How to Format an SD Card for GoPro Camera: a Detailed Guide

Written by
Approved by

Formatting your SD card is a great way to give it a fresh start before you insert it into your GoPro camera. If you’ve got a new SD card, you might need to format the SD card for GoPro so it’s in a compatible file system. If you’ve been using the SD card for a while, formatting it for GoPro will help you clean out the existing data and make room for more pictures and videos.

It’s fairly easy to format SD cards for GoPro, but the camera’s interface sometimes requires more than a few clicks. If you haven’t formatted an SD card for GoPro before, we’re going to walk you through the process in this guide. However, let’s first talk about why you might want to format an SD card for GoPro.

Why Do You Need to Format an SD Card for GoPro?

There are various situations where formatting or reformatting the SD card for GoPro makes sense:

  • 📷 Use old SD card on a new GoPro camera: If you’ve purchased a new GoPro camera and want to use your old SD card, you’ll need to format the SD card to a filesystem that GoPro can read. The best filesystem to choose when you format an SD card for GoPro is FAT32 (for cards 32GB or smaller) or exFAT (for cards larger than 32GB).
  • 🧹 Clear the space: If you’ve got a lot of data on your SD card, you’ll need to make more space by erasing some of that data. If none of the data on the SD card is important to you or if you’ve already backed it up, you can go ahead and format the card to empty the entire storage space.
  • ⚠️ Resolve the errors: Storage devices often run into logical errors like filesystem corruption or end up malfunctioning because of virus or malware. Formatting the card eliminates almost all GoPro SD card errors and ensures that your SD card reverts back to its original, functional condition.

How to Format SD Card for GoPro?

There are several ways of formatting a microSD card for GoPro cameras. You can use various devices as well as operating systems and software, and we’ve listed the process for each one below.

Note: Formatting the SD card will erase all existing data. If you’ve already formatted the SD card and need to recover data, skip over to the next section.

Method 1: Format SD Card in GoPro Camera

The process of formatting an SD card in a GoPro camera differs among models. There’s no way to format SD cards using HERO Session, HERO4 Session, and HERO5 Session models. The process for other models is listed below.

Formatting SD Card in GoPro HERO 10, HERO9, and HERO8 Black

  1. Turn on the GoPro camera with the SD card inserted.
  2. Swipe down to open the menu and go to Preferences.
  3. Scroll down and select Reset.
  4. Select Format SD Card.

Formatting SD Card in GoPro HERO7 White, Black, and Silver

  1. Turn on the GoPro camera with the SD card inserted.
  2. Press the side button to open the menu and go to Preferences.
  3. Scroll down and select Reset.
  4. Select Format SD Card.

Formatting SD Card in GoPro HERO5 and HERO6 Black

  1. Turn on the GoPro camera with the SD card inserted.
  2. Press the side button to open the menu and go to Preferences.
  3. Scroll down and select Format SD Card.
  4. Select Delete.

Formatting SD Cards in GoPro HERO4 Black or Silver

  1. Start by going to Settings and scroll down to the Delete option (might also appear as a trash icon).
  2. Select All/Format.
  3. Select Delete.

Method 2: Format SD Card Using a Windows Computer

Formatting an SD card on Windows works the same way as for any other device:

  1. Connect the SD card to your PC and launch File Explorer.
  2. Right-click on the SD card and select Format.formatting gopro camera
  3. Choose a filesystem (ideally, FAT32 or exFAT), check the box next to Quick Format and click the Start button.start formatting gopro

Method 3: Format SD Card Using a Mac

If you’re on a Mac, here’s how to format SD cards:

  1. Launch Disk Utility.
  2. Select your SD card from the left sidebar.
  3. Select a filesystem (FAT32 if SD card is 32GB or smaller, exFAT otherwise) and click on Erase to start formatting.

Method 4: Format SD Card Using the GoPro Quik App

If your GoPro has Wi-Fi, you can format the SD card using the phone app:

  1. Connect the GoPro camera containing the SD card with the app using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.
  2. Go to Settings in the GoPro app and scroll down to the Delete option.
  3. Select the Delete option and tap on Delete All Files from SD Card.

How to Recover Data After Accidental Formatting

If you were only just playing around with your camera and had no intention of formatting, but you lost all your data by accidentally hitting the format button, you’ll end up losing access to that data. However, you can recover deleted GoPro files with an intelligent data recovery tool like Disk Drill. Here’s how:

Step 1. Download and Install Disk Drill

Download Disk Drill and install it on your PC. With the free version, you can recover up to 500MB of data.

installing disk drill

Step 2. Scan the SD Card

Launch Disk Drill once it’s installed and make sure the SD card is connected to your computer. Select the SD from the home screen. Next, click on the Search for lost data button on the app to start the scan.

selecting card in disk drill

Step 3. Select Files for Recovery

Once the scan is complete, you’ll see a list of files that Disk Drill found on the SD card. Select the files you want to recover by checking the boxes next to them. Since you’re likely trying to recover photos and videos, select the relevant file category from the left sidebar. Doing this filters the files and shows only the selected category of files such as pictures.

Then, click on the Recover button.

recovering files from sd card

Step 4. Recover Files

You’ll need to select a recovery location. Choose a location that’s different from the storage device you’re recovering from (the SD card in this case) to ensure you don’t overwrite any recoverable data. Once you’ve selected a location, click OK to recover the files.

recovering files to a local path on PC


It usually takes only a few seconds to format an SD card, provided you've selected the Quick format option. Where the option isn't selected, formatting can take much longer depending on its size (for instance, formatting an 8GB card may take roughly 20 minutes).
Some GoPro models like HERO Session, HERO4 Session, and HERO 5 session don't format SD cards. In such cases, you can either use your Windows or Mac computer, or the GoPro Quik app if your GoPro has Wi-Fi.
A format should clear a GoPro SD card. It erases all files, including videos, from your SD card. Alternatively, you can also choose to delete videos one by one if you don't want to delete all files on the SD card.
Arjun is an Tech ninja, codes HTML and CSS, and has received an honorary mention as the family’s go-to tech help during get-togethers. He has been writing guides for about six years and he’s currently a contributor on major Tech websites like MakeUseOf, HelpDeskGeek and 7 Data Recovery.
Approved by
Senior Data Recovery Engineer. Master's degree in Physics, Information Technology for Science Experiments.