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What Are the USB Drive Requirements for Recording Videos on Your Tesla?

By: Otaiba Ahsan

USB Drive in a Laptop, Where Tesla Video Footage can be Reviewed
USB Drive in a Laptop, Where Tesla Video Footage can be Reviewed

Tesla vehicles come equipped with several safety and security features that are extremely valuable. Whether it’s the built-in Dashcam that’s ready to capture any safety-critical event, or Sentry Mode, which monitors all activity around your car when you’re not there, these features are key to your Tesla ownership experience. An important piece to these functions is that the vehicle records and stores footage of these events so that you have proof of what occurred. These are all stored on the USB drive that’s found in the glovebox. So, what are the USB drive requirements for recording videos on your Tesla? Continue reading for more.

USB Drive Requirements

The USB you’d like to use for storing recorded footage should always be placed in the slot found in the vehicle’s glovebox. Most Tesla’s manufactured in 2020 or later come equipped with an already formatted USB drive in the glovebox.

However, you may want to swap it with something that has more storage or for another reason. In that case, your new one should meet these requirements:

  • The minimum storage capacity should be 64 GB. It’s best to use one with as much storage as possible, as the video footage will take up a lot of space over the years of your ownership.
  • A sustained write speed of at least 4 MB/s. Tesla calls out that sustained write speed differs from peak write speed, so keep that in mind.
  • USB 2.0 compatible, and if you’re using a USB 3.0 then it should also support 2.0.

NOTE: The ability to format and view video footage on USB drives may not be available for your Tesla depending on the date of manufacture and vehicle configuration.

Automatically Formatting a USB Drive

If your USB drive meets all the above requirements, the last step before it can be used is to format it. Lucky for you, it’s a simple one-step process.

When in your car, insert the USB drive into the slot available in the glovebox. Next, on the touchscreen tap Controls > Safety > Format USB Drive. This will automatically format the drive as exFAT and create a folder for TeslaCam and TeslaTrackMode (if equipped).

NOTE: Choosing to format a USB drive will erase any existing content on it, so make sure to move any content you’d like to keep onto a different device.

There may be cases where you’re unable to automatically format the drive. In that case, Tesla has detailed steps on how to manually format a USB drive for their vehicles.

Viewing the Videos

You’ll be able to view saved footage on the vehicle’s touchscreen or a computer.

  • Viewing in Your Car: Tap the Dashcam icon located in the app launcher (three dots at the bottom of the screen). Next, touch the menu icon in the top corner of the screen and then all the videos will be displayed in a list. They’re organized by location and timestamp.
  • Viewing on a Computer: Insert the drive into a computer and then open either the TeslaCam or TeslaTrackMode folder. You can then watch Saved Clips or Sentry Clips, which splits Dashcam and Sentry Mode footage respectively.

NOTE: When your USB drive runs out of storage, the videos will no longer be saved. That’s why it’s important to regularly move saved videos to another device and delete them from the drive that’s in use.

The Bottom Line

So, what are the USB drive requirements for recording videos on your Tesla? The minimum capacity should be 64 GB, it should have a sustained write speed of at least 4 MB/s, and it must be USB 2.0 compatible. Once those standards are met, it should be formatted following the steps above.

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