Activating/Deactivating the BMW Drive Recorder on BMW i4

2 min read

Bmw i4 drive recorder

The BMW i4 Drive Recorder saves short clips of the area around your car (up to 20 seconds before and after a trigger). It uses the parking system cameras, giving you a general all-around view.
Recordings are saved to the i4’s files and can be exported from here if necessary. The footage is overlaid with the following information:

  • Date and time
  • Vehicle speed
  • GPS coordinates

The i4’s Drive Recorder is particularly important for recording events in an accident or road rage (whether or not it happened to you). Clips saved give an accurate viewpoint and can help with insurance claims or criminal prosecutions.
Of course, you could also use it for fun!
This page explains how to activate and deactivate the Drive Recorder on the BMW i4. Read your owner’s manual for the most specific, up-to-date information.

How to activate the BMW i4 Drive Recorder

You must activate the Drive Recorder before you can use it (either in automatic or manual mode). Follow these instructions:

  1. Open the Menu.
  2. Go to All Apps.
  3. Choose Drive Recorder.
  4. Read and accept the data protection policy.
    • You only need to do this if it’s the first time set-up.
    • Touch Start Set-up Assistant if you’d like help from here on out.
  5. Alternatively, select Settings.
  6. Check the box next to Recording Allowed.
  7. Pick the individual settings you’d like to set up.
    • See more below.

Once the Drive Recorder is activated, it’ll automatically record (as per your settings) in the event of an accident.

How to deactivate the BMW i4 Drive Recorder

You can deactivate the BMW i4 Drive Recorder from the same menu.

  1. Open Apps.
  2. Tap Drive Recorder.
  3. Select Settings.
  4. Deselect the check box next to Recording Allowed.

You might need to deactivate the Drive Recorder when someone else is using the car or crossing state or international borders.

BMW i4 Drive Recorder: adjustable settings

You can alter the following settings in the Drive Recorder menu:

  • Activate or deactivate the Drive Recorder
  • Recording length before and after the trigger (manual or automatic)
    • Choose from 0, 5, 10, 15, or 20 seconds before and after
  • Select the desired cameras
    • Pick from All, Front and rear, Front, or Rear
  • Choose the recording types you want to activate. Most choose to activate both at the same time.
    • In Automatic, clips automatically save in the case of an accident.
    • Select Manual so you can manually save videos via the button or iDrive.
    • Note that you can have them both active at the same time. They won’t interfere with or override each other.

How to manually take a clip using the BMW i4 Drive Recorder

You can take a manual clip in one of two ways.

  • Drive Recorder button (Panoramic View)
  • From the iDrive

The Drive Recorder button is a far safer and more accessible option, especially if you’re driving at the time.

How to use the i4 Drive Recorder button

Manually recording a clip using the Drive Recorder button is very simple.

  1. Press and hold the Drive Recorder button for two to three seconds.
    • The button is in the center console, near the drive mode selector.

How to record a clip from the iDrive

Go to the same menu to start recording manually.

  1. Bring up Apps.
  2. Find and select Drive Recorder.
  3. Tap Start recording.

Problems with the BMW i4 Drive Recorder

The Drive Recorder generally works pretty well, especially if your car’s involved in a severe shunt or accident. The impact triggers the Drive Recorder to save the previous 20 seconds of footage automatically.
However, many owners report it not working well for minor collisions, such as roadkill. The jolt isn’t enough to activate the automatic recording sensor.
If you’re involved in any kind of road accident, try to remember to press the manual Drive Recorder button. Of course, you might not have the presence of mind to do so in these circumstances; that’s understandable. But it makes sense to take extra precautions if possible.

Notes on data protection

  • Before setting the Drive Recorder up, you must check the local legalities and data protection regulations. There won’t be any issues in most countries or states, but it’s always worth making sure.
  • When you drive across a border, check the Drive Recorder’s legality in the new location. In some cases, you might be better off deactivating it while you’re there.
  • Ensure you read all the terms and conditions, no matter how tempting it might be to skip them.
  • The more critical note regards other drivers or subsequent owners. These must all be informed of the Drive Recorder and what it does and given the option to disable it.

Read your owner’s manual for the most model-relevant and up-to-date information. If you can’t find your in-person version, there’s a PDF copy below.

BMW i4 drive recorder

By Ben Kitchen Ben is a qualified car mechanic with experience working in the industry. He now works as an automotive author, writing about all things vehicle-related. He’s excited about the potential held by electric cars of all shapes, sizes, and types.

Ben Kitchen Ben is a qualified car mechanic with experience working in the industry. He now works as an automotive author, writing about all things vehicle-related. He’s excited about the potential held by electric cars of all shapes, sizes, and types.

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