Sentry Mode is great and it’s already proving its high value by recording accidents that wouldn’t otherwise have been available. Here’s a recent example shared by the president of Tesla Owners Silicon Valley. Unfortunate accident but at least there were no injuries or major damages:
What it’s not so great, at least so far, is the fact that you can’t just click on the events reported and see the videos on your Tesla Media Control Unit. Or on your phone. In fact, you can’t even send those videos anywhere unless you get a USB stick and make sure you save them. And even if you do that, you need to know how to properly format the USB stick and download the videos on your computer. But I’m not always carrying my computer with me, can I send those videos to my phone?
In this blog post, we aim to cover some of the alternatives we’ve seen in the market for watching videos recorded in Sentry Mode in your phone.
What do you need?
In order to be able to save videos recorded by SentryMode and watch them on your phone, this is what you need:
- Autopilot Hardware 2.5 - Any Tesla built in or after August of 2017
USB stick. You have a couple of options:
Mobile app. So far the best option, which works with both of the above, is SentryView ($7.99). Available in many countries. Only available for iOS. Another option would be to download Connect Drive App from SanDisk. app to watch the videos. Available both for iOS and Android devices. Connect App doesn’t show you all the videos from the same timestamp in parallel like the SentryView app does, thought.
Step 1. Format the USB stick and create the TeslaCam folder
If you want to make it easier for yourself, PureTesla sells a ready to use USB which comes pre-formatted:
- Connect WiFi Flash Drive
- iXPAND Flash Drive: coming up soon!
If you prefer to do it yourself, here’s how you do it:
- Connect the USB stick to your Mac
- Command + space to open Spotlight and search to open ‘Disk Utility’
- In format, select MS-DOS(FAT)
- Click on «Erase» and you should see a confirmation message.
- Go to Finder, select your USB and create a folder called «TeslaCam»
- You’re all set!
Step 2. Connect the USB to your phone
If you’re using the SanDisk Connect WiFi Flash Drive USB stick:
- Connect the USB to your car
- Make sure Sentry Mode is on (you can activate it from the Tesla Mobile App or from your car) and it’s being recognized so videos are recorded. Note that to record Sentry Mode you need to turn it on, which is different from the Dash Cam videos:
- After recording some videos, disconnect USB, and turn the WiFi on clicking on the button showed in the image below. Important: you need to disconnect the USB in order to be able to do so.
- Open the SentryView app, go to Settings (gear icon) and connect to the USB WiFi. The USB creates its own WiFi, it charges while being connected to the car. Battery lasts ~ 2 hours.
- Go back to main screen of SentryView app and wait for videos to load
If you’re using the iXPAND Flash Drive
- Connect the USB to your car
- Make sure it’s being recognized and Sentry Mode is on
- After recording some videos, disconnect USB, and plug in to your mobile device
- Open SentryView App and wait for videos to load (we haven’t actually tried this, but assume this is how it works)
Step 3. Browse videos with SentryView app
In this blog post, we’re going to focus on the option we know better, the SentryView App. We use it ourselves, and here’s what we can say about it:
How does it work:
- SentryView has two main video folders: Recent videos and Saved videos
- The last hour of Sentry Mode videos can be found in the «Saved videos folder» in clips of 1 minuted
- Not only videos of reported events are saved, but the whole last hour
- It visualizes videos from all the 3 cameras (frontal and two laterals) together
- It lets you delete videos from the app
What I like
- Immediate access to Sentry Mode saved videos
- Visualizes videos from all cameras together
What could be improved
- Difficult to find the videos from the last events reported when you open up the app
- Sentry Mode event clips are not highlighted e.g. you have 2 events and an hour of 1 minute clips saved
- Sentry Mode event folders are not shown. Every event reported creates a folder with 4 videos, usually the clip that contains the action that triggered the report is the second to last one saved in the folder
- Clips are shown from oldest to newest
- Can’t save videos on my phone (if you want to save a video you have to use a different app, either in your phone or in your computer)
- Deleting videos is a bit slow
I hope this blog post if helpful. If you have questions, feel free to shot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org