Sentry mode

Tesla Sentry Mode was released in February 2019, adding an extra layer of security to Tesla cars. It is available to all Tesla with Autopilot version 2.5 or newer. Sentry Mode continuously monitors the surroundings of the car when left unattended. When enabled, it goes to ‘Standby’ state, which uses the car’s external cameras to detect potential threats. If a small thread is detected, it switches to ‘Alert’ state and displays a message on the main screen. If a major threat is detected, it switches to ‘Alarm’ state which activates the car alarm and plays music at the maximum volume.

Sentry Mode needs to be enabled each time you want to use it, and it can be done both from the Tesla mobile app and from the car. If you want to save and view the videos, you will need an external storage unit. You can also set it so it’s always enabled automatically and filter out familiar locations (like your home). To watch the videos saved by Sentry Mode when a threat is detected, an external storage system is needed.

Helpful links:

Pictures of Sentry mode

New Sentry Mode activated. Photo source: My Tesla Adventure
Dashcam viewer. Photo source: Drive Tesla Canada
Sentry Mode and Dashcam icons Photo source: Tesla Divas Facebook Group

Blog posts related to Sentry mode

Sentry Mode - All you need to know in one place

July 1, 2020

Sentry Mode adds a layer of extra security to Tesla cars. But, do all Tesla cars have it? How does it work? How do you set it up or turn it on? How much battery does it use?

[New feature] How to format a USB drive in a Tesla

May 7, 2020

Tesla's latest software update, 2020.16, introduces the ability to format a USB drive in the car. In this article we're going to show you how to do that step by step.

What’s in Tesla’s software update 2020.12.10

April 22, 2020

Tesla latest software update 2020.12.10 cojntains minor improvements and bug fixes only, It DOES NOT introduce the new Traffic light and stop sign detection yet (still for Early Access Program only).

What’s in Tesla’s software update 2020.12.5

April 7, 2020

Tesla has started rolling out the latest software update, 2020.12.5, to owners outside the private Beta. As anticipated last week, the main new feature introduced in 2020.12.5 is the 'Dashcam Viewer' which allows to view Sentry Mode and Dashcam videos directly in your car's main screen.

[New feature] Dashcam Viewer to watch Sentry Mode and Dashcam videos in your Tesla

April 6, 2020

One more time, Tesla has listened to the community and delivered a highly demanded feature: Dashcam Viewer. Dashcam Viewer allows you to watch Dashcam and Sentry Mode videos directly on your car’s main screen. Keep reading to learn more about Tesla's Dashcam Viewer.

What's a Sentry Mode event report

November 7, 2019

In this blog post, I’m going to explain what's a Tesla Sentry Mode event report, when does it occur, and how to watch them on your phone.

‘USB drive write speed is too slow’ - TeslaCam error fixed

October 28, 2019

In order to avoid the 'USB is too slow' error, it's important that you choose the right storage drive. Here's a list of reliable USB drives and storage options that we recommend.

How to see videos from Tesla Sentry Mode on your phone

July 12, 2019

Sentry Mode is great and it’s already proving its high value by recording accidents that wouldn’t otherwise have been available. But, what's the best USB/storage and how to watch those videos on a smartphone?

Videos about Sentry mode

Past Tesletter articles

[Trick] How to review your Tesla Sentry clips faster

Thanks to Nate Mccomb for the trick.

“Sentry Mode saves 9 minutes prior to a trigger event and one minute after. You have to find that one minute mark, so if the latest front camera file in a folder is 42 seconds long then the event can be found at the 40-42 second mark on the previous clip.”

If you run Windows, Nate has created viewer that automatically puts you in the right spot so you can review the events quicker. You can get it here.

Read more: Twitter

From issue #70

2019.16 release notes

The release includes several goodies, I would recommend you to read the whole thing, but here are a few highlights:

  • Sentry mode has a new setting to keep it always on and exclude places
  • Set your software update preference and let Tesla know that you want them to send new software updates to your car as soon as they become available for your car and region
  • Conditional Speed Limits are now displayed - if they apply to your current road - under the regular speed limit sign. I assume this still doesn’t include cameras recognizing the speed limits but who knows
From issue #58

2022.24 Release Notes

Apart from the repositioning of the Blind Spot Camera, the 2022.24 brings some highly anticipated features:

  • Tesla profiles will keep your setting and preferences synchronized across all vehicles using your Tesla account.
  • Traffic Along Route: The route blue line will now change colors, to clearly highlight slowdowns along your route.
  • Disable Sentry Sounds: In case you want Sentry on but not loud music in case Sentry triggers by mistake.
  • Driver Profiles: Navigation recent and favorites will be saved to the active driver profile.

I’m not sure I like the last two, my wife and I use the car at times, and I like sharing favorites, and recent, for Sentry, I was hoping they would disable turning on the flashlights when someone walks by, as I think it brings in unnecessary attention to the car.

From issue #227

Desktop apps to view your Sentry / Dashcam videos

We are sharing with you two cool apps to view and manage your Sentry / Dashcam videos on your computer.

  • Windows: Nate McComb - known for his purple Model 3 - has spent over 100 hours working on this great app. Its main features include: adjustable playback speed, exporting, trimming video clips before saving, and many others. Definitely, check it out and donate if you find it useful.
  • Mac: Pretty basic one but the author is working on more features like exporting and deleting.
From issue #64

First look at Tesla v10 release notes: Here’s what’s coming

v10 got released to folks in the Early Access Program a few days ago, here’s what’s new:

  • Tesla Theater: As Elon advanced on Twitter, Tesla are getting Netflix and YouTube through dedicated apps
  • Caraoke: Card + Karaoke = Caraoke. This feature allows users to sign along their favorite tracks. According to the release notes, this feature is only available while in park. We think it’d be fun to have it while driving too, for passengers only of course
  • Cuphead: Tesla Arcade is getting some serious games, Cuphead was announced a while ago and now is hitting the cars
  • I’m feeling lucky / I’m feeling hungry: As we advanced a few weeks ago thanks to greentheonly, these two options are now part of the navigation
  • Maps improvements: When searching for a destination the autocomplete now shows the distance to the place
  • Sentry mode improvements: Sentry mode now records videos in a new folder to easily distinguish between Sentry recorded videos and Dashcam videos that you saved. It also overrides older Sentry videos when full
  • Joe Mode: Quieter chimes to avoid waking up your Joe’s family
  • Driving visuals: Additional objects, lane lines, and adjust the zoom and viewing angle
  • Automatic lane change: The visualization now displays where the car is going

Read more: Teslarati

From issue #77

First view at Sentry Model Live View

We advanced that this was coming and now there is finally a video of how it looks like in the app. My guess is that this is someone with early access and that it will take a few weeks until we see it in our cars. Still pretty cool!

From issue #187

Formatting a USB for Sentry Mode/ Daschcam just got a lot easier with 2020.16

Tesla’s latest software update, 2020.16 introduces the ability to format a USB drive in the car. This is great news for Sentry Mode and Dashcam, specially after the Dashcam Viewer was made available a few weeks ago. Check out @SCMountainDad’s video to learn how to do it!

From issue #112

Future options for Sentry Mode

Sentry Mode is a great thing - we can’t wait to have it in our Model S - but it needs better options for people to not forget to turn it on, like always on, not at home, pop when entering in parking, etc. Elon just confirmed the following future options are coming:

  • Always
  • Exclude Home
  • Exclude Work
  • Exclude saved locations
  • Ask
  • Off

Read more: Twitter

From issue #52

Giveaway Alert: Win an SSD storage unit for Sentry Mode/Dashcam videos

This week we’re partnering with PureTesla to give away a Solid State Drive (SSD) to reliably store videos from Sentry Mode and Dashcam. It comes pre-formatted for TeslaCam – simply plug into your Tesla and it will start recording.

Check out our pinned tweet to participate!

From issue #109

Here’s how Tesla’s new dash cam feature using Autopilot cameras works

The leaked images of v9 don’t have any trace of the promised dashcam. However, according to Electrek’s source, there are two versions of the new update rolling out. Here are some details:

  • This feature would only be available in vehicles with AP2.5
  • You need a small USB flash drive and it needs to be formatted in FAT32
  • When recording, it seems it records for an hour before overwriting old videos

Reading the notes my take is this is an MVP, in the future I’d assume that they’ll include things like cloud storage, more than one hour of video, recording when the car is in park, etc. As a software person myself I like iterative development and I hope they keep on adding to it in the near future.

Read more: Electrek

From issue #26

How much battery does Sentry mode consume?)

For now, Sentry mode can’t be permanently on by default. Speculation says the reason why is because it drains too much battery. Spamium just turned it on on his LR and reported on it on Reddit. The result is only 2.5% or 1.5kW. 6.5 hours of Sentry mode on which doesn’t seem bad at all!

Read more: Reddit

From issue #47

Looking for a reliable USB for Sentry? Get PureTesla's

If you’re looking for a USB or some sort of storage for Sentry and Dashcam videos, we got you. PureTesla offers multiple options on their website, they all come preconfigured and ready to use. And their customer service is top notch!

Works with Mac and PC, includes MicroSD card and USB.
Works with Mac, PC, Android, and iPhone/iPad via included MicroSD reader and Lightning port adapter
Ultimate TeslaCam solution in terms of reliability and storage capacity.
From issue #104

Looking for a USB for Sentry? Get PureTesla’s

If you’re in looking for a USB or some sort of storage for Sentry and Dashcam videos, we got you. PureTesla offers multiple options on their website, they all come preconfigured and ready to use. And as a big plus, they offer excellent customer service. Here’s a couple of popular options: USB/MicroSD configured for TeslaCam and Sandisk iXpand for iOS.


From issue #84

MicroSD card and USB configured for TeslaCam

Jeff from PureTesla - Tesletter subscriber - is selling a pre-configured MicroSD card with a USB stick that you can just plug and use for the Tesla dash cam and Sentry features. This setup is actually pretty similar to the one that we use and since I know that people have had problems with crapy USBs and formatting, etc. I think this will be pretty useful to some of you.

Read more: PureTesla

From issue #61

New 2021 Model 3 came with a flash drive pre-installed in the glovebox

It was about time that Tesla allowed new owners to store Dashcam and Sentry Mode videos without having to purchase any accessories. I really hope that, in the future, Tesla offers a paid plan to store and access videos in the cloud!

From issue #142

New software update 2020.48.5

Tesla is rolling out the latest software update 2020.48.5 which introduces great improvements in Sentry Mode, text messaging, and navigation improvements, amongst others. Interestingly enough, I have received the maps update that enables the navigation improvements but not the 2020.48.5 update.

From issue #140

New voice commands

greentheonly discovered new voice commands in the software, some of them are not even wired yet. These are some of them:

  • Enable Sentry mode
  • Disable Sentry mode
  • Keep Tesla safe
  • Turn Sentry on/off

Read more: Twitter

From issue #53

Possible Sentry notification with still images coming

Elon seems to think that a notification that includes still images won’t be a problem. In my opinion, and if Tesla is listening, they should be able to do gifs like Nest Cam where you can see a few frames of the incident that triggered the alert.

Read more: Twitter

From issue #92

Reliable video storage options for Sentry with PureTesla

If you’re looking for a USB or some sort of storage for Sentry and Dashcam videos, we got you. PureTesla offers multiple options, they all come preconfigured and ready to use. And their customer service is top-notch!

  • TeslaCam microSD. Works with Mac and PC, includes MicroSD card and USB.
  • TeslaCam iOS Bundle. Works with Mac, PC, Android, and iPhone/iPad via included MicroSD reader and Lightning port adapter.
  • TeslaCam SSD Extreme. Ultimate TeslaCam solution in terms of reliability and storage capacity.
From issue #135

Remote camera viewing

According to @greentheonly, remote camera viewing should be coming soon. This would introduce the ability to check Sentry videos from a smartphone. He mentions 2020.48 but this version started rolling out and it doesn’t seem to include it (although it does introduce new features in Sentry). Maybe for the Holidays?

From issue #140

Sandisk connect wireless drive ready for TeslaCam

A couple of weeks ago we featured another product from PureTesla to power your TeslaCam. This time, this USB comes with WiFi and you can connect directly to it and watch the videos on your smartphone right when you get back to your car. And this is not all, if you want a better app to watch these videos and manage them (delete/share/store) you can use the SentryView app created by the same person who does “Stats for Tesla” (this app is for iOS and the Sandisk USB only).

If you are interested in this drive but don’t want to get it pre-formated with the TeslaCam directory, you can get it from Sandisk directly. Cheaper than on Amazon, but currently out of stock.

See more: PureTesla

From issue #63

Sentry Mode / Dashcam videos saved in the cloud

For a while now, the language about data sharing when it comes to Sentry Mode said that Tesla uploaded footage to its servers when the ‘Alarm state’ is triggered. There has been a lot of controversy until just now because there wasn’t any proof of that. Finally, @greentheonly has been able to find evidence that Tesla is indeed sending clips from Sentry Mode and Dashcam to save them in the cloud. Great news!

From issue #110

Sentry Mode in Action for HW2

Here are images of Sentry Mode working on HW2. While it doesn’t record video like it does in HW 2.5, it shows a feed of the triggered camera.

Read more: Reddit

From issue #55

Sentry Mode not working on Tesla Vision cars, known bug with no timeline to fix

Bummer, Sentry is one of those options that give us peace of mind and seems to not be working in Tesla Vision cars. I wonder why the radar pointed only forward, I would assume that Sentry uses the cameras and the ultrasonic sensors 🤷‍♂️

From issue #169

Sentry mode should be out in 2 - 3 weeks

At least that is what Elon said on Twitter.

Read more: Twitter

From issue #44

Sentry Mode: Guarding your Tesla

Yesterday, Tesla started rolling out Sentry Mode to further enhance the security of its vehicles. M3 are going to be the ones getting it, followed by MS and MX vehicles that were built after August 2017.

The way it works is it continuously monitors the environment around a car when it’s left unattended and uses the external cameras to detect potential threats. The feature has different states ‘Standby’, ‘Alert’, and ‘Alarm’. ‘Alert’ shows a message in the screen telling the bad guys that cameras are recording and ‘Alarm’ activates the car alarm and notifies the owner that an incident has occurred.

Read more: Tesla

From issue #46

Sentry Mode's headlights pulse

With the recent 2023.2 update, Sentry now emits a gradual pulse of the headlights instead of fully blinding anyone who passes in front of the car. A Reddit user uploaded a video of the improved experience, which is much better than before. However, I still hope that in the future, I will be able to disable the activation of the headlights when Sentry is on and someone walks in front of my car.

From issue #252

Sentry will become easier to turn on soon

A shortcut in the screen when you put the car into parking would be pretty handy, Elon agrees and says that in the future there will be an option for automatically turning it on all locations (including unknown). Elon, if you are listening, it would be great to be able to turn it on from the app as well!

Read more: Twitter

From issue #47

Tesla Cam browsers

How painful is it to review the videos from your cameras? We recently shared a tool to stich them together, today we bring you a couple of options to browse the files in an eaiser way:

From issue #57

Tesla Sentry Mode coming soon for all cars with Enhanced Autopilot

After a fellow Tesla owner complained on Twitter about a dig in their door while parked, Elon responded and said that there will be a “tesla sentry mode” soon available on all cars with AP2+ hardware. Three interesting things:

  • The way that Elon talks about it we can assume all cameras would be capable of recording if something happens
  • This makes us think that AP2 cars would receive the dash cam feature at some point, right now this feature is only available for AP2.5 cars
  • This feature would be available for everyone with said hardware, independently of having purchased EAP or not, as dash cam is

Read more: Twitter

From issue #43

Tesla Sentry Mode Live with Boombox

Great walkthrough of this new feature. It is kind of funny how the car changes your voice to make it sound like an angry robot.

From issue #188

Tesla Sentry Mode review and more

The amazing tesla_raj released one of the first - maybe the first?- look at Tesla’s Sentry Mode. I love how sketchy he looks, I think is a miracle that his neighbors didn’t call the cops 🤣

From issue #47

Tesla started rolling out 2020.12.5 earlier this week and it brings Dashcam Viewer

Tesla started rolling out 2020.12.5 in mass last Monday night (Tuesday morning in Europe) and as I read somewhere, it’s like we’re having a second Christmas update this year. Main features include:

We haven’t had a chance of trying the Dashcam Viewer ourselves but we have spoken with owners who installed the update- thank you @CodingMark- and it looks very neat. One thing we discovered is you can actually watch any movie/video from your USB drive or storage device in your Tesla’s screen now 🤯

From issue #106

Tesla update lets you lock Sentry Mode/TeslaCam storage in glovebox

Tesla recently introduced ‘Glovebox PIN’ to secure access to it with a 4-digit pin. As part of the Model 3 2021 refresh, Tesla is also planning on updating the interior of the car to get a USB port on the top left corner of the glovebox. Together, these changes will allow owners to securely lock their Sentry Mode/TeslaCam storage device in the glovebox. Very cool!

For current Model 3 and Model Y owners, you still have the option to get the Jeda USB hub, which enables you to hide the storage device in a hub that seems part of the car and also gives you extra USB ports.

From issue #133

Tesla updates are coming next week!

Elon just tweeted that Sentry Mode and Dog Mode will be rolling out to the fleet next week. We are excited about this one, and it’s been a while since the last software update that included significant new features. What do we know about them:

  • Sentry Mode - All your cameras would record in case of a robbery and blast music to attract attention. If this works well it would be super useful given the number of smash and grabs in areas like the Bay Area
  • Dog Mode - Car would maintain a temperature, play some soft music for your dog, and display a message on the MCU saying that the car is on climate control and monitored by the owner

See Elon’s tweet

From issue #45

TeslaUSB - A fully automated Dashcam storage device

Tutorial to install and configure a Raspberry Pi to automatically back up all the Saved Dashcam and Sentry footage when you get home.

From issue #186

Upcoming update to cut Sentry Mode power use by 40%

Tesla is planning to release a software update in Q2 to reduce the energy consumption of Sentry Mode by roughly 40%, following user concerns over the feature’s ‘vampire drain’ on batteries. Senior VP Drew Baglino affirmed the energy-saving initiative, which will help extend battery life for Tesla owners, especially when parked for long periods. Tesla and its executives keep paying close attention to user feedback and experiences and use OTA updates to refine vehicle features and functionality.

From issue #306

Updated language on Sentry Mode hints at possible cloud storage

tesla_raj this time shows the updated text of the info button next to the Sentry Mode on 2018.5.3.

Read more: Twitter

From issue #47

Valet crashing a Model S while testing Cheetah mode

Reminder to always use Valet mode if someone else is going to be parking your car. And if you’re going to test drive a car which is not yours, make sure it doesn’t have security features such as Dashcam. Duh.

From issue #119

Win one of PureTesla's USBs and don't miss a Sentry report never again

For our second contest of the month, we’ll pick TWO winners who will receive a FREE USB by PureTesla. They will be able to choose between the iXpand and the USB/MicroSD one (both 128GB). They come formatted and ready to record your dash cam and Sentry videos.

All you need to do is retweet and follow on Twitter, check out our pinned tweet here We’ll announce the winner next Wednesday. Good luck everyone!

From issue #69