Tesla's Sentry Mode captures videos from up to four cameras at once
Not a Tesla App
Tesla Sentry Mode is an intelligent vehicle security system designed to monitor and record potential threats around your parked Tesla. This feature utilizes the vehicle's cameras and sensors to detect suspicious activity, notify the owner through the Tesla mobile app, and save footage to a USB drive.
What is Sentry Mode
When enabled, Tesla Sentry Mode keeps the vehicle's cameras and computer powered on and ready to record potential threats while the car is locked and in Park. If a threat is detected, the system pulses the headlights, displays a message on the touchscreen, and may sound the alarm, depending on the situation. In addition, footage of the event is saved to a USB drive, and the owner will be notified via the app if the alarm goes off. Sentry Mode offers an extra layer of security for Tesla owners, helping to deter would-be thieves or vandals.
Cameras and Sound
While Sentry Mode is enabled, it will record from four of the vehicle's nine available cameras. The video recorded comes from one of the front-facing cameras, the fender camera on either side of the vehicle, and the rear camera. The other remaining front-facing cameras, B-pillar cameras, and the cabin camera do not record at this time.
Teslas do not contain any external microphones, so all Sentry Mode videos are silent. Although Teslas do contain internal microphones, Tesla does not capture audio from these microphones. In fact, even if you're viewing the interior camera in the Tesla app, you can not hear any audio from inside of the vehicle.
How to Turn On Sentry Mode
You can enable Sentry Mode by tapping Controls then tapping 'Sentry.' The Sentry Mode icon will turn red when Sentry Mode is enabled. You can also choose to turn on Sentry Mode automatically when the vehicle is parked or activate it using the Tesla mobile app. Voice commands like "Keep Tesla safe," "Keep my car safe," "Sentry on," or "Enable Sentry" can also be used to enable the feature.
Enable Sentry Mode from the Controls menu
Not a Tesla App
How Long Does Sentry Mode Stay On
Once Sentry Mode is enabled, it will remain on until you turn it off, or when your battery reaches 20%. If the battery falls below this level, Sentry Mode will turn off, and you will receive a notification via the Tesla app. Since Sentry Mode increases power consumption, Tesla turns it off automatically to leave you with enough energy to reach your destination.
Sentry Mode Battery Drain
Since your vehicle's computer needs to remain on to process video from its various cameras, there is additional power usage while Sentry Mode is enabled.
The actual amount of power consumed varies based on your vehicle's specific hardware, but tests have shown that the vehicle will consume about 250 to 300 watts while Sentry Mode is on. This is equivalent to losing about 1 mile of range for every hour Sentry Mode is enabled.
In a day, Sentry Mode may consume as much as 7.2 kWh, about 24 miles of range, or roughly equivalent to 7% to 14% of your battery, depending on your model and battery size.
Since Sentry Mode consumes so much energy, it's best to use it only when needed. Sentry Mode is not meant for when your vehicle will be parked long term, as it'll quickly drain your battery. Luckily, Tesla offers options to automatically enable Sentry Mode at specific locations and Sentry Mode is automatically disabled when the vehicle's battery falls to 20%.
Sentry Mode Options
You can customize Sentry Mode settings to fit your preferences and requirements. Some options available include:
Disabling sounds: If you want to silence the security alarm and audio system when the alarm is triggered, navigate to Controls > Safety > Disable Sentry Sounds. Sentry Mode will still send a notification through the mobile app and save the last 10 minutes of footage of any events that occurred.
Excluding specific locations: In Controls > Safety > Sentry Mode, you can choose not to enable Sentry Mode in particular areas, such as your home, work, or favorite destinations. This can be helpful if you want to conserve battery power or avoid unnecessary recordings in familiar areas.
Choosing the clip length: In some markets (Not available in the U.S. and Canada), you can select the length of Sentry Mode video clips, allowing you to customize how much footage is saved during an event.
Disabling camera detection: If you prefer, you can disable camera detection so that Sentry Mode only activates when the car senses a physical intrusion. This can be helpful in situations where you want to minimize the number of false alarms or unnecessary recordings.
How to Set Up Sentry Mode
First, insert a compatible USB drive into the glove box USB port. If your car doesn't have a USB port in the glove box, you can use one in the center console. Note that not all Teslas have data-capable USB ports in the center console, so the glove box should be your first choice. Chances are that Tesla already included a compatible USB drive in the car for you. Tesla defines a compatible USB drive as one that is USB 2.0 compatible and holds at least 64 GB. This Samsung USB drive is a good choice for Sentry Mode because of its durability and size. It offers fast write speeds and 256GB of storage, 4x Tesla's recommendation.
Next, you can format the USB drive by going to Controls > Safety and tap on "Format USB Drive." Tesla recommends using a high-quality USB drive to ensure smooth recording and playback of Sentry Mode videos. You can also enable Dashcam recording. Navigate to Controls > Safety > Dashcam in your vehicle's menu and set it to Auto. This will allow your vehicle to automatically record footage while driving. Footage will automatically be recorded when an event is detected or when you tap the Dashcam icon under Controls > Dashcam.
How to View Sentry Mode Recordings
You can review your Sentry Mode video with the Dashcam Viewer app in the car
Not a Tesla App
To view Sentry Mode or Dashcam videos, use the Dashcam app in your vehicle. The Tesla system tags events with a red dot, making locating and reviewing footage easier. This feature allows you to quickly identify any incidents around your vehicle and gather evidence if necessary. Remember to regularly check your USB drive's storage capacity, as new recordings will overwrite the oldest ones when the drive is full. It's a good idea to back up important footage to a separate storage device for safekeeping.
Sentry Mode Live Access
You can view live footage from your vehicle in the Tesla app
Not a Tesla App
Sentry Mode Live Access lets you view your vehicle's cameras in real-time using the Tesla mobile app. This feature requires Tesla's Premium Connectivity. When using View Live Camera, your vehicle will periodically flash its exterior lights and displays a message on the touchscreen, notifying others that the area surrounding the vehicle is being viewed through the cameras.
To enable the View Live Camera feature, touch Controls > Safety > Sentry Mode > View Live Camera via Mobile App on the car's touchscreen. First, ensure no occupants are in the vehicle, and all doors are locked. Then, navigate to Safety > Sentry Mode > View Live Camera in the Tesla app. The live camera feed is fully encrypted and cannot be accessed by Tesla, ensuring your privacy. View Live Camera is limited to approximately one hour (or 15 minutes for some regions) of cumulative usage per day. Although Sentry Mode Live Access is widely available, it is not currently available in all markets.
If your vehicle is equipped with a pedestrian warning speaker you can press and hold the microphone button in the app to transmit your voice through the speaker, potentially deterring would-be intruders or vandals.
When Dog Mode or Sentry Mode are enabled, you can also switch the live camera view to see through the vehicle's interior camera. This can be useful if you want to check on your pet while away from the vehicle. Note that this feature is not supported in vehicles with Autopilot computer 2.0 or 2.5.
Tesla Sentry Mode is a valuable security feature that can help protect your vehicle from potential threats. By following the steps provided, you can set up, enable, and customize this feature to fit your needs. As a Tesla owner, using Sentry Mode can give you peace of mind, knowing that your car is actively monitoring its surroundings for potential threats. While no security system can prevent all attacks, Sentry Mode offers an added layer of protection that can help deter criminals and keep your vehicle safe.
Ordering a New Tesla?
Consider using our referral code (nuno84363) to help support our site. Model 3 and Y buyers will receive credits toward Tesla Merch, while Model S and X buyers will receive $1,000 off and 3 months of FSD for free.
This week we take a look at Tesla's upcoming update, 2023.20, Tesla's improvements to Autowipers and its latest app update
Join us as we take a look back at this week's top Tesla stories. From an early look at the features included in Tesla's upcoming 2023.20 software update, to Tesla's latest app update, we dive into the top stories of the week.
An Early Look at Tesla's 2023.20 Update and Its Features
Tesla is introducing the ability to track your tire mileage in update 2023.20
Preparations are underway for Tesla's next software update, version 2023.20. Although currently in testing, this update has been drawing attention since it was first noticed last week. Considering Tesla's 2023.12 update brought numerous new features, it appears this next may be smaller. However, we now have our first look at some of the features included in Tesla's 2023.20 update.
A noteworthy improvement under the upcoming update pertains to tire service tracking. Post-update, vehicle owners can track how many miles have been driven since their last tire service.
Tesla Updates App to v4.21.5, Adds New Loot Box, Referral Rewards and References New Features
Tesla has updated its app to 4.21.5
Not a Tesla App
This week Tesla updated their iPhone app to version 4.21.5. The updated features include a new Loot Box design and a notice to Canadians using their Superchargers. Tesla also hints at several upcoming features including Boombom v2.
Tesla's Model Y With Hardware 4.0 Doesn't Include Radar: We Take a Look at Why
Tesla's Model Y with HW4 is coming without radar
As Tesla continues to redefine the automotive industry, insiders have revealed that the company's upcoming Hardware 4.0 (HW4) will not include the radar module in its Model Y vehicles, at least not initially. This marks a shift in the company's approach towards autonomous driving, relying more heavily on vision-based systems. This strategic decision builds on the recent introduction of HW4 in the luxury Model S and Model X models.
Previously, the integration of HD radar in the Model S and Model X indicated an evolution in the company's Full Self-Driving (FSD) hardware.
Tesla Reduces FSD Beta Suspension Duration With FSD Beta 11.4.2
Tesla has reduced the FSD suspension to one week with FSD Beta 11.4.2
Tesla is again modifying the Full Self Driving (FSD) Beta suspension policy. Initially, the system, which is based on a strike policy, suspended users until Tesla reset strikes globally, which ranged from about every three to nine months. The driver has up to three strikes for vehicles without a cabin camera and five for those equipped with them.
More recently Tesla changed their policy to reset FSD suspensions on an individual basis after "approximately two weeks," according to Tesla. But with the introduction of FSD Beta 11.4.2, Tesla has now reduced the suspension interval from two weeks to approximately one week.
Tesla and Ford Forge New Partnership: Ford To Incorporate Tesla Charge Port (NACS) in Future EVs
Ford will add a Tesla (NACS) port to its future EVs
In a move that attests to Elon Musk's words on fostering industry collaboration over competition, Tesla and Ford have announced a partnership to enable the latter's electric vehicles access to Tesla’s extensive Supercharger network.
Contrary to earlier speculations that Tesla's move to open its proprietary charging connector might be a futile attempt at standardization, Ford has embraced the North American Charging Standard (NACS) - Tesla's charging system. With this, Tesla’s charging plug design, known for some advantages over the current CCS standard, might start gaining traction across the North American EV sector.
Tesla Upgrades Autowipers to v4, Musk Apologizes for Poor Performance
FSD Beta 11.4.2 introduces Autowipers v4
For Tesla owners, the auto wiper system has been a contentious feature. Loved by some for its attempt at autonomous convenience yet criticized by others for its hit-or-miss performance, the system has often had trouble with extreme light conditions or misty weather. Now, Tesla has introduced v4 of their autowipers system that aims to correct past issues and enhance the user experience.
Tesla to Deliver Cars at 50% Charge, Offers 150km Free Supercharging
Tesla will now give owners a 150km Supercharger credit
Tesla has recently come up with a new way of doing things when it comes to delivering cars. The company claims this change has been made to align with some new rules in the industry. In the past, Tesla always delivered cars with a full charge. Now, they are to be delivered with only half charge.
When electric vehicles are being transported from one place to another, having them fully charged can pose a risk. Keeping the state of charge (SOC) at 50% during shipment reduces the chances of battery fires. This practice is not new. Other battery-operated devices, like e-bikes, are also shipped at a lower SOC for the same safety reasons.
Tesla Model 3 Refresh Reveal Rumors Coincide with Elon Musk's China Visit
Is Tesla getting ready to unveil the refreshed Model 3?
Tesla CEO Elon Musk's recent visit to China, his first in three years, has set the stage for widespread conjecture around the unveiling of the revamped Tesla Model 3. Dubbed Project Highland, this model refresh has been a topic of discussion for some time. Industry insiders believe Musk's significant stop at the Shanghai Gigafactory might be strategically timed to coincide with a potential sneak peek of the new Model 3 design.
Tesla Screen Size Comparison for All Tesla Models, Including Size, Resolution and Aspect Ratio
A good view of all the displays available in a Model S
Tesla is a pioneer in the automotive industry, and one of the most defining features of its vehicles is the use of large touchscreens. These screens are a central hub for most vehicle functions, including music, vehicle settings, navigation, and more. Tesla's commitment to a minimalist and user-friendly design is evident through integrating these screens, which have become iconic in electric vehicles.
Between 2012 and 2020, the Model S and Model X were equipped with vertical screens, which stood out due to their impressive size and orientation.
NHTSA closes its investigation into Tesla's 'Passenger Play' feature
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has concluded its investigation into Tesla's 'Passenger Play' feature, stating it will not pursue a recall of the scrutinized vehicles. Passenger Play allowed passengers in the vehicle to play certain games like the Sky Force Reloaded while the vehicle was in motion. Tesla was quick to respond to NHTSA's concerns and issued an update that requires the vehicle to be in park before games can be launched.
The closure of the probe comes amidst continuing concerns over the potential for driver distraction.
Investigation Ends, Still Leaves Room for Future Actions
While NHTSA's conclusion signifies a milestone in Tesla's ongoing scrutiny, it does not entirely absolve the electric vehicle maker. The administration emphasized that the end of the investigation does not mean a safety-related defect doesn't exist. Furthermore, the NHTSA's decision opens the possibility for future action if additional concerns arise.
NHTSA's apprehensions were primarily rooted in Tesla's decision to allow video games to be played on the front center touchscreen of the vehicle while in motion. Having acknowledged these concerns, Tesla voluntarily took action by disabling the 'Passenger Play' feature through an over-the-air software update soon after NHTSA launched its investigation in December 2021.
Tesla's Voluntary Disabling of Feature Commended
The administration confirmed that Tesla reported a 97% completion rate of the software update disabling 'Passenger Play', within a month of its release. The agency lauded Tesla's swift action, which showcased a responsible approach toward ensuring driver safety and mitigating distractions. This action appeared to significantly address NHTSA's concerns, as the agency cited the importance of "affirmative technology-based lockouts" as more effective than merely using labels or disclaimer screens.
Ongoing Scrutiny of Tesla's Autopilot System
Despite the conclusion of this specific probe, Tesla remains under the lens of the NHTSA, which is currently investigating Autopilot. The investigation, covering approximately 830,000 Tesla vehicles, aims to understand better human factors concerning Tesla interfaces and the dynamic driving task.
A History of Safety First
Tesla has always portrayed itself as an automaker that prioritizes safety. From advanced driver assist systems to top-tier safety ratings, the electric car manufacturer has consistently sought to revolutionize transportation safety norms. The swift action in disabling the controversial 'Passenger Play' feature further underscores the company's commitment to road safety and user well-being.
Tesla’s case serves as a potent reminder for all automakers that in-vehicle infotainment devices must balance entertainment and safety. In 2014, the NHTSA issued guidelines encouraging automakers to design in-vehicle devices so the driver can’t use them to perform inherently distracting secondary tasks while driving. As the lines between automobiles and technology blur, the importance of these guidelines will only grow.
Although the 'Passenger Play' investigation has concluded, Tesla’s journey with the NHTSA is far from over. The ongoing probe into Tesla’s Autopilot system indicates that the auto giant will remain under close watch to ensure the highest levels of safety for users and fellow road users alike.
TeslaFi is a service that logs your drives and charging sessions so that you can later refer back to them. We highly recommend checking them out if you use your car for business trips and would like to keep track of reimbursements, if you like to see how much you spend on charging or if you just love statistics. View their about us page and see everything they have to offer!
The EV Universe newsletter reports distill more than 100 EV news sources into a 10-minute read every week. We cover both Tesla and the rest of the EV industry. Join over 3,000 EV geeks like us and subscribe to the free weekly newsletter here.