The first thing many of our customers do when they receive their new dash cam is look for a firmware update and run it before they even get their camera set up. In our experience though, we can't really recommend this as firmware updates have the potential to cause damage to a camera if the update were to fail. If a camera bricks it can be replaced under warranty but this is unnecessary hassle for our customers and while it's being replaced they are without a camera. Note that if your dash cam is damaged by a firmware update and it is out of warranty, the manufacturer is not responsible for this damage and it can not be repaired for free. Thinkware and Blackvue dash cams are the most prone to issues after performing a firmware update.
Generally speaking, firmware updates don't add any new features or change the video quality. Some manufacturers will put out release notes to explain what's been changed but typically it's to fix a stability bug that is affecting a small number of units. If that's all the firmware update offers and you aren't experiencing any bugs with it, it's generally best to leave it alone. Check out our list below for times when you should do a firmware update.
When Should you attempt a Firmware Update?
- If your camera is restarting randomly or not recording even after checking the power cable, hardwiring, and trying different memory cards
- If one of the features are not working properly (e.g., GPS or WiFi)
- If the firmware update offers a new feature you are looking for (check release notes!)