Sentry Mode is a pretty cool feature released by Tesla in 2019. It enables your car to be watching when no one else is and it can prevent theft and other incidents and it also records proof of vandalism, accidents, etc.
However, the way it currently works leaves some room for improvement. I personally think it’s quite annoying that you get to your car, see Sentry Mode’s event report message about how many reports have occurred, and you can do nothing about it.
In this blog post, I’m going to try and shed some light on this to help you understand what Sentry Mode event reports are and how to watch them on your phone. First of all, it’s not completely true that you can’t do anything about it, but let’s say it’s not so intuitive to know what to do.
What does it mean that an event occurred? Event reports are triggered when the cameras detect movement around the car. This may not necessarily mean someone’s trying to open your car. If someone walks by your car, that’s an event report. If someone is too close to your car, that’s an event report. Usually, if you park close to other cars in a parking lot- I know we all try to avoid that situation, but sometimes you just can’t- I’ll get like 10+ event occurrences reported and it’s just people parking and leaving next to me.
Ok, so not all events may be ‘real events’ but, ‘how do I know which event reports are meaningful’? Can I watch the videos? You can watch Sentry Mode videos, yes. You can’t watch them on your Tesla’s touchscreen. You should also know these videos (and the Dashcam ones) don’t get stored anywhere in the car or in the cloud, so if you want to be able to watch them, you’re going to need some storage.
Our favorite USB drives and SD cards are sold by PureTesla. Why? Very easy. They are fast and they are already preconfigured (not any USB is good, it needs to be formatted, it needs a folder called TeslaCam where the videos will be saved). This means they are ready to use, you don’t need to worry about anything else. And if you happen to run into any problems or have any questions when you receive them, their customer support is top-notch.
These are two of their most popular options (they keep on making new models available as they are introduced to the market):
Storing videos, check. What’s next? Plug the USB drive in your laptop or smartphone and watch? Not exactly. I mean, you can certainly do that, but you must know Sentry Mode saves 4 videos for each timestamp (one for each one of the cameras, left, right, front, and rear) and multiple timestamps per report. So if you have 3 event report, it’s easy that you end up with lots of short videos of which only maybe 3 will contain the actual events. For that reason, the best strategy is to get an app to help you manage those videos and also to help you find the occurrences that triggered the reports as fast as possible. We wrote a blog post about how to watch Sentry Mode and Dashcam videos on your phone where you can find more information about apps out there and our list of pros and cons.
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