How to Turn Off Tesla Location Tracking: Making Your Trips Private

By Nicki Schill •  Updated: 08/07/22 •  6 min read

Do you always feel like someone is watching you? Well, if you’re driving a Tesla, chances are that someone is. Before you freak out, it’s a common technological advancement in lots of vehicles these days, and location tracking services are actually pretty useful.

But if you’re adamant that you need to get off the grid, so to speak, then we’ll cover how you can turn off Tesla’s location tracking.

What Teslas Use Location For?

The location tracking feature can be quite handy for locating your car in a large parking garage or, even more importantly, if your Tesla was ever stolen.

Having the ability to quickly pinpoint exactly where your vehicle is, is precisely why Tesla thought location services were important to add to the vehicle and the mobile app.

So if you’re thinking about disabling those location services, you’ll want to make sure it’s for a really good reason. Because as one user pointed out, “It is an important function of the car to know the speed it is traveling, to know elevation changes, and to provide extremely valuable route and power predictions.”

Not only are location services great for tracking down your vehicle, but also they help your Tesla navigate better in different terrains.

Why Would People Want to Turn Off Location Tracking?

Against better judgment, some drivers want their rides to be private. Maybe you’re planning a surprise party and need to scope out locations. Or it could be more dire and an emergency situation where you need to get away from someone or somewhere dangerous.

Families who share a Tesla often come up with this problem where someone wants to turn off the location tracking. Parents and teenagers want to have a little freedom from each other. Like this teenager who simply wants to visit locations that his dad doesn’t approve of. Even couples might want to turn it off from each other in a show of good faith. 

Turning off location tracking is an easy fix so that other users of the vehicle or the Tesla app can’t track the car’s position at all times.

How to Turn Off Location Tracking in Your Tesla

If you’re hell-bent on wanting to turn off location tracking, there are a couple of ways to go about it. But really there’s only one that’s recommended and has the least impact on other features of the Tesla.

Turn Off Total Mobile Access Inside the Car

Turning off mobile access will prevent other app users from seeing the car’s location.

To do this, on your main touchscreen, go to Quick Controls and Safety and toggle off “Allow Mobile Access.”

Here’s a quick video clip on how to turn off your mobile access in the latest software update.

You’ll also have to enter your Tesla password to turn off mobile access.

Now keep in mind that some other functionality will be limited when you turn off mobile access. Navigation features will be limited as the Tesla can’t access routing info.

Turn Off Location From Mobile App

It’s not actually possible to turn off location from the mobile app. The Mobile Access feature is only found inside the vehicle through the main touchscreen. 

It’s recommended that if you’re really just trying to keep your drive hidden from others to go ahead and turn off mobile access in the vehicle. 

As this user notes, “There is no way to disable tracking in the app, but there is a way to turn off app access in the car. If you do that, the app can’t get data from the car and won’t be able to display any information. It’s on the configuration screens of the car. It requires the account password to turn off access. (Same password the app uses.)”

Disconnect the GPS antennae or purchase a jammer

Though not recommended by Tesla, some users have gone to extremes to block their location tracking, including removing the GPS antennae altogether or purchasing a GPS tracking jammer. 

These alternative methods may do some long-term damage to your Tesla, so be very hesitant before you take these measures. Disconnecting physical parts of the vehicle or installing somewhat-illegal hardware is serious business and should really only be left to professionals to address actual bugs in your Tesla.

Frequently Asked Questions About Tesla Location Tracking

Location tracking was originally built as a security feature by Tesla, and as stated above, it’s especially useful if the vehicle is ever stolen

Can a stolen Tesla be tracked?

Yes, it definitely can, and this has helped reunite lots of Tesla owners with their stolen vehicles. Like this thief who got caught in California after leaving the Tesla when the battery ran out. Using the app, they had been able to track the location the entire way.

The best part of Tesla’s security system is that even if a thief tried to disable tracking in the mobile settings, they’d need to enter your Tesla account password to do it.

How does Tesla track location?

Just like any other GPS system, Tesla uses a series of satellites to transmit location signals. From there, drivers and owners can receive real-time vehicle location data. 

Your Tesla won’t store its driving history, but location data is streamed to the Tesla servers in real-time. 

If you want to get into the weeds more on how GPS actually works to track location, here’s an in-depth explanation.

Can you hide your Tesla location?

For those who are looking to hide their locations, you’ll have to disable remote mobile access as we’ve described above. This way, users of the app can’t see where you’re driving. 

Final Thoughts

It might not be a top priority for you to disable location tracking on your Tesla, but for some, it can be an important feature.

Now you know that in order to “go dark,” you’ll have to turn off mobile access in your vehicle. That’s the only surefire, safe way to drive undetected.

Nicki Schill

Nicki Schill is a writer and content marketer out of Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. As the former Geotab Marketing Manager, she’s got loads of experience in electric vehicles and fleet electrification. She’s a tech blogger and marketing guru who enjoys all things Canadian like hockey and poutine.

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