How Long Does a Tesla Camera Record

How Long Does a Tesla Camera Record?

Tesla cars can record videos even when the car is not in motion. Due to this, a lot of folks are curious about privacy and the system itself.

So, how long does a Tesla camera record? Well, all cameras record nonstop for 24 hours. But, Tesla gets 30-sec short clips via the cabin camera only if a serious incident occurs. And then, they get 1 – 10 minutes of videos via the exterior cameras when you grant permission.

In this article, I’ll explain all about the camera recording stuff so you understand the whole point from its working to other most-asked queries. Let me lift the veil for you!

That’s How Long a Tesla Camera Records!

All cameras on the inside and outside can record all day automatically even if you start the Tesla car or not. Let me break down whether Tesla record constantly using Cabin Camera, Dashcam, and Sentry Mode or not:

How Long Does a Tesla Camera Record?

Cabin Camera

To be specific, the interior cabin cameras capture videos 24/7 and the footage will be given to Tesla if you allow it.

Usually, when you enable it (Controls > Software > Data Sharing > Allow Cabin Camera Analytics), Tesla will receive 30 seconds of short clips and images when your car crashes or other safety events.

Sentry Mode

Tesla keeps on recording the outside of the car using the 8 exterior cameras all day when you turn on the Sentry Mode. However, if you turn off all the analytics in the Data Sharing feature, they won’t get your information.

Well, they can only use the data when you grant them permission. So, the authority or control of the recording privacy outside is still in your hand.

When you turn on the Sentry Mode, it’ll idle. And so, it records full-time using the exterior camera but leaves a 60-second snippet recording clip if something suspicious happens.

Tesla Sentry Mode

And, all the videos are saved on the USB drive instead of the Tesla server which means only you as a driver can see them.

On the other hand, when you blow the horn, touch the icon, or get involved in an accident, the Sentry Mode footage will be saved to the onboard memory of the USB flash drive.


The Tesla dashcam records continuously while the car is in motion, and the footage is stored on the car’s USB flash memory. This means that the dashcam will continue to record even if the car is turned off.

In the event of a collision, the dashcam will automatically start recording. The duration of the recording will depend on a variety of factors, including the mode that is currently being used (front or rear view), the speed of the vehicle, the size of the USB flash drive, and the severity of the collision.

And, when the USB flash memory is full, it automatically deletes the oldest clips. However, if you use a bigger size (more than 64 GB) of flash memory, Tesla let you see several months of clips.

Based on your preference, you can keep or delete it. Even if you don’t bring your Tesla, it saves a snippet of what you’re doing with its AI system, or if there’s something inconsistent with or around your car.

Tips to Prevent Tesla to Get Inside Recorded Footage!

  • Turn Off Data Sharing Option: Go to Controls > Safety > Data Sharing (scroll down). Then, click on the slider to disable Allow Cabin Camera Analytics option.
  • Place Black Tape Over the Lens: Bring black or colorful tape and cut it into a small shape. Then, insert it on the Cabin Camera location.
  • Use Stickers Over the Lens: Just attach a large nice-looking sticker on the lens inside the Cabin Camera location.

In case it’s new to you, check this guide which will explain the exact location of Tesla cameras.

How to Use a Tesla Dashcam?

When your Tesla is on, its dashcam records events and occurrences around the car. Dashcam does not record clips when Tesla is off. You must use DashCam to record any unwanted incidents that happen in and around your Tesla.

Dashcam requires a formatted USB flash memory card. This flash memory is used to save and restore video clips. See the discussion below to use Dashcam properly:

To enable Dashcam, first go to Controls. From there go to Safety> Dashcam and choose:


Your Tesla dashcam automatically records and saves any kind of emergency like airbag placement or collision. When you select Auto, Tesla’s recognition varies depending on its sleep, power, and autopilot conditions.


If you want to record manually, you must touch the dashcam icon, then you can record the latest 10-minute clip.

On Honk

When this option is enabled, when you blow the horn, the dashcam will record a recent 10-minute video and save it as a clip.

After enabling dashcam by pressing any one of the above options, you can manually save the clip by touching the gray camera icon. The dashcam controls are:


It shows a red circle with a gray camera icon. This indicates that the dashcam is recording. Touch this icon to save the video clip. If you want to pause the recording, hold down the icon.


A gray camera icon with a gray dot indicates that the recording has paused. If you do not want to lose the video clip, pause the dashcam recording before removing the USB flash. Touch the same icon to resume recording.


The gray camera icon with a green checkmark indicates the saved clip. If the dashcam shows this type of icon, then the video clip has been saved.

How to Enable Tesla Sentry Mode?

Earlier in this article, we learned a little about Tesla Sentry Mode. When your Tesla Sentry mode is switched on, all its cameras and sensors are alert. Even when the car is locked, it is ready to record various untoward incidents that take place in its vicinity. You must have dashCam switched on and the USB flash used to be properly formatted to ensure that video clips are saved and recovered in Tesla Sentry mode.

Do you want to automatically turn on the sentry mode every time the car is locked or parked? Then follow the settings below:

First, go to Controls and from there, follow Sentry Mode> On. There you will find three customization options which are as follows:

Exclude Home

This is your first option. If you enable it, Sentry mode will not work in all the places of your choice, such as your home, office, etc. Sentry mode will be alert in all other places except these. But in this case, you first have to set those places as home. To do this, first, go to Navigate, then hold down Home. Then type the address and press Save As Home.

Exclude Favorites

In this mode, your Tesla will turn on sentry mode in all places except your favorite places. This means that all the places you have included in your list of favorites will have sentry mode off.

Exclude Work

It works the same as the above two options. Sentry mode will be asleep in all the areas you have on your worklist. But remember that no matter which home, favorite, or workplace you choose, the car must be parked within 10 meters of the specified place. Sentry mode will not work in any way if the dashcam is off at this time.

To manually turn Tesla Sentry Mode on or off, notice and touch the circle icon in a circle on the car’s touchscreen. Alternatively, touch Sentry from Controls. Having sentry mode active will increase your power consumption. To enable Sentry Mode, you need to keep Tesla Charge at a minimum of 20%.

Whenever the charge goes below 20%, you will get a message in your mobile app. Tesla is prohibited from installing any software updates while Sentry Mode is on. Above all, never rely entirely on sentry mode for the overall protection of your Tesla.

Be sure to clean the Tesla camera as this can cause the lens to get blurry and show unclear footage.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are Tesla cameras always recording when parked?

Yes! The exterior cameras record all the time when the car’s parked. That way the Sentry Mode can track any suspicious moments near your car. Similarly, the dashcam can record using the rear, side, and front cameras.

2. Are Tesla cameras always recording in motion?

When the car is in motion, the cabin camera starts to record and you can see it using the Live Camera via Mobile App. For that, use your phone and open the Tesla App.

3. Does Tesla record accidents while parked?

Tesla can record accidents via the Dashcam while the car is parked. For that, it requires to turn on the Dashcam and set to Auto.

4. Does Tesla save camera footage?

No! Tesla server doesn’t save camera footage (videos or images). However, you can save the footage locally via the USB drive.


If all the cameras in Tesla cars record without permission, it can be a scary scenario as they can violate privacy or sell your information to others.

But, they can’t do this as long as you play safe and give permission to the exterior cameras only. And, I’ll suggest not allowing cabin cameras to take footage if you prefer privacy inside the car while sitting with your friends or family members.

Hope you find this guide easy to understand and feel free to ask any query. Now, if you can’t see the footages clearly on the left and right sides, learn how to fix Tesla side camera issues here. Be safe!

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