GoPro Recovery Guide: Recover Deleted GoPro Files in Minutes

David Morelo
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Recover deleted GoPro files

You can see them in the hands of livestreamers, professional mountain bike riders, video producers, and even casual users who are interested in capturing memorable everyday moments. We’re talking, of course, about GoPro cameras

Thanks to their tiny size and amazing video quality, GoPro cameras, such as the new GoPro Hero 9, have taken the world by storm, giving us some of the most unbelievable footage that has ever been recorded. Unfortunately, not all recordings made with GoPro cameras live long enough to be seen by anyone. That’s because they often succumb to some of the common causes of data loss, such as accidental deletion, formatting, or data corruption.  

The good news is that GoPro video recovery is not only possible but also quite straightforward, as long as you have the right data recovery software and know how to use it, which is exactly where this guide comes in. 

What Video Format do GoPro Cameras Support?

All GoPro cameras use the MP4 file type and either the h.264 codec or HEVC (h.265). The latter coded is used in certain high-resolution and high-framerate modes because it greatly reduces the file size without degrading image quality. 

In addition to MP4 files, GoPro cameras create two other file types: 

  • LRV: Short for low-resolution video, GoPro uses these files to preview recorded footage on the built-in touch display LCD screen as well as inside the mobile app. That’s because the original video footage is so large that it would take a lot of processing power (and, consequently, battery life) to play it. Despite their unusual file extension, LRV files are actually just MP4 files in disguise. 
  • THM: Short for Thumbnail, THM files are small images that represent the associated video file. Each THM file is 160 by 120 pixels large and takes just a few kB of storage space.

When it comes to GoPro file recovery, there’s no reason to bother with LRV and THM files since they don’t contain any extra information that’s not contained in the original video files. As long as you pick a data recovery software solution that can recover GoPro video files in MP4 (both h.264 and h.265), you should be good to go. 

Best Software to Recover GoPro Video Files

GoPro recovery software

To increase your chance of successful GoPro video recovery, you need to select the best data recovery software application available. Across the two dominant operating systems, Windows and macOS, there are probably more than a hundred of applications that you can choose from, but we want to highlight the following three:

Disk Drill

Disk Drill selecting file for recovery

With countless positive online reviews, Disk Drill has convinced many Windows and Mac users that data recovery doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s by far the most polished GoPro recovery software out there, and you can trust it to recover all lost GoPro video files with a few simple clicks. 

PhotoRec

Photorec interface

We recognize that the lack of a graphical user interface makes PhotoRec somewhat intimidating, but it’s perhaps the only completely free and open-source data recovery application that can reliably recover lost GoPro videos from any microSD card. 

Recuva

Files in Recuva

Popular among Windows users, Recuva is an easy-to-use software application that allows its users to recover an unlimited amount of data for free. Where it falls shorts is data recovery performance, but that’s to be expected from any software application that hasn’t been updated in a while. 

 Disk DrillPhotoRecRecuva
CompatibilityWindows, MacWindows, Mac, LinuxWindows
Ease of useEasyDifficult Easy
Performance Excellent GreatAverage
Recovery speedFastAverageAverage
File format support400+300+50+ 
Preview during scanYesNoPartial 
Scan pause/resumeYesNoNo
Live chat supportYesNoNo
Data protection YesNoNo
PriceFree trial Free & open-sourceFreemium 

As you can see, Disk Drill offers not only the best performance but also fantastic ease of use and recovery speed, which is why we recommend it to Windows and Mac users alike. If you want to recover lost GoPro videos on Linux, then you can try PhotoRec. Just don’t expect it to be particularly user-friendly. 

How to Recover Deleted GoPro Files with Disk Drill 

Let’s take a look at how to recover deleted GoPro videos using both the Windows and Mac version of Disk Drill, the best software to recover GoPro video files. 

Recover GoPro files on Windows

Step 1. Download, install, and launch Disk Drill for Windows

Install Disk Drill on WindowsStart by downloading Disk Drill for Windows and installing it on your PC. The basic version of Disk Drill for Windows is free, and it lets you recover up to 500 MB of lost GoPro files. 

Step 2. Insert Your GoPro microSD card into Your PC

Next, you need to insert your GoPro microSD card into your PC. Wait for the card to be recognized and launch Disk Drill. If the card isn’t recognized, examine it for signs of physical damage and try a different microSD card reader. 

Step 3. Scan the microSD card

Scan the cardThe microSD card should be listed in the main Disk Drill window, and you need to select it and click the Search for lost data button to scan it. 

Step 4. Select files for recovery

Select the files

Give Disk Drill some time to scan the microSD card and select the files you want to recover. You can use the filters on the left to narrow down the scan results to just videos. 

Step 5. Recover deleted GoPro files  Recover the files

Finally, click the Recover button and tell Disk Drill where it should recover deleted GoPro files. Make sure to choose a different storage device than the GoPro microSD card.  

Recover GoPro files on Mac

Step 1. Download, install, and launch Disk Drill for Mac

Launch Disk Drill on Mac

The Mac version of Disk Drill looks different than the Windows version, but learning how to recover deleted GoPro files with it is just as easy, and the first thing you need to do is download and install it. 

Step 2. Insert Your GoPro microSD card into Your Mac

Before you begin the recovery process, you need to insert your GoPro microSD card into your Mac. The card should be recognized immediately. If it’s not, try using First Aid in Disk Utility to fix it. 

Step 3. Scan the microSD card

Scan the card

Launch Disk Drill for Mac and look for your GoPro microSD card. Click the Recover button next to it to scan it. 

Step 4. Select files for recovery

Preview the files

The scan may take some time, depending on the size of your card and its speed. When it finishes, select the files you want to recover. You can click the small eye icon (visible when hovering the mouse cursor over a file) to preview them. 

Step 5. Perform GoPro SD card recovery

Recover GoPro filesThe last step is simple: click the Recover button again and pick a suitable recovery location, which is any directory that’s not located on your GoPro microSD card. 

GoPro Data Loss Prevention Tips

It doesn’t matter if you’re a professional videographer or just an amateur who enjoys recording everything from action sports to family events, there are certain GoPro data loss prevention tips that you need to memorize and apply every day: 

  • Remember that your GoPro isn’t indestructible. That’s why you should treat it as nicely as possible and consider buying a case. A high-quality waterproof case can make all the difference if you enjoy testing your and your GoPro’s limits. 
  • Purchase a reliable microSD card. Yes, it feels great to grab a high-capacity microSD card for next to nothing, but you might end up regretting your decision to save money by not choosing a reliable brand when the cheap microSD card stops working. 
  • Regularly back up your footage to your computer or the cloud. GoPro sells a fairly affordable monthly subscription service, called GoPro PLUS, that lets you offload unlimited photo and 35 hours of video footage from your GoPro to the cloud via a mobile device. 

With these three simple tips, you should be able to keep your GoPro files safe and accessible even when something happens to your GoPro, or you make a mistake when organizing recorded videos. 

David Morelo
David Morelo is a professional content writer in the technology niche, covering everything from consumer products to emerging technologies and their cross-industry application.
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12 years experience in software development, database administration and hardware repair.