How to Use Dashcam on Model 3

About Dashcam

In addition to supporting Autopilot features, the cameras can record and store video footage of the surrounding roadway on a USB flash drive. This can be convenient in situations where you want a video recording of a particular incident, such as a collision. You can pause, resume, or save video recordings directly from your vehicle’s touchscreen.

Using Dashcam

Dashcam requires the use of a properly formatted USB flash drive to store and retrieve footage. Once a properly formatted USB flash drive has been inserted into one of your vehicle’s front USB ports, a Dashcam icon appears at the top of the touchscreen.

Touch the Dashcam icon to control Dashcam:

RECORDING: Touch the Dashcam icon, when Dashcam is paused, to start recording video on the flash drive. (red dot is displayed in the camera icon)

PAUSED: Press and hold the Dashcam icon, when recording, to pause recording (icon is grayed out). Ensure that Dashcam is paused before removing the flash drive to avoid losing camera footage.

SAVED: green checkmark is displayed in the camera icon.

NOTE: Dashcam automatically begins recording when you insert a properly configured USB flash drive into one of the front USB ports.

Retrieving Footage

If equipped, you can review Dashcam and Sentry Mode video recordings on your vehicle’s touchscreen when Model 3 is in Park. Touch the Dashcam icon on the touchscreen’s status bar and select Launch Viewer. Each video, organized by location and timestamp, provides a thumbnail of all video clips. For additional filtering, touch the Dashcam or Sentry tabs. Touch a thumbnail to view the corresponding video footage from each camera. Pause, rewind, fast forward, and delete video footage as needed.

You can retrieve video footage from the USB flash drive by removing the flash drive from the USB port and using a personal computer or other device to access the files. Navigate to the TeslaCam folder.

The TeslaCam folder contains three sub-folders:

Recent Clips: The footage in Recent Clips continuously loops in 60-minute cycles whenever the cameras are activated. Therefore, footage is overwritten every hour unless you save it. When an event is recorded, one video is recorded for each of the front, rear, left, and right cameras.
Saved Clips: Contains all recordings that you have manually saved using Dashcam.
Sentry Clips: Contains the last 10 minutes of footage from all Sentry Mode events that have triggered an Alert or Alarm state. The footage from each event is labelled with a unique timestamp.

NOTE: As the USB flash drive runs out of available space, the oldest footage in Sentry Clips is deleted to make room for new footage. Once deleted, you are unable to retrieve them. When the flash drive is full, Sentry Mode and Dashcam can no longer save video footage. To prevent the flash drive from getting full, you must regularly move saved videos to another device, and delete them from the flash drive.

NOTE: Dashcam recording is paused when the viewer is open.
NOTE: You are responsible for complying with all local laws, regulations, and property restrictions regarding video recordings.
NOTE: The cameras do not record audio.

USB Flash Drive Requirements for Videos and Recording

NOTE: The USB-A port located at the rear of the glovebox is equipped with a pre-formatted flash drive, ready to save videos when using features such as Sentry Mode and Dashcam.

In some market regions you can purchase recommended USB drives on Tesla’s website to store video from your vehicle’s cameras.

Minimum USB flash drive requirements:

• A sustained write speed of at least 4 MB/s. A sustained write speed is different from the peak write speed.
• USB 2.0 compatible. If using a USB 3.0 flash drive, it must be able to support USB 2.0.
• 64 GB of storage or more. Use a flash drive with as much available storage as possible. Video footage can occupy a large amount of space.
• Properly formatted (described below).
• A dedicated flash drive exclusively for saving Sentry Mode recordings.

Although not a comprehensive list, Tesla has tested the following flash drives and confirmed that they meet the requirements for using Dashcam and Sentry Mode:

• Samsung MUF-64AB/AM FIT Plus – 200MB/s USB 3.1 Flash Drive
• Samsung MUF-64AB/AM BAR Plus
• SanDisk Ultra Fit USB 3.1 Flash Drive
• SanDisk MobileMate USB 3.0 microSD Card Reader (also recommended: Samsung PRO Endurance 100MB/s (U1) MicroSDXC Memory Card)

Formatting a USB Flash Drive

To correctly save and retrieve video footage, Model 3 requires the USB flash drive to be formatted as exFAT, FAT 32 (for Windows), MS-DOS FAT (for Mac), ext3, or ext4. NTFS is currently not supported. In addition, the USB flash drive must contain a base-level folder called “TeslaCam” (without quotation marks).

You can format a USB flash drive from inside Model 3 or from a personal computer.

To format a flash drive from inside Model 3, simply insert a USB flash drive into a front USB port, and touch Safety & Security > Format USB Device. Doing so formats the drive as exFAT and automatically creates a TeslaCam folder. The USB flash drive is now ready to record and save video footage.

CAUTION: The Format USB Device button is available whenever a USB Flash Drive (with one or fewer partitions) is plugged into a front USB port. Choosing Format USB Device formats the drive, erasing all existing content. If you have content on a drive that you want to keep, you must move it to a different device before using this feature.

To format a USB flash drive from a personal computer, follow the steps below for your operating system.

For MacOS:

  1. Insert the USB flash drive into your personal computer.
  2. Navigate to Utilities > Disk Utility (or conduct a Spotlight Search).
  3. Select your flash drive in the left menu.
  4. Navigate to Erase in the top menu ribbon.
  5. In the pop-up menu, select the correct format (MSDOS FAT) and click Erase.

NOTE: Selecting Erase removes all existing content from your flash drive. If you have content that you want to keep, you must move it to a different device before erasing.

  1. Once the flash drive is successfully erased, navigate to Finder and select your USB flash drive from the left menu. The flash drive should not contain any files.
  2. Right-click in the empty space of the flash drive and select New Folder. A folder appears in your flash drive space.
  3. Right-click on the folder, select Rename, and name the folder to “TeslaCam” (without quotation marks). Click Save. This folder contains all recent and saved clips from Sentry Mode and Dashcam.
  4. Properly eject the USB flash drive.

For Windows:

  1. Insert the USB flash drive into your personal computer.
  2. Navigate to File Explorer.
  3. Right-click on your USB flash drive and select “Format…”.
  4. In the pop-up menu, under the File System section, select a support format (such as exFAT, FAT 32, etc.).
    NOTE: You can also name your USB flash drive (under Volume Label).
  5. Check the Quick format box and click Start.
  6. Go back to File Explorer, click on your flash drive, and right-click to create a folder, or select New Folder in the top menu.
  7. Name the folder “TeslaCam” (without quotation marks) and click Save. This folder contains all recent and saved clips from Sentry Mode and Dashcam.
  8. Properly eject the USB flash drive.

Once you have formatted the USB flash drive and created the TeslaCam folder, insert it into a USB port in Model 3. Do not use the rear USB ports—they are for charging only. It may take Model 3 up to 15 seconds to recognize the flash drive. When recognized, icons for Dashcam and Sentry Mode appear at the top of your touchscreen (note that you may need to enable Sentry Mode by touching Controls > Safety & Security > Sentry Mode). Model 3 is ready to record video.

NOTE: For saving Sentry Mode and Dashcam video footage, Tesla recommends using the USB port located in the glove box. Doing so increases security and minimizes power consumption.

Save Clips on Driving Event

Once a properly formatted USB flash drive is inserted in one of the vehicle’s front USB ports, you can choose to save Dashcam clips while driving when you honk the horn, automatic braking is applied or a collision is detected by your vehicle. To enable this feature, touch Controls > Safety & Security > Save Clip on Driving Event > ON to enable. The most recent ten minutes of footage is saved.