Tesla Software Update Notice Heralds End Of Jailbreaking


A Tesla software update notice may herald the end of jailbreaking in the EV company’s vehicles, particularly among those that are purchased second hand from third-party sellers. The announcement begs the question: should Tesla still be considered just another automaker? 

A Tesla owner who wished to remain anonymous shared a notice with Tesmanian from the electric car maker about the upcoming software update. According to the software update notice, the EV maker is enhancing its network for increased security. The notice also explained that vehicles which aren’t updated by May 1, 2020, will no longer receive over-the-air updates in the future. Failure to update by this deadline also will also result in losing access to the Tesla Mobile App, voice commands, and media streaming capabilities, among others.  

Following is Tesla’s in-car notice in full. 

“The Tesla network is undergoing enhancements for increased security. In order to maintain compatibility with and access to connected vehicle features, this vehicle requires a software update to at least version 2019.40.2.3. If not updated prior to 1-MAY-2020, this vehicle may no longer be able to receive over-the-air software updates, access the Tesla Mobile App & associated features, utilize voice commands, receive streaming media content, and other connectivity dependent features may be impacted. Please install the available software update by selecting the yellow clock icon and choosing a convenient time. If you are persistently experiencing software update installation failures, please schedule a service appointment via the Tesla Mobile App,” Tesla wrote.


Tesla did not state it in its notice, but the software update requirement may be directed towards owners whose vehicles are currently Jailbroken. Teslas are tech-centric cars, and much of their features are tied to software. This means that some features can be activated and deactivated by the electric car maker once the vehicle receives an update. While Tesla’s in-car software is easily managed in vehicles directly purchased from the company, there are times when things get quite tricky, especially among cars bought from third-party sellers

Third-party sellers such as Phil Sadow, an independent Tesla repair specialist, have taken it upon themselves to jailbreak vehicles whose features have been disabled following a software update. Through jailbreaking, specialists such as Sadow are able to restore features that would otherwise not be enabled in a vehicle that’s regularly receiving updates from Tesla. These all come with risks, of course, since jailbreaking voids the vehicle’s warranty. 

In a way, Tesla’s recent in-car notice shows a lot of the company’s tech side. Jailbreaking, after all, is a process that was popularized among Apple enthusiasts who wanted to get the most out of their iOS devices. Jailbroken iPhones became quite popular during the days of the iPhone 3GS and the iPhone 4S, though the practice has mostly declined today. The electric car maker is similar to Apple in this sense, showing just how much of a tech company Tesla is. 

This makes sense if one considers that Tesla’s software updates are designed to keep vehicles running as smoothly as possible. By jailbreaking a car, owners risk being unable to receive critical safety features. This could become a safety risk. 

Overall, the lesson here seems to be that if one wishes to purchase a second-hand Tesla, it is best to do so through the company’s own pre-owned cars from its inventory. Each second-hand vehicle that Tesla sells is certified by the company itself, which means that there will likely be no confusion about which features are or are not in the car being bought. This ultimately benefits buyers, preventing them from potential headaches that may come in the future. 

Featured Image Credit: @chaserobertsonn/Twitter

About the Author

Claribelle Deveza

Claribelle Deveza

Longtime writer and news/book editor. Writing about Tesla allows me to contribute something good to the world, while doing something I love.

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