Tesla prepares to support third-party apps – Tesla App Store coming?

Tesla is preparing to officially support third-party apps, according to an update to its user settings on its website. Are we about to finally see a Tesla App Store?

The idea of a Tesla App Store to let third-party apps run on Tesla vehicles is far from new. Since Tesla launched the Model S in 2012, the automaker has talked on and off about releasing a software development kit (SDK) to create a full third-party app ecosystem on its giant center touchscreens.

The automaker has since made an unofficial API that enables some very basic third-party apps, but it is mostly used for mobile and browser-based apps rather than being a full SDK.

In 2016, CEO Elon Musk said that they instead planned to move to app mirroring from phone to center console. This is similar to services like Apple’s CarPlay and Android Auto, where the phone is responsible for displaying infotainment information on the car’s display.

CarPlay is another feature that many Tesla owners have demanded, but Tesla appears to have given that up, too, as it prefers to own the user experience inside its vehicles.

Over the years, Tesla has grown closer to releasing an app store with new features, like Tesla Theater and Tesla Arcade, which have a bunch of streaming apps and video games, but the automaker is working directly with those companies to integrate those apps and features.

The last time Musk talked about Tesla launching an Apple-like app store was in 2019, but we haven’t seen anything since… until now.

Tesla has added a new section in the settings of its user accounts to “manage third-party apps” (first spotted by Not A Tesla App):

While it doesn’t confirm an app store, it is a step in the right direction. At the very least, it might mean that Tesla is preparing to deploy a more official way for third-party apps to access Tesla owner data.

Electrek’s Take

With millions of vehicles on the road now and Tesla having the capacity to add another roughly 2 million every year, it should be easy to create a nice developer community to develop some cool third-party apps for Tesla vehicles.

I am hoping that this is the goal here.

What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.

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