‘Embarrassingly late’ Tesla app update will introduce two-factor authentication

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A Tesla Model X similar to this one crashed in 2018.
Tesla's app lets owners remotely operate vehicle features.
Photo: Tesla

The official Tesla app is finally getting two-factor authentication (2FA) — in an update that Tesla CEO Elon Musk himself admits is “embarrassingly late.”

2FA is necessary for the Tesla app because it allows users to remotely control features such as locking and unlocking the vehicle, locating it, flashing its lights, and more. The addition of extra security is therefore something that would be extremely useful.

“Two factor authentication via sms or authenticator app is going through final validation right now,” Musk wrote on Twitter over the weekend.

2FA verifies that a person is who they claim to be by combining their password with another piece of evidence, such as a message sent on their phone.

As Musk acknowledges, the addition of this feature is particularly late. (Surprising given how ahead-of-the-curve Tesla generally is when it comes to, well, everything.) Musk promised two factor authentication initially in May 2019. However, for some reason it has taken a lot longer to implement than customers might have expected.

It’s not clear when the feature will finally make its debut. The Tesla app was last updated at the end of June 2020. Version 3.10.7 of the app added “minor fixes and improvements.”