How to Set the Date and Time on a GoPro

GoPros have a couple of different ways of setting the date and time, each with its advantages.
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Okay, so setting the time on a GoPro is a pretty basic function. It might have been one of the first things you did when you unboxed it. And while there’s no real magic to it, it’s not immediately self-evident that there are two methods to setting the time on a GoPro–at least on some of the cameras. Each has its own advantages.

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You can, of course, shoot without setting the GoPro’s time and date. It’ll work just fine. But there are a lot of situations where it can be a very useful step. If you’re shooting with multiple cameras, whether GoPros or some mix of others, it’ll allow you to sync the photos or video footage into a coherent chronological order. And it’s essential if you’re stitching video footage together to create VR footage.

So here’s a quick rundown of the two methods for setting the date and time on a GoPro.

Method 1: Manually

The first method to setting the time on a GoPro is the old-fashioned way of setting it manually in the camera. While the precise location of the set date and time option varies between GoPro models, it’s under the setup menu.

On models with a built-in back screen, you can use that.

On most models with a small front screen, you can also use that. You change the time with the regular buttons on the camera, much the same way you’d set an alarm clock.

Setting the time manually is a little tedious, but it’s also probably not something you’ll have to do all that often.

Doing it manually has advantages in some situations. For instance, because I tend to travel with several cameras and hop across timezones, I like to have all my cameras set to UTC. That makes it easier when I get back to properly sequence the photos and is also easier when geocoding. If you use the automatic option for setting the time, it’ll use local time, and you don’t have the option of adding an offset.

Method 2: Automatically by GoPro App

The quickest and most accurate is by using the GoPro mobile app. This obviously only works on models that have wifi capabilities, which includes most of the recent models.

This option gets the current time and timezone from your phone, so it’s more precise, but you don’t have the option of overriding the timezone. The time comes from your phone’s time.

You can find it under: Settings > Setup > Set Date and Time

It’s at the bottom of the Setup section, just before the deleting and formatting options.How to Set the Time and Date on a GoPro Camera

There are no options below that–once you hit that menu item, it will synchronize the camera’s clock to your phone’s clock.

Date Format

On the newer models like the GoPro HERO5 Black, you can also set the date format with these options:

  • MM.DD.YY
  • DD.MM.YY
  • YY.MM.DD

Time Slip

As with most cameras, the time on GoPros gradually slips. Over the course of a few weeks, you might find that your camera’s clock has slipped off by a few seconds or more. It’s only a minor annoyance and easily fixed, but you might find yourself resetting the clock occasionally.

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13 Responses

  1. My company has bought GoPro Hero 8 black camera. As per our client requirements, time and date on the video/photo taken (date/time stamp feature). Is there any way it can be done. Please let me know.

    1. No, there’s no way to apply a visual timestamp in the camera. GoPros don’t have that feature. You can do it after the fact by processing the images in software that can take the time/date metadata and add it as a text layer on top of the image. On Windows, I recall Irfanview can do it (and it’s free—this guide seems like a good start). You can also do it in Lightroom or many other image editing apps.

  2. I thought that the clock in GoPro cameras with internal GPS could automatically synchronize with the satellite clocks. I have older Sony cameras with internal GPS and the clock can automatically synchronize with the satellites. This ability is easier and more accurate than adjusting the clock manually.

    1. I couldn’t agree more that it would be a logical, simpler, and very accurate way to do it–and that’s how other devices do it, including things like GPS watches–but GoPros don’t update the time and date from the GPS connection. So you can enable GPS, but it won’t update the camera’s system time and date. The method using the phone app is accurate because it pulls the time and date from the phone, which in turn is pulling it from its cell connection.

  3. I keep resetting my GoPro Hero 3+ time and date, and it keeps resetting itself back to Jan. 1, 2013. Frustrating. Does this happen at battery changes? Which I do daily? Thanks — great forum!

    1. It shouldn’t reset with each battery change–the newer models don’t, but unfortunately I don’t have a 3+ on hand to test specifically with that model (and it’s been a while since I used it).

      1. It does same thing to me, I have spare battery, every time I change it it changes time and date to 01.01.2013. kinda lazy to update it every time.

  4. I have a Black Hero 4 and although the date and time were set correctly, all my videos and photos have the wrong date, by a lot! These videos and photos were taken in February 2018 yet the files all have dates of January 2015! Something happened and I don’t understand how. I changed the date and time and then set it again to the correct values and took a video. The ne file displays the correct year, month and time so WTF?

    1. I haven’t run into that issue when the clock has been successfully set. Out of the box they often have an old date, but that obviously shouldn’t be what’s used if the date and time has been set properly. So I’m not sure, sorry. If you want to correct the ones that have already been recorded, there are tools that allow you to change the EXIF date. Exiftool is the most powerful, but by itself it’s a command line tool so not very user friendly. There are some GUI interfaces that can go on top of it. Apps like Lightroom and PhotoMechanic can also alter the capture time, although it can get complicated because different apps can refer to different date metadata fields and I haven’t tested those apps specifically on changing the shoot date of GoPro videos. But if you already have one of those apps–or something similar–they’re worth a try.

  5. Hi, I have a gopro 3 black and I need to get the time from the phone. I try to do it with the gopro app but i don’t find the command from this last app level.
    I don’t find the settings you mentioned in the app settings.
    Any help ?

  6. When you receive time automatically from the capture app does the time slip as well? If so, how often do you have to readjust it or how often does it make sure that its times are correct?


    1. Yes, it does, but I haven’t done any tests to see how often calibration is required. I habitually do it with all my cameras as part of my routine before heading off on photography trips.

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