Using the Sandisk iXpand USB stick for the Tesla Dashcam (128GB) - tips

Using the Sandisk iXpand USB stick for the Tesla Dashcam (128GB) - tips

I purchased the Sandisk iXpand USB stick (128GB) because it has a Lightning adapter integrated right into the USB stick, so if there's a fender bender accident, I can immediately copy the dashcam footage to the iPhone and upload to the cloud.

Some tips:
- you need to reformat the USB drive from the NTFS format to the FAT32 format
- if you are formatting from a Mac, make sure you keep the scheme to be "Master Boot Record," not GUID. If you set it to GUID, you won't be able to access the files from your iPhone.
- don't forget to create a folder called "TeslaCam."
- you need to access the USB files from the iPhone using the Sandisk iXpand app.
- with the new Sentry Mode, you need a USB stick that is at least 8 GB, because the Sentry Mode requires at least 6GB of buffer space. But keep in mind every "save" will cost you 1GB. So having a somewhat large USB is a good idea.

JIWONY | 13 March, 2019

Hello everyone.

j.nichol | 13 March, 2019

I tried to respond to this, and it wouldn't let me the first time. Trying again.

I just posted something similar but with my own experience setting up my USB. Yours is more streamlined.

Also, did you not have any problems with the larger drive? Did you format it with a Mac or Windows? I'd read many people complaining that they couldn't format the larger drives in FAT32.

tli0720 | 29 April, 2019

I bought a 256GB Sandisk iXpand, icon appears with grey x, folder is created properly. Not sure why, plan to return it

johntran | 30 April, 2019

For anyone need help with formatting, I've written step-by-step instruction (with pictures) that you can easily follow. Hope it'll be helpful for those who are not familiar with it. I've written for Micro SD card, but the process is the same for USB. It's just a removable drive from a computer perspective.



scherer326 | 30 April, 2019

If you are still getting the gray X after deleting old teslacam videos then use this tool to get the record feature to work again:

this worked for my ixpand and I no longer get the X unless my usb is full. I then just delete old videos and I get the red recording image once again.

ColonyGolfer | 30 April, 2019

I bought a Tesla FAT32 formatted Sandisk drive on EBay for $29.99 and it works flawlessly. Not iPhone cloud-connected, but for the price, it is great.

Alameda EV Guy | 30 April, 2019

Purchased the 128GB iXpand, formatted to FAT32 on windows pc, works just fine in Tesla 3.

But, it is not recognized by app on iPhone, which of course, defeats the whole point of having this USB.

Anyone else successfully get the whole process to work and verified?

derotam | 30 April, 2019

@ColonyGolfer...what size was it. 1GB at $29 isn't a good price for example... also you get what you pay for....and there are a lot of counterfeits thumb drives out there so watch out.

Not trying to say anything bad about what you bought, just want to basically say that it might work flawlessly now but if it is not a high quality product, it could fail faster, hence the you get what you pay for statement.

I know too much about bad/counterfeit thumb drives...I personally would never go to Ebay for one...Amazon isn't really much better.

hzb | 30 April, 2019

I've been using a 16gb for music and 32 gb flash drives for dashcam. I tried replacing them with a single 256 gb flash drive. all 3 are sandisk and fairly recently purchased. the 256 flash drive is not recognized by my m3. is there a official tesla information on the largest flash drive you can use? | 30 April, 2019

Yep - Lots of fakes. I wrote up how to test your drive if you suspect it is a fake or counterfeit:

Even then, most no-name or "cheap" drives are crap. If they work at all, they will not last long when used to record video. | 30 April, 2019

@hzb - Limit is around 2TB. 256 GB is fine.

derotam | 30 April, 2019

@TeslaTap, is that from experience, or do you have a reference for your statement? | 30 April, 2019

@@hzb - To expand, you can't have music and the dashcam on the same partition. You have to go through a fairly long process to properly partition a flash drive - not for the weak at heart :) With two partitions, once can be for music and one for the dashcam. Both partitions need to be FAT32 (not exFAT or NTFS). They also could ge ext4 if you're using Linux.

hzb | 30 April, 2019

thanks teslatap. mine may be formatted efat, i'll check. good to know that 256gb isn't the issue.

Alameda EV Guy | 30 April, 2019

Here is my testing:
iXpand 128GB. Formatted to FAT32 using the guiformat tool (Windows 10 PC). Created TeslaCam folder, placed into Tesla 3...everything works great to record videos.

Take thumb drive to iPhone Xs Max (everything is up to date), the iXpand app continues to state plug in your iXpand Drive to get started, but, nothing happens when plugged in.

Took iXpand drive back to PC, reformatted to exFAT32, placed a video file on it (for fun), tried again to reconnect iXpand to fine, it is recognized, and the file is played without issue.

So, from my perspective, iXpand app on iOS does not seem to support FAT32 formatted iXpand thumb drive.

PS. I also ensured that it was formatted to MBR as it was noted by the OP.

Anyone else successfully using iXpand drive, formatted to FAT32, on both Tesla 3 AND iPhone?


Azulejo | 9 May, 2019

e a new 64GB iXpand. It came formatted in FAT32 and worked fine with phone and PC. I added TeslaCam folder, but the drive was invisible to my M3. I reformatted multiple times with the GUI utility and still no luck. I reformatted with a MAC (MS-DOS and MBR) and now it works both in the car and on my iPhone. The only problem is that some of the recorded videos from Sentry won’t play and it says the file format is not supported. Others play just fine. The error is not specific to a camera, but appears with some files for all of them. Progress, but still not quite right.

Azulejo | 9 May, 2019

I have...

josia75 | 9 May, 2019

@Azulejo I purchased a 32GB iXpand and I’m running into the issue that you were having. My iphone and computer recognize the flash drive just fine but my M3 does not. I only have a windows computer on hand and I tried formatting it multiple ways through various software and no luck. I will try your Mac method on my brothers Mac and see if I get lucky then

Alameda EV Guy | 9 May, 2019

I posted earlier, but, I went to friends house who has Mac, formatted on Mac, and now works on iPhone, PC, and and Tesla.

There is something different about how PC formats, and I used GUI format, and the utility from sdcard site.

Syed.Hosain | 9 May, 2019

@derotam "@TeslaTap, is that from experience, or do you have a reference for your statement?"

TeslaTap is right - the upper limit for a FAT32 drive is 2TB (with a max file size limit of 4GB too).

However, the stock Microsoft Windows format program only allows a max of 32GB for FAT32 for some silly reason. So, you have to use a third-party tool to do the format, or use the Windows command line program "format" in a Powershell if you know how to do so.

johntran | 10 May, 2019

For anyone still having issue with Dashcam not working, this is a perfect solution, which has been tested and verified:

lingzhou125 | 11 May, 2019

Hi all - I found a solution that works!
The tip about formatting with a Mac lead me to believe that there was something going on with guiformat. I tried Easeus which didn't work but finally got it to work with another free program called RMPrepUSB. Make sure you check the option to 'Set partition as non-bootable'
Good luck!

Daryl | 11 May, 2019

I bought a USB-C to USB-A adapter for my Pixel 3XL (Amazon; 2 units for $6), so I can pull the flash drive out of the car and plug it into my phone. It works fine to just play back the videos, but it would be nice to be able to play them directly on the car's screen, fast, slow, etc. Wading through several clips to find the incident you are looking for is a little tedious on the phone.

Boosh | 26 May, 2019

Thanks Johntran, just ordered from that link

jason.harris | 30 May, 2019

I bought the Sandisk 32 GB iXpand Flash Drive SDIX30C-032G-GN6NN) which is the one the has a Lighting Plug curled up on the other end so you can plug it into your iPhone to view the videos. I formatted it 32FAT, created folder called Teslacam but it does not get detected when I plug it into the front ports of my Model S. I have a couple small cheap 8GB thumb drives that work, but they are filling up all in one day now due to Sentry Mode's current firmare (didnt fill up everyday before...). I have tried multiple times to format. I have compared all the info on the cheap drives that work with this iXpand one, and everything is identical.

Do I return this one and try another one? It sounds like others have been able to get this one to work, I think (this thread started with how to make this one work, but it was a 128GB stick). Is mine a dud, or just doesnt work for Tesla (it worked fine before I formatted it so it works, just not being detected by the Tesla)

Any help would be appreciated,

rob | 31 May, 2019

If it doesn't work and you have it formatted FAT32 and the TeslaCam directory on it, then it is probably the boot sector. I have 128GB Samsung. Formatted it FAT32 but it didn't work. Changed the boot sector from MBR to GUID and it worked. Heard others say it works with MBR. I think changing it from one to the other clears the boot sector and either will work.

maduong | 10 June, 2019

Need help...I have a 128G iXpand...I used a MAC to format it to fine and will record. I have the iXpand app on my phone however, it will not play the videos. I have verified that there are indeed videos on the usb drive because I plugged it into my computer and was able to view the videos.

Have read that if I change it to MBR then it can work. It is currently GUID, but I can't seem to figure out how to do this from disk utility in the MAC.

Can anyone help?

kwan.kenneth | 23 June, 2019

I got the 64GB iXpand, had hard time formatting it properly to FAT32 using Windows 10 so the Tesla would recognize it. I tried Eassos, Windows PowerShell, Ridgecrop Consultants, all 3 of those options did not work. It was frustrating me and was going to return it.

I saw in the thread lingzhou125 suggestion, the free program called RMPrepUSB. I tried it out and it worked. I set the option to 'Set partition as non-bootable', WinPEv2, FAT32, then prepared the drive.

The Tesla now properly recognizes it, records properly. I can also connect it to my iPhone and view the files. Thanks!

johngsc | 24 June, 2019

I put in my FAt32 flash drive into my car but a get a solid dark large dot. It all goes away when I drive. Any suggestions? | 24 June, 2019

@johngsc - That's the sentry option. It is only available when parked. Tap it to turn it on. If your car is HW2.0, then there are no dashcam features available and you don't need the flash drive.

DaShyt | 24 June, 2019

@johngsc ~ Make sure you create a folder on the flashdrive and name it TeslaCam

lcoop96 | 30 June, 2019

@maduong - I have the same problem. I can see the videos on my Mac but when I put the IXpand in my iPhone it sees nothing. Deleted app, reinstalled, etc. Did you figure out anything that works?

rcabrale | 2 July, 2019

Hello All, I had the same issues with a SanDisk 256GB micro sd card in a type "3" USB reader. I then read kwan.kenneth, post on June 23, 2019, the link is below for your convenience.

It was a bit stressful but was able to download and figure out the settings. My main issue was the RMPrepUSB was not recognizing the sd card bc, it was formatted to fat32 using other methods (that did not work in the teslam3. I simply reformatted it using windows 10 to default settings. Went back to RMPrepUSB and it found the SD card. Followed the steps, I placed the Teslam3 but again it did not see it!!!!! I then used an older (type "1" or "2") USB reader and inserted into the Tesla, didn't see it at first (on the screen). Then about 30 sec later it saw it but was gray. I long pressed it and it turned to red for a sec, then back to gray. I long pressed again (too one or two tries) then staid red.

I went back a few hrs later and it was still red! Let's hope this works as I don't want to do this every time! Tesla must fix this in an update!

willloxa | 20 July, 2019

Hi all - I found a solution that works!
The tip about formatting with a Mac lead me to believe that there was something going on with guiformat. I tried Easeus which didn't work but finally got it to work with another free program called RMPrepUSB. Make sure you check the option to 'Set partition as non-bootable'
Good luck!

howard | 20 July, 2019

I just bought a new 256GB iXpand Flash Drive and have it working on both the Tesla and iPhone. I did not use RMPrepUSB which seemed to be more of a spam/junk download to me. I used EaseUS Partition. I already had it on my computer from some time ago. I formated for Fat 32 with Cluster Size set at 64KB. Plugged into the Tela and after a minute camera with a red dot. I drove it for a day and then downloaded the iXpand Drive application to my phone and walked thru the install. Then took the iDrive out of the car and plugged it into the phone and opened iXpand Drive. Walked thru a few more prompts then the application seemed to lock up with the constant message "Arranging your content so you don't have to..." I finally after about 15 minutes closed the application and pugged the iXpand into my laptop. All is good, it reads the files just fine. The issue is after a day of driving, I had 4 folders chalked full of video files. I deleted all but one and put the iXpand backing to my iPhone and opened the iXpand Drive. After a minute it showed and played the single file.

I removed the drive and put it back in. This time it did not try to read and auto-arrange the files. I'll have to see if this remains the case after another day of driving and another pile of videos. If it tries to auto-arrange every time with a pile of videos on the drive not sure it will be practical.

Wish there were separate folders only for requested video saved and then another for Sentry Mode.

mmoskowitz | 20 July, 2019

I am very much a newby in the Tesla Universe.
Videos are recording just fine on my thumbdrive, but playback is a major pain.
I found this app posted here that is supposed to nicely play all 3 camera videos at the same time:

I cannot make it work on two different Win10 PCs with Chrome. Tried Firefox- same result.
Files are selected, the screen looks like ready to play, three windows show three different file names, but hitting Play does not do anything, the screens stay dark.
The MP4 files play nicely on the PC otherwise, just not in this neat app.
Anyone had this problem and was able to fix it?
Please help.

raqball | 20 July, 2019

I had similar issue with the iXpand Mini drive and needed to format is as an MBR. On macOS there is no longer an MBR option so I used Terminal and this command: (note: In the below command I named the stick Tesla and my stick was disk2)

sudo diskutil eraseDisk FAT32 Tesla MBRFormat /dev/disk2

EVRider | 20 July, 2019

You can use the macOS Disk Utility to format and choose either MBR or GUID, but you have to select the device rather than the volume.

In Disk Utility, click the View button in the top left corner and select Show All Devices, and you'll see the devices shown with the volumes under them. If you click a device and select Erase, you should get the options you need. As always, make sure you select the correct device to avoid erasing the wrong drive. :-)

DAlexModel3 | 21 July, 2019

@ mmoskowitz, I believe I read somewhere on this forum that the new Tesla computer (hw v. 3) records video in a different format than that used until this spring. This new format is apparently playable in MS Edge, so I would try opening the sentrycam app in Edge rather than Chrome and see if that works. I use sentrycam with Chrome (I am on HW v 2.5) and it is a nice, simple app that works well. Good luck.

CRAIGJFIFTY3 | 22 July, 2019

@mmoskowitz, It will only work (for me) with MS Edge. And I still had to download a codec for it.

kirwin | 23 July, 2019

I was using an ordinary memory stick and decided to upgrade to a Sandisk High Endurance micro-SD in a Sandisk USB reader. Trying to format it found FAT32 not available, only exFAT. Added TeslaCam folder and installed in my Model 3. The car doesn't recognize it.

raqball | 23 July, 2019

Are you on a Windows PC? That's probably;y why you can't format it to FAT32 is you are trying on a SD stick more than 32GB..

You can use Poweshell to format it though. Replace the X in the below command with your SD stick drive letter.

format /FS:FAT32 X:

If you don't want to do that or don't feel comfortable using Powershell you can download something like this for FAT32

Good luck..

kirwin | 23 July, 2019

Thank you raqball. It took a long time to run the format and when finished, I got the message it is too large for FAT32. it is 132GB. What is the limit for FAT32?

raqball | 23 July, 2019

FAT32 on Windows it's 32GB.... Unless you use something like to command or formatting program I linked to.

On a Mac so special commands or programs are needed.

kirwin | 23 July, 2019

raqball, your'e idea of using FAT32 format worked like a champ. Also being quick format, it was done in a flash. I took it down to my car and installed it and it works! Thank you, thank you!

raqball | 23 July, 2019


Glad you are up and running!

drbob | 27 July, 2019

Funny that it is easier to format a USB drive to a Windows format with a Mac than it is with a Windows computer :-)

PinkOak | 24 August, 2019

...just sharing...
I formatted my iXpand with a Mac and everything was fine until the SanDisk app said that I should upgrade to TopReel b/c the format was not as compatible. OMG...drama! Nothing worked after that. After multiple attempts with Mac and Windows (...did not try downloading from outside websites), I got it to work after someone used Linux operating system to format it to fat32.