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 its fair share of limitations and therefore prompted me to look for a viable alternative. This has led me to Waze. I asked myself, does Tesla have Waze? And is Waze 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!

What Is Waze?

For those who aren’t familiar with Waze yet, let me explain briefly: It’s essentially a GPS app for your phone or tablet that provides real-time traffic updates and directions based on user input – so you can always find the best routes without wasting precious minutes stuck in traffic.

Now imagine having this same feature available right inside your car – wouldn’t that be awesome?! Let’s take a look at what the possibilities…

How To Get Waze Navigation App On Tesla

You cannot use Waze in any Tesla model to date. Specifically, you cannot download Waze to your Tesla directly and use it as a navigation app.

However, there is a way to use Waze on Tesla. 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 Car

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 on Tesla’s onboard computer and screen. However, you may encounter several issues if you connect Waze to your Tesla in this way. Examples of these issues include 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 of how to use Waze in Tesla further.

How To Change Tesla Navigation Voice When Using Waze

You can also customize how the voice sounds when providing directions – just go back into Settings > Navigation > Voice Language & Style to change between male/female voices or switch languages entirely.

So whether you’re looking for a more natural sounding voice or something completely different, now you know how to get it set up!

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). 

Does Tesla Navigation Use Google Maps?

Yes, 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. 

How To Access Tesla Navigation

Your Tesla’s touchscreen shows a map at all times, except when the vehicle is in reverse.

To navigate to a location (like an address or business), you can do the following:

  • tap the search bar in the corner of the map and type in a destination
  • send the destination from your phone
  • speak a voice command

Does Tesla Car Navigation Show Police?

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.

When using Google Maps in your Tesla, you can switch between different types of maps such as satellite view or terrain view by simply tapping on the desired option located at the top right corner of your screen.

How To Connect Google Maps To Tesla

To get started, make sure your smartphone is connected via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi to your vehicle’s infotainment system.

Then open up either the Apple CarPlay or Android Auto app on your phone, depending on what type of device you own.

Once those are both set up properly, launch the Google Maps app from inside the operating system interface. From there, you’ll be able to control the map using touch controls on either the center console touchscreen display or by speaking commands with voice recognition technology.

Using Google Maps on a Tesla model gives drivers an enhanced level of convenience when it comes to navigating unfamiliar roads and highways.

Not only does it provide accurate route information but it also provides real-time updates about local events like road closures or construction delays so drivers can plan accordingly for their journey ahead.

With its easy setup process and intuitive user experience, connecting Google Maps to a Tesla makes traveling just a little bit easier each time you hit the road!

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

Compatible With TeslaReal-Time Map UpdateCompatible With Voice ControlIncludes Speed TrapsFunctions Offline
WazeNoNoNoYesNo
Tesla NSYesYesYesNoYes
Google MapsYesYesYesNoYes
Waze vs. Tesla Navigation System vs. Google Maps: A feature comparison table.

Waze Interference 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.

Does Tesla use Apple Carplay?

Tesla cars don’t support Apple CarPlay or any other third-party infotainment systems. This means that you can’t simply plug in your iPhone and start using your favorite apps like Waze.

However, there are some ways around this. For example, you can use an app called Tesla Mirror which shows your phone screen on the Tesla’s touchscreen.

You can find out more about this and other options in this YouTube Video:

How Much Is Premium Connectivity Tesla?

Have you heard about the cost of Tesla’s premium connectivity? It’s definitely worth considering if you want access to all the advanced features.

For $9.99 per month, you get a range of benefits including live traffic visualization, satellite view maps and music streaming. Without premium connectivity, Tesla owners are limited in terms of their navigation system.

Does Tesla 3 Have USB Port?

The Tesla Model 3 comes equipped with multiple USB ports for convenient charging and connectivity on the go. You can easily charge your phone or other devices while driving, ensuring that you stay connected even on long trips.

Plus, if you want to use Waze on your Tesla, all you have to do is connect your smartphone to one of the USB ports and access the app through your phone’s screen. However, it’s important to note that using Waze on a Tesla may not be as seamless as using it on a traditional vehicle.

While the USB ports allow for easy connectivity, there are limitations when it comes to integrating third-party apps like Waze into the car’s system. You may need to rely on your phone’s screen for navigation while driving instead of having it integrated into the car’s touchscreen display.

Can A Tesla Access Waze Directly Without Any Third-Party Apps?

If you’re looking for an easy way to access navigation while driving your Tesla Model 3, there is a built-in navigation system that allows you to input your destination directly into the car’s touchscreen display. However, unlike other cars, you can’t use Waze directly on a Tesla car without any third-party apps.

What are the best third-party apps for using Waze in a Tesla?

ABRP (A Better Route Planner) and EVTO (Electric Vehicle Trip Optimizer) are popular third-party apps that allow you to use Waze in a Tesla.

Is using Waze in a Tesla legal?

To truly take advantage of Waze’s features while driving your Tesla, it’s important to know whether using the app is legal. While many drivers swear by Waze for its access to real-time traffic conditions and crowd-sourced road information, some states have laws that make it illegal to use any form of smartphone or tablet while behind the wheel.

In most cases, if you use Waze on a Tesla it is perfectly legal as long as you’re not physically holding your phone or tablet in your hand.

Many states have hands-free driving laws that allow you to use voice commands or Bluetooth connections to activate and control apps like Waze without taking your eyes off the road.

However, it’s always a good idea to check with local authorities before you start using Waze on your Tesla – especially if you plan on traveling across state lines where laws may differ.

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.

Check out these 20 great gift ideas for yourself or a Tesla fanboy.

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

A renowned Tesla enthusiast, and successful entrepreneur, enlightens global audiences through his compelling EV narratives. Discover more about his electric journey on his About Me page. Venture to read Erwin's incredible story that's reshaping the future of motoring. Want to spark a conversation with Erwin? Visit his Contact page, and let’s electrify the world together.