text messages with Sync 3? ›

Make sure your phone is paired. Learn how to pair your phone. Ensure SYNC text notifications are enabled.
...
Ensure SYNC text notifications are enabled.
  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Set Bluetooth®** to ON.
  3. Touch the Information icon that appears to the right of the SYNC name.
  4. Set Show Notifications to ON.
  5. Set SYNC Contacts to ON.

Can I connect my Tesla to my phone? ›

The Tesla mobile app allows you to communicate with Model 3 remotely using your iPhone® or Android™ phone.

Why won't Tesla connect to my phone? ›

Remove the car from the phone's Bluetooth, then turn off Bluetooth on the phone. Then remove both the Bluetooth audio and key in the car. Turn Bluetooth on for the phone, use the app to re-pair the key, and then re-pair the audio using the car.

Why doesn't my phone automatically connect to my Tesla? ›

So I suggest that you remove old Bluetooth connections from both your cell and vehicle, remove Tesla app, then reload the most current Tesla app and then add your cell as a new key card from the "Locks" menu. Then select the Bluetooth icon on car and add your cellphone.

What does sync text messages mean? ›

When you sync your messages, it means you copy them with another device. You can connect your Android or iPhone to a PC and sync messages. Both devices also can sync messages to the cloud. iPhone syncs messages to iCloud while Android does it with Google.

How do you turn on message sync on iPhone? ›

On your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud. Do one of the following: iOS 16: Tap Show All, tap Messages, then turn on Sync this iPhone.

Can you sync text messages? ›

Turn on the Bluetooth feature on both Android devices and pair them by confirming the passcode. Now, go to the Messaging app on the source device and select the messages that you wish to transfer. Go to its Settings and choose to "Send" or "Share" the selected SMS threads.

Can you send a text with Sync 3? ›

SYNC® 3 plus Android AutoTM Compatibility

Make calls, return missed calls and listen to voice mail, as well as send, read and reply to text messages and access your favorite music through your favorite apps.

Does Sync 3 read text messages? ›

Press the Voice button on your steering wheel and say, “Listen to message.” SYNC 3 will read the message aloud.

How do I turn on Bluetooth messaging on my Tesla? ›

How To Enable Text Messaging on Tesla Model 3 - YouTube

How do you sync contacts from Iphone to Tesla? ›

You have to turn it on in the car to sync contacts, and also go to the phone under settings -- bluetooth -- tesla model 3 and hit the "I" (information) button, then turn on "sync contacts".

How do I connect my Bluetooth to text messages? ›

How to Transfer SMS Via Bluetooth
  1. Turn on your Bluetooth device and pair it with another Bluetooth capable device. ...
  2. Navigate to the SMS messaging application.
  3. Select the message that you want to send.
  4. Press the "Menu" or "Options" key and select the option "Send via Bluetooth" or "Beam."
  5. People are Reading.

How do I sync my text messages with Bluetooth? ›

How to Use Text Messaging with iPhone® and MyFord Touch ...

How do I sync messages with my Tesla? ›

Touch the Bluetooth icon located at the top of the Controls screen. On the touchscreen, touch Add New Device > Start Search. A list of all available Bluetooth devices within operating distance displays on the Bluetooth settings screen. Choose the phone with which you want to pair.

Why doesn't my phone automatically connect to my Tesla? ›

So I suggest that you remove old Bluetooth connections from both your cell and vehicle, remove Tesla app, then reload the most current Tesla app and then add your cell as a new key card from the "Locks" menu. Then select the Bluetooth icon on car and add your cellphone.

How do I get iPhone messages on my Tesla screen? ›

Go to the Bluetooth setting on iPhone. Settings>Bluetooth>Tesla then turn in show notifications.

Videos

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2. TESLA TEXT MESSAGE - SETUP AND NON ENGLISH PROBLEMS
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3. Teslas Can Now Send You Text Messages
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4. How to send a text message in a Tesla using voice commands
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5. Tesla’s great text messaging integration
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6. How To Make Tesla Read/Reply To Text Messages
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