Formatting your GoPro’s SD card is an important step. It takes just a few seconds and can help avoid camera glitches. And GoPro makes it really easy to do this.
There are three easy ways to format a GoPro SD card: On your computer, in-camera, and via the GoPro Quik app. You can also format using diskpart CMD, but this is more complicated. Here are the steps and tips for each method.
Remember to upload your images before formatting your SD card. Formatting will erase all photos and video files.
Here’s why formatting is better than deleting your SD card.
4 Ways to Format Your GoPro SD Card
Here are the formatting methods, beginning with the easiest.
1. Format Your SD Card in Your GoPro
This method will permanently clear your SD card’s files (photos and videos).
- Insert your microSD card and power on your camera.
- Swipe down and tap Preferences.
- Scroll to Reset (last option). Then select Format SD Card. You’ll get a window asking you to confirm, “Delete all files and reformat your SD card?”.
- On Hero12 through Hero7: Tap Format
- On Hero6 and Hero5: Tap Delete
The reformatting action Your SD card has now been cleared – deleting every photo and video.
Now you have a blank canvas to go out and fill with memories and adventures.
Here are the images of each step.
2. Format GoPro SD Card With Quik App
Here’s how to format your SD card using the GoPro Quik app.
- Connect your GoPro to your phone via the Quik app.
- Go to Settings (Gear icon). This will display Camera Preferences
- Scroll down to Delete header. Tap on “Delete All Files from SD Card”
- Confirm “Delete All Files (Format)”
- You’ll see the Done message with checkmark.
Your card is now formatted and ready for filming.
This is also a simple method, but you must have your phone paired with your camera.
3. Format GoPro SD Card on Your Computer
Here’s how to format your SD card with your computer. This is a pretty simple method, and especially easy if you’re already connected to upload your footage.
- Insert your SD card into your computer using either the SD card slot or USB port (with a reader).
- Open Windows Explorer: If the card isn’t recognized automatically, press Window Key + E. This will open File Explorer.
- Navigate to “This PC” in the left sidebar. Your SD card should be visible under this header.
- Right-click on your SD card and select “Format”.
- Here, you can add “Volume Label” and give a name to your SD card. This isn’t required, but can help manage multiple SD cards.
- You’ll see a warning message (Formatting will erase ALL data). Click OK (if you already backed up your photos and videos). Once it completes formatting, you’ll see the “Format Complete” window. Click OK to close the window.
Here’s some help for connecting your GoPro to your computer.
Here’s what the Windows menu will look like, as you format the SD card from your GoPro.
Learn more with our GoPro SD Card Guide
4. Having Trouble? Use CMD
Diskpart CMD can format damaged or corrupted SD cards (and other memory devices). It can be more complicated than the automated formatting of the first three options. But if your card is glitchy, this might be the best step.
Best File System for High-Capacity SD Cards
Which file system should you use? You’ll see the option to choose either FAT32 or exFAT.
- exFAT: Current System. exFAT (Extended File Allocation Table) replaces FAT32. This system allows for individual files larger than 4GB. For larger SD cards, this is the default file system. This is the recommended file system for SDXC memory cards.
- FAT32: Older System. This is the recommended file system for SD and SDHC memory cards. FAT32 has a maximum file size of 4GB.
Reasons to Format Your GoPro’s SD Card
It is best practice to format your SD card each time you put it in your camera. And every time you purchase a new card.
This can prevent glitches and freezing in your camera. And formatting is faster than deleting manually.
This step is especially important if moving cards between cameras. This is what has caused me the most trouble. Remember that this only takes a second and prevents the frustration of losing your footage.
Read more about formatting SD cards for other cameras.
Learn more about how to get the most from your GoPro.
How did it go for you? Please share your questions and tips below!
- About the Author
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Hey, I’m Bryan! I’m a content creator and co-founder of Storyteller Tech.
Experienced GoPro Videographer: I’ve been shooting with GoPro cameras for over 11 years. My first GoPro was the Hero3 Silver, bought for a Galapagos work trip in 2012. Today I own 20+ action cameras, including GoPro, DJI, and Insta360 cameras.
Professional Creator: Dena and I have developed video and content marketing plans for numerous international travel brands. And we also run several content businesses.