Now that you have your new Tesla, how do you get FSD beta

As of this writing (March 2023) the process of getting FSD beta (what is demonstrated in all these YouTube videos of “self-driving” cars) is a bit complicated. Here is a step by step guide:

0. You need to be in the US or Canada.

There is no FSD beta outside the US and Canada at this time.

3. Purchase or subscribe to the FSD level of AP

Every Tesla comes with (basic) Autopilot included, which gives you Traffic-Aware Cruise Control and Autosteer. Those will drive the car with supervision on most freeways. Autopilot has two higher trim levels, Enhanced Autopilot and Full Self-Driving Capability. You need to purchase or subscribe to the highest tier, Full Self-Driving Capability.

The exact features my vary by region, but right now in the US, Enhanced Autopilot includes: Auto Lane Change, Navigate on Autopilot (Beta), Autopark, Summon, and Smart Summon. Full Self-Driving Capability includes all of these plus Traffic and Stop Sign Control (Beta). It also includes “upcoming” Autosteer on City Streets, which is the beta everyone talks about.

People use “FSD” to refer to various things, including the highest level of Autopilot or the FSD beta.

Note that some of the Enhanced Autopilot features mentioned above may be disabled on recent cars without Ultrasonic Sensors (USS). For example, you need 2023.6.9 or better to get Autopark.

If you purchased Full Self-Driving Capability with the car, you are done with this step and you can already enjoy all features except “upcoming” Autosteer on City Streets.

If you still plan to subscribe to get “the beta”, wait until you are done with steps 1 and 2 (below). Paying is the easy part, but don’t start your subscription until you are done with 1 and 2.

1. Make sure you have the right firmware

FSD beta has always been behind the non-beta software that is being released to car. For example, as of this writing, Tesla is rolling out 2023.6.x software to non-beta cars (stemming from the 6th week of the year 2023). However, the latest and greatest beta being rolled out is 2022.45.x (from the 45th week of last year, 2022). Beta is some 3 months behind what most cars have.

Tesla will not downgrade you to older software. If you are on say 2023.6.x you cannot get 2022.45 software. You have to wait until the beta reaches at least 2023.6.x. That means if Tesla wants to upgrade you to something newer than 2023.6, you should refuse that upgrade, and stick to 2023.6. Refuse all upgrades until you get a “beta build”.

In order to get the latest information about firmware, go to TeslaFi and look for the section that looks like the below. The actual numbers will change over time, but the situation will be similar.

Note that there are two version numbers: the firmware version number (in blue below, looks like 2023.45.11 and the FSD beta version number (in red), looks like 11.3.2. Each FSD beta version is included in one firmware version. Sometimes, the FSD Beta version is used instead, e.g. when speaking about “V11” of FSD beta.

Tesla Firmware Version Numbers as displayed by TeslaFi.
The latest firmware installed on cars is 2023.6, but the latest FSD beta is 2022.44.
Anyone with builds newer than 2022.45 will have to wait until beta catches up.

On top, you see the latest non-beta versions out there. There may be a new, upcoming one, with small numbers. Then comes the bulk of 38% of cars (2023.6.8 in this example). This is where most of the fleet sits, everyone who chose “advanced” in the update preference in the car. There are more cars (24%) sitting on 2023.2.12 in this example. And then there are a few stragglers on various builds. Of interest are the ones ending in a three digit numbers, like .100 or .201. These builds are factory builds, and getting off a factory build will always take days to weeks.

Then you typically find the new hotness, just rolled out to 1%-2% of the fleet. These are typically the YouTubers and early beta testers, and this is the version that you see in recent YouTube videos. As of this time, it’s “V11” (11.3.x). The bulk of beta cars (22% of all cars) is sitting on 2022.44.20.

If you are in the wait zone, it can take weeks to months for the beta to catch up. All of the builds in the “Wait Zone” in the image above have to wait until FSD beta catches up to them. For example, cars that are on 2023.2.12 will have to wait for an FSD beta build that is newer than 2023.2, as the latest beta versions are all on 2022.44

2. Make sure Tesla is currently adding new vehicles to the beta program

Tesla ads new vehicles in waves. And sometimes new vehicles are on hold, the main reason for this being an NHTS “recall”. The NHTSA may force Tesla to hold adding new vehicles until a specific feature they care about strongly is fixed. This is what happened in winter/spring of 2023.

You can check TeslaFi (or Twitter/Reddit) to see if new cars are added.

Screenshot of TeslaFi Showing Previously Installed Versions
This is how TeslaFi displays previously installed versions.
Only 4 new cars were added to this version of FSD beta.
Those four came from earlier versions (2022.44)

On TeslaFi, click on the blue build numbers of the new hotness beta version, scroll down a bit, and it will tell you what those cars had before (see screenshot above). In the example above, you can see that thousands of cars upgraded to the build from another FSD version (with a red number), these are not new vehicles.

You want to see some recent upgrades from non-beta versions there. In the example above there are only 4 cars that upgraded from a non-FSD beta version of the firmware, and these are likely special cases. If it looks like above, Tesla is not adding new cars to FSD beta.

Unfortunately, this second step, waiting until new cars are added to the beta, can take weeks or months. Especially after the NHTSA asks for changes to existing cars and doesn’t let Tesla add new cars.

4. Wait

If you have paid, if you have an “old enough” version of the firmware of the car and the latest beta is newer than what you have, and if Tesla is rolling out software, then you likely will get the beta in hours to days.

You will need Wifi for the download, and it may take a while (hours is not unheard) It may also stop halfway through for extended periods of time. Don’t take a download if you plan to use the car in the next few hours.

Last Updated on April 13, 2023.