How to format usb for tesla dashcam?

The process of formatting a USB drive to be used with a Tesla Dashcam is relatively straightforward. It is crucial to correctly format the USB drive to ensure the Dashcam can properly store and access video recordings. 

With the assistance of this guide, you’ll be able to efficiently and effectively format a USB drive to maximize the performance and reliability of your Tesla Dashcam.

Tesla Dashcams and Sentry Mode require a USB device to store videos. FAT32 (Windows) and ext4 (Linux) are the only compatible file formats. Generally, up to 32 GB USB flash drives come pre-formatted with FAT32, while larger flash drives are usually NTFS. It is necessary to reformat these devices on a PC or Mac before they can be used in the vehicle. The device will be deleted if you format it.

Formatting the USB device in the car:

Step 1: Attach a USB device to the front USB port. 

Step 2: Select the “Security” option from the list on the car’s settings screen.

 Step 3: After selecting the “Format USB device,” a warning will appear indicating that all data on the USB device will be erased.

format usb drive

Step 4: On the next screen, click the button that says ‘Proceed and OK’

formatting usb device

Viola, it will be formatted.

The TeslaCam folder will be created on the disk as soon as the USB device is formatted. The USB device will now be formatted as an exFAT file system.

The formatting button on your Tesla will not be visible if you have two or one memory stick with two partitions attached to it.

In this case, you will need to use a computer or Mac to format the device if your Tesla detects more than one partition on the storage device.

Format the USB device for the Tesla (Windows PC):

With Rufus, you can format a USB device on a Windows computer. Rufus works like a USB flash drive, but you must first install the following tool for formatting a USB device. The next steps show you how to format a USB device on Windows 10.

Warning: You will lose all data on the USB device during formatting!

Step 1: Connect the USB device to your Windows computer.

Step 2: Download the Rufus tool from the official website.

Step 3: Open the Rufus tool and select your USB device from the drop-down menu.

Step 4: Select the “exFAT” file system from the File System menu.

Step 5: Click the “Start” button to start the formatting process. 

Step 6: You will see a success message after the formatting process.

Step 7: Once you complete formatting, you will see an empty folder named teslacam.

When the USB device is plugged into the car’s USB port, the Dashcam logo with a red dot appears in the upper-right corner. This indicates that the vehicle is recording video and saving it to the USB.

Problems you might face:

The Dashcam icon with the red dot does not appear:

red icon on tesla car

If a vehicle does not recognize a USB device, it could be due to the USB device not being formatted in FAT32 or ext4 file system or a TeslaCam folder not being created.

The device should be plugged directly into the USB port to test this. If the device is plugged directly into the USB port, another possible cause could be a USB hub or an extension cable.

Additionally, many users have reported resolving the issue by setting the “Cluster size” to 4096 bytes or naming the folder “Teslacam” without capitalization. In addition, it has been suggested that some devices may only work on specific USB ports. Lastly, the Rufus Tool may format the device differently than Windows 10 Explorer, so trying it is a good idea.

Videos sometimes contain image interference:

Due to the USB device not meeting the USB3 standard, its writing speed is low. The USB device must meet the USB3 standard and possess sufficient writing speed capabilities to handle large amounts of data rapidly.

Videos are no longer recorded.

Dashcam sequences and sentry mode videos may be deleted automatically by Tesla software version V10 or higher. You can check the fill level of the device by connecting it to a PC or Mac.

If the device is full, it will only function once it is manually filled. It may be necessary to reformat the device before it can be used again. After one hour, the data on the Dashcam will be automatically overwritten.

The USB device suddenly no longer works in your Tesla:

Disconnecting the device from the USB port without finishing the video recording may mean you must reformat it to get it working again. Stop the video recording by pressing and holding the Dashcam icon (it will turn gray when it’s halted). You should wait to pull the device out of the port until the red dot on the symbol disappears.

FAQ About Tesla Format USB :

1. Does Tesla accept exFAT?

A USB drive must be formatted beforehand in one of the following formats to work with a Tesla vehicle: FAT 32, MS-DOS FAT, ext3, ext4, or exFAT.

2. How do I format a USB drive for a Tesla on Mac?

Step 1: Connect your USB to your Mac or Windows computer.

Step 2: Start “Disk Utility.”

Step 3: Choose the device you want to erase and ensure the file format is MS-DOS (FAT).

Step 4: Choose “Erase”.

Your USB will now be able to be read and written by Tesla after these steps have been completed.

3. Do I need a USB for Sentry Mode?

Sentry Mode footage must be stored and retrieved on a USB device.


Following this guide will be one step closer to formatting your USB drive for the tesla dashcam. Afterward, you can use your Dashcam to capture important videos and recordings. This article was a valuable resource for you. If you have any further questions, please leave a comment below!

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