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Written by: Jim Davis — Last updated: 

Back when I first got myself a GoPro camera, it was the summer of 2005 and times were simpler. The GoPro 35mm HERO was the pinnacle of action cameras even though the entire control system consisted of only a couple of regular buttons. At the time, touchscreen and voice controls weren’t popular and no one knew action cameras would be so different in 2020.

Today, properly using a GoPro camera can get complicated. Newer models introduce a multitude of new features that some people can find confusing. A plethora of online guides are available for these kinds of things although some are even more confusing considering the technical language they use.

Today, I’ll talk you through how to use a GoPro in regards to its most basic features and controls.


How to Turn Off a GoPro

There are three ways to turn off your camera.

Turning off GoPro with Voice Controls

For the latest GoPro cameras with voice commands, you have to say "GoPro turn Off"

That's it - done.

Manually Turning Off Your GoPro

Manually turning off your camera is the easiest way, and of course, this is the way that is supported by every model. You need to press and hold the "Mode" button for a few seconds.

turning off gopro hero7 blackMost cameras notify you with a beep or flashing lights that they are being turned off.

How to Use GoPro Auto Power-Off

You can find an auto power-off setting on most of the newer cameras, and you can set it to 5 minutes, 15 minutes, or 30 minutes depending on the camera. Not all cameras support this, but those who don't usually have a default option to turn off after a few inactivity minutes.

The easiest way to take care of your camera and battery is to turn it off when you do not use it.


How to Charge a GoPro Camera

In the 21st century, everyone knows how to charge an electrical device such as a cellphone, a laptop, or a camera. However, people often wonder what is the correct way of charging your batteries to prevent any possible damage. Rest easy, as it's quite simple:

How to Charge a GoPro - The Proper Way

The first step is to turn off the camera and its Wi-Fi/Bluetooth/GPS and detach other connections and accessories (yes, even gimbals). 

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You will know that the camera is charging when the red light turns on, and you will notice that the camera is fully charged when the light turns off.

Most of the cameras come with a USB wall charger that outputs 5V and 1A; newer versions come with 5V and 2A wall charger. You can always recharge your GoPro with a USB cable connected to your computer, phone charger, power bank, etc. All GoPro cameras come with a charger that is best compatible with the camera, but if by any chance your charger isn’t working you can order one from their official website.

gopro supercharger battery

The best ways to recharge your battery are using the charger that came with your GoPro, GoPro supercharger, or a GoPro dual battery charger.

GoPro supercharger and GoPro Dual battery charger aren't necessary for everyone, but they can be quite useful even if you aren't a professional. These handy GoPro accessories can boost the battery charging speed from 20% to 70%.

We suggest that all types of video makers should always have a spare GoPro rechargeable battery.

How Long Does a GoPro Battery Last

Your battery life depends on what GoPro camera you own. Most cameras have a battery that will last at least 2 hours. Of course, battery health decays overtime.

The biggest battery draining issue is having too many features turned on. You won't always need to have voice control, Wi-Fi, GPS, etc., turned on, so be mindful about such things.

gopro low battery

Other factors include having your camera and batteries exposed to cold temperatures for a long time, using old or cheap batteries, or using the smartphone app at all times.

Another essential thing to have in mind is that the higher the video's quality, the shorter the battery will last. Make sure to know the limits of your camera, but also what you want. Some people like to record short videos with excellent quality, and others need to record lengthy videos with medium or low video quality.

If for some reason you want to record lengthy videos with superb quality, having an external battery charger ready at all times is the solution.

How to Reset a GoPro Camera

Are you wondering how to reset your GoPro camera software settings or do you want to physically reset it? If it's the latter then simply turn it off then back on. If it's the former, there are couple of solutions:

How to Reset GoPro Preferences/Settings

Resetting your GoPro settings is quite simple. With newer models, you can do it in a few seconds.

Make sure not to confuse Factory reset with Preset reset since the factory reset will reset the date, clear your connections and disconnect you from your GoPro plus account.

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Here is an easy guide on how to reset some of the most popular GoPro models:

GoPro MAX Factory Reset
  • From the main screen, swipe down
  • You are now at the dashboard screen
  • Preferences > Reset > Reset Defaults
GoPro Hero8 Black Factory Reset
  • Swipe down to access the Dashboard
  • Tap Preferences > Reset
  • Tap Reset Presets
GoPro Hero7 Silver Factory Reset
  • From the main screen, swipe down
  • Preferences > Reset > Reset Defaults
  • Tap Confirm Reset
GoPro Hero7 Black Factory Reset
  • From the main screen, swipe down
  • Tap Preferences > Reset
  • Tap Reset Defaults > Confirm Reset

If you're using a model we haven't talked about, refer to the official GoPro guide on how to reset camera settings or send me a message.


How to Update a GoPro Camera

There are three ways to update your GoPro, from the GoPro app, from Quik for desktop, or manually.

How to Update GoPro Using the App

If you have a GoPro app version 3.1 or greater, you have the option to update your HERO7 Black/Silver/White, HERO (2018), HERO6, HERO5, HERO4, HERO3+, HERO+ family, and HERO Session / HERO4 wirelessly. It's incredibly easy to update your GoPro camera, all you need is smartphones and internet connections.

Things to have in mind before updating your phone is that the updates are about 25MB and that your camera and smartphone are fully charged.

GoPro App Update Step-by-Step Guide

gopro hero4 mobile updateStep 1: You need to start the GoPro app and then select the "Control your GoPro". Next, choose the camera you want to update.

Step 2: If there is an update, you will see a disclaimer with the available release notes. You should now press update.

Step 3: Now a transferring of files will start, and when it ends, the camera will power off and install the updates.

Step 4: Reconnect to the camera and relaunch the GoPro app. The app will notify you that the update is successful.

HERO4, HERO3+, HERO+ family, and HERO Session / HERO4 Session cameras Require turning on their Bluetooth connection.

How to Update GoPro Using Quik (Desktop)

People that don't have a smartphone can always use the Quik desktop app. This doesn't require a particular explanation since you can do this in two steps.

GoPro Quik Update Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Connect your GoPro with your computer.

Step 2: Open Quik, and if there is an update available, click the blue button.

Updating a GoPro Camera Manually

You can update your camera manually by going to the GoPro official website, logging in using your camera's 14-digit serial number, and then downloading the update. Here's the link to the official GoPro update page


What We Learned [Recap]

In this beginner guide on how to use GoPro cameras, we went over some basic actions you have to be able to perform in order to operate GoPro cameras successfully: 

If you believe I missed something - don't hesitate to contact us and share your ideas. We'll do best to update the guide as soon as possible. Stay tuned for a more advanced guide on how to use GoPro cameras to make your footage and pictures better than ever!