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.

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.

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.

David Coleman / Photographer
by David Coleman

I'm a freelance travel photographer based in Washington DC. Seven continents, up mountains, underwater, and a bunch of places in between. My images have appeared in numerous publications, and you can check out some of my travel photography here. I've been shooting with GoPros for years, starting with the HD HERO, and have owned and used every model since. More »