Apple Music Audio Quality in Your Tesla Compared to Spotify and Tidal

By Lennon Cihak
A look at Apple Music's audio quality
A look at Apple Music's audio quality

Apple Music may be available in Tesla’s new holiday update, but don’t expect the lossless audio quality that Apple Music subscribers enjoy… at least not yet.

Tesla owner and software developer Dan Burkland recently performed some tests on the audio quality that Tesla’s in-car streaming services TIDAL, Spotify, and now Apple Music stream at in the vehicle.

Burkland tested TIDAL previously on a different Tesla software version, but with Tesla’s ever-changing software and the rollout of the holiday update, he chose to run the tests again.

Setup and Songs Used to Test

He connected his Model Y to his home's WiFi network and used a DHCP reservation, which allowed him to have the vehicle use a specific IP address. He then installed ntopng on his OPNsense firewall to monitor traffic statistics for the vehicle. After zeroing out the host stats for the Model Y, he tested a total of nine songs, including “Purple Rain” by Prince, “Foreplay” by Boston, and “Kashmir” by Led Zeppelin.


The results of Burkland’s tests concluded that TIDAL still offers the best listening experience. The average bitrate for TIDAL was ~1165 kbps. This isn’t entirely too shocking, as TIDAL has always championed the highest-quality audio streaming experience.

Surprisingly, Spotify’s audio quality came in ahead of Apple Music to nab second place. Burkland’s tests showed Spotify streaming at an average bitrate of ~157 kbps, while Apple Music came in at a subpar ~118 kbps.

Burkland added that he believes Apple Music is limiting bitrate for the in-car app, but a future update to Tesla’s software will hopefully resolve this. If Tesla can enable lossless streaming for Apple Music, it’ll give TIDAL a run for its money in high-fidelity streaming via the in-car app.

Check out some of Dan’s test results below, or for a complete list view his Reddit thread.

So Many Tears by 2Pac Young Lust by Pink Floyd Dancing In The Dark by Bruce Springsteen
Length (MM:SS) 3:59 3:30 4:05
Length (Seconds) 239 210 245
Est. Data Transfer @ 96 Kbps (MB) 2.80 2.46 2.87
Est. Data Transfer @ 128 Kbps (MB) 3.73 3.28 3.83
Est. Data Transfer @ 160 Kbps (MB) 4.67 4.1 4.79
Est. Data Transfer @ 192 Kbps (MB) 5.60 4.92 5.74
Est. Data Transfer @ 256 Kbps (MB) 7.47 6.56 7.66
Est. Data Transfer @ 320 Kbps (MB) 9.34 8.2 9.57
Est. Data Transfer @ 1411 Kbps (MB) 41.17 36.17 42.2
Apple Music (MB) 4.10 3.20 4.80
Apple Music (Bitrate - Kbps) 140.53 124.83 160.50
Spotify (MB) 6.70 5.80 2.90
Spotify (Bitrate - Kbps) 229.65 226.26 96.97
Tidal (MB) 27.40 21.50 30.50
Tidal (Bitrate - Kbps) 939.17 838.70 1019.82

Other Tesla Owners Are Running Similar Tests

Reddit user u/OverlyOptimisticNerd ran similar tests with a slightly different configuration. They used an iPhone 14 as a mobile hotspot, Hotspot Monitor Data Usage from Apple’s App Store, and 2019 Model 3 running version 2022.44.25.1.

During their tests, they observed the same pattern across all songs, citing that a bunch of data rolled in at the beginning of the tests and then slowly trickled through. The low data rate for Apple Music appears to align with the company’s HE-AAC codec at 64 kbps.

“It appears to buffer most or even all of the song, then pause between tracks to do it again,” writes u/OverlyOptimisticNerd. “On average, I saw ~2MB per track, with ~1.7MB during the initial burst and ~0.3MB throughout the track. This is consistent with the HE-AAC standard, as most of these songs were a little over 3 minutes in length.”

While Apple Music may come in at the lowest average bitrate of all three services tested, it's important to note that it doesn't necessarily mean it has the lowest quality. Audio quality comes down to a variety of factors, some of which are, the bitrate, whether it's a variable rate, and the efficiency of the audio codec used.

Apple Music's HE-ACC codec is optimized for low-bandwidth applications meaning that it can outperform an ACC-encoded file in lower-bandwidth situations. In the real-world Apple Music in your Tesla should sound very similar to streaming music from Spotify, but not as good as TIDAL's offerings.

How Tesla's FSD Beta Has Expanded Over Time

By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla reveals how many miles have been driven on FSD Beta as of January 2023
Tesla reveals how many miles have been driven on FSD Beta as of January 2023

Tesla's Full Self Driving (FSD) technology took a giant leap forward in distributing FSD Beta to 400,000 customers in North America. It is a significant milestone for the development of autonomous driving and highlights Tesla's commitment to bringing this cutting-edge technology to the masses. A new version, v11.3 could roll out any day.

Number of Testers Over Time

Tesla made FSD Beta public a little more than two years ago, around October 2020. It was initially only made available to less than a handful of testers, but that pool grew to about 1,000 users later that year.

Since then Tesla has gradually increased the number of testers. The ramp from the initial 1,000 testers took some time, but by October 2021 Tesla had opened it up further through its Safety Score program. By January 2022, it was available to about 60,000 owners.

In March of 2022, Tesla expanded FSD Beta to Canada, gradually adding additional testers, and eventually increasing the number of testers across the U.S. and Canada to 160,000 in September.

Tesla announced this December that the number of testers had grown to 285,000 and recently said this January that it's now accessible to 400,000 Tesla owners.

FSD Beta Expansion and Milestones

Date Milestone
October, 2020 Opened to select testers
Late 2020 ~ 1,000 added
October 2021 Start of expansion through Safety Score
January 2022 Available to 60,000 testers
March 2022 Expansion to Canada
July 2022 Available to 160,000 testers
December 2022 Available to 285,000 testers
January 2023 Access given to 400,000 owners

Faster Feedback

The deployment of FSD Beta to such a large number of customers will provide an unprecedented level of testing and feedback, allowing Tesla to refine the technology and bring it to an even higher level of reliability and safety. Furthermore, with over 90 million miles driven on FSD outside of highways, the published data shows a clear improvement in safety statistics, demonstrating the potential for autonomous driving to revolutionize the way we travel.

This increased testing level will help improve the technology even further, as the system can learn from a broader range of driving scenarios and road conditions.

FSD Will Make the Roads Safer

The safety benefits of Full Self Driving technology will be a major selling point for Tesla and one of the primary reasons for its rapid growth. Using cameras and other advanced technologies, FSD can monitor the road and make real-time adjustments to ensure the vehicle operates safely and efficiently. As a result, this technology reduces the likelihood of accidents and provides passengers with a safer, more comfortable driving experience.

Overall, making FSD Beta available to 400,000 customers represents a major step forward for Tesla and the entire autonomous driving industry. It's now available to all customers who have purchased or subscribed to FSD in the U.S. and Canada. The next big expansion is expected to be in Europe sometime this year.

With its focus on safety and reliability, Tesla is leading the way toward a future where driving is fully autonomous, and accidents are a thing of the past. As technology continues to evolve, we can expect to see even more impressive advances in the coming years, bringing us closer to a world where autonomous vehicles are a common sight on our roads.

Tesla Accessory, Ctrl-Bar Adds Physical Buttons to the Model Y and Model 3

By Kevin Armstrong
The Ctrl-Bar adds physical buttons to the Model 3/Y
The Ctrl-Bar adds physical buttons to the Model 3/Y

Tesla's minimalistic interior design is both loved and hated. Much loathing is due to the lack of physical buttons drivers are so used to having at their fingertips to control heat, music and everything else in the cabin. The sleek look is attractive, but for some it can fall short in easy accessibility while driving.

That's where a new product comes into play: Ctrl-Bar. Created by Øyvind Husby of Oslo, Norway, Ctrl-Bar has nearly 300 backers on the crowdfunding website Indiegogo and has beat its target funding goal by more than 280 percent. The objective is to provide a tactile, programmable solution to Tesla's minimalistic interior design.

How It Works

Ctrl-Bar is a device that attaches securely to the bottom of the Model 3 and Model Y screen and offers a quick-access, tactile response that physical buttons can only achieve. The premium black glass finish blends seamlessly with the screen bezel, providing a smooth look. It connects to a smartphone using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and gets power from a hidden USB cable connected to the rear center console USB port. The app runs in the background, capturing only the data needed to run the services and prioritizing privacy. In addition, the Ctrl-Bar screen shows real-time changes, so there is no latency when changing temperatures or other functions. After less than a second, the device will send the command to your vehicle.

Ctrl-Bar Video

The Scrolls, Buttons and Extras

The Ctrl-Bar has two scroll wheels with tactile indents to control the cabin temperature, one for the driver and the passenger. In addition, four push buttons are in the middle of the wheels to provide easy access to programmable shortcuts, such as seat heaters, defrost mode, dog mode, and more. All changes made on the Ctrl-Bar are reflected on the center screen, offering a unified experience.

In addition to controlling essential functions, Ctrl-Bar also provides ambient LED lighting. The device has a series of powerful LEDs that illuminate the center console and front footwells. Users can scroll through assorted color and brightness options to find the perfect lighting for their drive. For an additional subscription, Ctrl-Bar offers speed trap warnings. The device checks for nearby fixed speed traps and visually alerts the driver when they are approaching. If the driver exceeds the speed limit, Ctrl-Bar will give an audible warning reminding them to slow down.

The Ctrl-Bar adds physical buttons to the Model 3/Y
The Ctrl-Bar adds physical buttons to the Model 3/Y

Creative Company with a Track Record

Greenmission, the company behind Ctrl-Bar, has successfully launched a premium wireless charger for the Tesla Model S/X. With trusted manufacturers and software developers on board, the main obstacles to getting Ctrl-Bar into the hands of Tesla owners are developing the phone app, establishing a reliable connection, avoiding supplier issues and delays, and managing costs. Despite these challenges, Greenmission is confident they can bring Ctrl-Bar to market and provide a much-needed solution to the lack of physical buttons in Tesla vehicles.

Ctrl-Bar is an interesting device that adds some physical buttons for owners who want or need them. It matches well with the interior of the vehicle and still provides a sleek look. However, it will require your phone to have a cellular connection to successfully send commands to the vehicle, since it relies on Tesla's APIs.

Tesla drivers are always looking for ways to improve their experience, and new features will be made available through Over-The-Air updates. Furthermore, users' feedback and suggestions will be considered and worked on in future updates.

Upcoming Release

View the release notes for the upcoming version 2023.2.10.

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Although we share official Tesla release notes, we are not affiliated with Tesla Motors. We are Tesla fans and supporters.

Tesla News

Upcoming Release

View the release notes for the upcoming version 2023.2.10.

Confirmed by Elon

Take a look at features that Elon Musk has said will be coming soon.


Subscribe to our weekly newsletter.