Story image

A deep dive into the Kontrol app for Tesla

Article by Rae Steinbach

Tesla is often praised for manufacturing vehicles that are better for the environment than most cars. While that’s a good reason to admire the company, it isn’t the only one. Drivers also want vehicles that are safe, comfortable, and loaded with useful features. 

Tesla aims to embody these values, which is what inspired them to develop the Kontrol for Tesla app. This native app design for mobile devices expands on the features of the current Tesla app. On top of that, it’s free.


Tesla, like other tech companies, always seems to strike the balance between pleasing design and practical functionality. Kontrol for Tesla’s design was clearly inspired by these values. Featuring sleek, clean visuals, the app mirrors the aesthetic qualities of a Tesla Model S. 

Start with an in-depth look at the UI. It doesn’t feature many bright, garish visuals. Instead, the simple colour palette and clean lines reflect the aesthetics of Tesla’s vehicles. The UI for this type of app should allow users to quickly see and digest important information. In fact, the design is very similar to that of an efficient vehicle dashboard.


A pleasing UI isn’t worth much if the app doesn’t offer useful functionality. Luckily, Kontrol for Tesla offers all the features currently available on the Tesla app. It’s easy to switch over from the current Tesla app without losing any of the information or features that Users have already grown accustomed to. Major functions the new Kontrol for Tesla app preserve include the following:

  • Checking charging progress in real-time.
  • Changing vehicle temperature before driving.
  • Locating vehicle and tracking its movement.
  • Flashing lights/honking horn, when you can’t find your Tesla in the parking lot.
  • Venting or closing the panoramic roof.
  • Locking or unlocking the vehicle.

The new app also provides extra features, including:

  • Starting your car with Touch ID, instead of typing in your password every time.
  • Smart Climate functions that allow you to warm up your vehicle to the precise desired temperature before you leave the house.
  • Using 3D Touch or the widget to honk the horn, unlock the vehicle, or check battery status without having to open the app.
  • Smart venting the vehicle when it gets too hot.


Obviously, security is extremely important when using an app that controls your vehicle. To ensure your data is as safe as possible, Kontrol for Tesla doesn’t store your user credentials, like your username and password. Instead, that information remains stored on Apple’s iOS Secure Keychain. That means the data can’t be accessed via other apps on your phone.

Unless the app is communicating directly with Tesla’s API Server, it won’t use your credentials when communicating with Kontrol for Tesla’s server.  It doesn’t even save or store user credentials when the app is running. Also, the app relies on Touch ID authentication before accessing your credentials from the iOS Secure Keychain.

Kontrol for Tesla adheres to the practice of using Apple Transport Security, a new requirement for iOS 9.0 that ensures all client-server communication is made securely through HTTPS protocols.

When the app does communicate directly with Tesla’s API Server, the server provides a certificate for the app to verify. Kontrol for Tesla take the following steps to ensure its validity:

  • The app confirms the certificate was signed by a Certificate Authority.
  • It makes sure the certificate contains the Tesla API domain in the response.
  • Once these steps are validated, the app matches the server-provided certificate with the one stored in the app.
  • For jailbroken devices, use of the app is prevented until a user’s credentials, session token, and local preferences have been verified.

Towards the Future

This is only the first iteration of Kontrol for Tesla. Its developers have already announced plans to offer even more features in the years to come. For instance, a future release may allow users to track personal vs. business miles when driving a Tesla. This could save both individuals and organisations a lot of money.

Article by Rae Steinbach

Three ways to improve mental health support in the workplace
“Instead of scrambling into action after a crisis, employers need to be more proactive in supporting employees."
Kordia launches Women in Tech scholarship at the University of Waikato
The scholarship is established to acknowledge and support up-and-coming female talent and future technology leaders.
Samsung joins a global league of AI experts
“As a member of the PAI, Samsung will strive to facilitate the ongoing progress of artificial intelligence.”
'DerpTrolling’ faces jail time for Sony DoS attacks
A United States federal court has charged a 23-year-old man for the hacks on Sony Online Entertainment and other major companies back in 2014.
Kiwis concerned about being scammed – survey
This unease is warranted given the growing sophistication of scammers and their activities, and numbers of attempted fraud.
With a mighty roar, Rocket Lab blasts off to space
Success! It definitely was business time for Rocket Lab yesterday as its Electron launch vehicle blasted off from the Māhia Peninsula yesterday (November 11).
Trust us, we’re Nvidia: GeForce RTX 20-series GPU preview
When I caught up with Brian Burke, Nvidia’s gaming tech PR guy, at PAX AUS in Melbourne, I didn’t hold back. I asked him why should Kiwis part with such a huge amount of money for something that, right now, doesn’t do a lot.
Xiaomi fans bubble over at Mi Store grand opening
The fans filled Auckland’s Westfield Sylvia Park to take advantage of the opening specials and get their hands on some Xiaomi tech.