In another "expectations versus reality" episode, people found out that the 2023 Holiday Update was not as groundbreaking as they expected, especially considering the secrecy surrounding it. The Release Notes confirmed some of the rumored features from earlier software leaks, but most of the additions to Tesla software can be grouped in the "meh" category. Compared with past years' Holiday Updates, this one seems like a letdown unless Tesla has some undocumented killer changes up its sleeves. Here's everything included in the release notes.
Entertainment: Apple Podcasts Integration and Tesla Arcade UpdatesApple Podcasts for Tesla app syncs with your Apple devices so you can seamlessly follow shows, save episodes, and pick up right where you left off. You can access the app from the application launcher after logging in by scanning the QR code and entering your Apple ID. Premium Connectivity is required for this feature to work.
As usual, Tesla updated its gaming platform with new features. In Beach Buggy Racing, you can now unlock new vehicles and tracks, and you can match your vehicle's color to the one set in Toybox > Colorizer. Polytopia Diplomacy Update adds new peaceful and hostile interactions, and the Vampire Survivors Chilling Update brings a new wintry Whiteout map, along with a new character, achievements, and items to collect. Tesla also added support for PS4, PS5, and Xbox controllers, including rumble effects in select Tesla Arcade games.
Safety: Automatic 911 calls and Automatic Blind Spot CameraAs we found out in October, Tesla EVs will be able to automatically call 911 after a crash if the airbags are triggered. A countdown timer allows you to cancel the call before it's placed if you don't need 911. For this to work, your phone needs to be connected to the vehicle via Bluetooth.
Tesla introduced the Blind Spot Camera feature with the 2021 Holiday Update, but this year, it enhanced it with a new safety feature. The Blind Spot Camera view now alerts you with red shading along the edge when your turn signal is on and your vehicle detects an object or another car in your blind spot.
Navigation: Speed cameras on your route and Trip Planner on Mobile AppAs rumored before, the Tesla navigation map now displays symbols along your route to show speed cameras, stop signs, and traffic lights. To access this feature, you need to turn on Online Routing in Navigation. This feature also requires Premium Connectivity.
Tesla owners will also be able to plan a trip on their mobile app. This includes adding multiple stops and charging stops. You can then send it to your Tesla Navigation by selecting Send to Car when you're done.
The update also includes a minor improvement for charging location search in the vehicle map. You can also filter charging stations based on their charging speeds. Three lightning bolts show locations with more than 70 kW, while one lightning bolt shows those with 70 kW or less.
More cameras in Live Camera ViewYou can now access left and right pillar cameras when you view your vehicle surroundings from the Tesla app. Unfortunately, this is not the bird's-eye-view feature that people wanted, and, disappointingly, Tesla will not use pillar cameras for Sentry Mode. On the plus side, the Live Camera stream is end-to-end encrypted so that not even Tesla can access it.
Light Show enhancementsThe Light Show has been a very popular feature introduced with the 2021 Holiday Update. Tesla has since improved this function with new features in the subsequent Holiday Updates, and this year is no different. Tesla added "The Arrival" tune by Irving Victoria, which you can play right away or schedule up to 10 minutes in advance. As always, you can play solo or sync with your friends Teslas for added drama.
Light Show enthusiasts can now play multiple custom Light Shows from the same USB flash drive. To use this feature, you need to save the show files to a directory named "LightShow" on your flash drive, connect, and select the one you want.