Can You Use Waze in a Tesla? Comparisons and Limitations

Most software applications don’t quite fulfill my every need, and the Tesla on-board navigation is no exception. It has it’s fair share of limitations and therefore prompted me to look for a viable alternative. This has led me to Waze and made me ask if it is even usable in a Tesla.

You can use Waze in a Tesla, but not as a built-in app. You can open your vehicle’s built-in browser and go to the Waze website. Alternatively, you can open the Waze app on your phone and sync it with your Tesla via Bluetooth. However, you cannot install Waze as an app on your Tesla directly.

So what exactly is the use of Waze if you cannot use it as an app in your Tesla? I took a deeper look and found a few interesting tidbits, that may help the average Tesla driver with a few workarounds. So read on further to find out!

You cannot use Waze in any Tesla model to date

Specifically, you cannot download it directly to your vehicle and use it as a navigation app. However, you can access Waze via your vehicle’s browser (albeit not without issues), or sync the Waze app on your phone to any Tesla vehicle via Bluetooth.

Interestingly, this compatibility issue wasn’t always a problem. Years ago, there was a Waze app compatible with Teslas called TeslaWaze, which drivers could access via their Google browser. Unfortunately, this app is no longer accessible as of 2018 due to a lack of funding.

Waze-In-Car-Navigation-On-Phone
Photo by Sean D on Unsplash

Using Waze From Your Phone To Sync With Tesla

You can use Waze from your phone to sync with Tesla. All you have to do is install the app on your phone, enable Bluetooth for both your phone and Tesla, turn on your phone’s mobile hotspot, and connect your phone and vehicle.

Using Waze With Tesla’s On-Board Computer and Screen

You can use Waze Tesla’s onboard computer and screen. However, you may encounter several issues, such as outdated data, the inability of the Waze website to load on your browser, and the inability to run the app concurrently with other functions like playing music. 

If you’d like to find out the steps on how to setup Waze in a Tesla, you can check out this related article that I wrote called: Third-Party Navigation Apps. I also gave the steps for other third-party apps.

Tesla-Third-Party-Navigation-Apps

How To Access the Waze Website on a Tesla

To access the Waze website on a Tesla, go to your vehicle’s built-in web browser and enter the URL waze.com/waze. From there, you may access some of Waze’s features. To navigate, select Live Maps to use your local map in real-time while driving. 

Here’s a YouTube video that outlines the process further.

Limitations of Using Waze on a Browser

If you’re a regular user of the mobile version of Waze, using the app via Tesla’s browser can be frustrating. The Waze website works like most other navigation websites: You can see different routes, enter a starting point and desired destination, and so on.

As you can imagine, however, the experience isn’t as good as when you’re using the app version.

One of the biggest drawbacks of the Waze website is that the information there isn’t as accurate as the one from the app. That’s because the app updates its information based on data collected from active users in real-time — and these users usually work with the mobile version.

For whatever reason, it never occurred to Waze’s developers to find a way to automatically sync the information between the browser and mobile versions.

There are other issues when using the built-in browser version of Waze. For example:

  • The website may not load on your browser. 
  • If you want to do something else (e.g., adjust the volume of music you’re playing), the browser will minimize. That means you have to manually open the Waze window every time you need to use it, instead of just letting it run in the background.

How Waze Compares With Other Navigation Apps

Even though there are ways to work around the problem of not being able to use Waze on your Tesla directly, it can be a hassle to go through the extra trouble of doing those workarounds in the first place.

If you’d rather not use Waze for this reason, how does it stack up against its competitors — namely, Tesla’s built-in navigation system and Google Maps? 

Waze vs. Tesla’s Navigation System

You may prefer Tesla’s navigation system over Waze for one obvious reason:

It’s compatible with your vehicle. You can run it in the background and do other things like play music without worrying about the app cramping your style as Waze will.

Other handy features include Voice Control (for a completely hands-off experience) and the offline function (which isn’t available for Waze). 

Also, Tesla uses Google Maps as a base for its map system. That means the system is frequently updated, reflecting route changes in real-time. On the other hand, Waze updates its live map every 24 hours. That’s more than enough time to miss, say, crucial details like last-minute road construction works.

For the most part, Tesla’s navigation system is quite accurate, though the Tesla GPS can fail you sometimes. That’s because it doesn’t account for the weather or other possible interruptions during a trip like tolls. 

Tesla’s maps may update in the blink of an eye, but the same can’t be said of the navigation software itself. The latter is updated about once every six months or so. 

One advantage of Waze over Tesla’s navigation system is the ability to show you speed traps, thanks to the constant updates from active Waze users. To date, Tesla has yet to include this feature in its Navigation System.

Waze vs. Google Maps

If there’s a third-party navigation app that can remotely come close to competing with Waze, it’s Google Maps. Both apps are pretty popular, though they have some differences that can make one better than the other depending on what you’re looking for.

One crucial difference is the main purpose of the apps. Waze is used exclusively for driving, meaning it focuses on real-time information to guide you toward the fastest route possible. On the other hand, Google Maps relies on different ways to collect data, shows you alternative paths you might want to take, and isn’t necessarily only for motorists. 

Like the Tesla Navigation System (and unlike Waze), Google Maps can work offline.

Also, like the Tesla Navigation System, you can download the Google Maps app directly to your Tesla. You don’t have to worry about compatibility issues, you can use it alongside other features, and you can opt to operate it through Voice Control as well.

Here’s a table summarizing what you need to know about the differences between these three navigation systems:

Compatible With TeslaDaily Map UpdateCompatible With Voice ControlIncludes Speed TrapsFunctions Offline
WazeNoYesNoYesNo
Tesla NSYesNoYesNoYes
Google MapsYesNoYesNoYes
Waze vs. Tesla Navigation System vs. Google Maps: A feature comparison table.

Waze Interfere With Tesla Auto-Pilot Functions

It’s unknown whether Waze will interfere with Tesla’s Autopilot. However, as Autopilot is designed to make Waze obsolete (at least, as far as Teslas are concerned), it’s safe to assume that attempting to run both apps at the same time may cause issues.

If you want to know more about Autopilot versus other navigation apps (including Waze), Mashable has an interesting write-up on the topic.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Find Chargers on Waze?

You can find chargers on Waze as of December 2021. Electric vehicle owners can find updated, real-time information regarding their closest charging points.

Can I Use a Better Route Planner on Tesla?

You can use A Better Route Planner on Tesla, but only if your vehicle has been manufactured after 2019. The app does not work with older Tesla models.


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Can You Use Waze in a Tesla? Comparisons and Limitations 1
Erwin Meyer
Erwin Meyer

Thanks for visiting evspeedy.com. The goal of this site is to be a helpful resource for Tesla and EV owners as this is where my passion lies. I was a TSLA shareholder before the hype and still am. I also believe in Tesla’s speedy mission to accelerate the world to a sustainable future.