How to Format an SD Card in a DJI Osmo Action 4

There are two methods for formatting an SD card in a DJI Osmo Action 4. Here’s a guide to both of them.

DJI Osmo Action 4 Action Camera. Photo by David Coleman "
Text & Photos By David Coleman
Filed Under: Memory Cards

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The first time you put a new SD card in your DJI Osmo Action 4, you should format the card to prepare it for use. Even if the card has been used before in a different camera or comes preformatted from the store, it’s still good practice to format it in the camera itself.

That’s because formatting the SD card doesn’t just create space for the next shoot. It also keeps the memory card’s storage space healthy, checks that the file system is in good order and of the right type for the camera, and creates the files and folders that the camera needs to save data.

Formatting an SD card in the Action 4 isn’t hard, but some of the icons and menu options aren’t necessarily as clear as they could be.

And there are two methods you can use: on the camera’s menu system directly or through the DJI Mimo mobile app. They both accomplish the same thing, so you can just choose whichever method works best for you.

So here are quick rundowns on both methods.

Format the SD Card Using the DJI Osmo Action 4 Menu

When you swipe down on the back screen, you’ll get the dashboard. 

You want the settings icon, which for some reason on this camera is different to the typical cog icon. It’s the one at the top right that looks like a metal nut to attach to a bolt. 

DJI Osmo Action 4 How to Format SD Card

Once you’re in the settings, scroll down until you see Format. The numbers on the right are telling you how much space you have available from the total space on the card. 

DJI Osmo Action 4 How to Format SD Card

As a way of confirming that you want to proceed and haven’t accidentally clicked on the option, you’ll need to drag that microSD icon from left to right. 

DJI Osmo Action 4 How to Format SD Card

With the formatting in progress, you need to make sure not to remove the memory card or power off the camera. Doing so risks corrupting the card and, potentially, making it unusable. 

DJI Osmo Action 4 How to Format SD Card
DJI Osmo Action 4 How to Format SD Card

And that’s it!

Format the SD Card Using the DJI Mimo Mobile App

You can also use the DJI Mimo mobile app to format the SD card in a DJI Osmo Action 4.

You’ll need to connect the app wirelessly to the Action 4 first, of course.

Then click on the settings icon at the top left of the screen. It’s a different icon than the one used on the camera itself; it’s a grid of four boxes.

Then, choose the Format option.

Screenshot showing how to format the SD Card Using the DJI Mimo Mobile App

You’ll then get the usual confirmation that you know that formatting will delete all the data on the card and that want to proceed.

Screenshot showing how to format the SD Card Using the DJI Mimo Mobile App

While it’s formatting, you’ll be warned not to remove the SD card from the camera or power the camera off. Doing so can lead to the card becoming corrupted and potentially unusable.

Screenshot showing how to format the SD Card Using the DJI Mimo Mobile App

And once it’s done, it’ll just give you the blue OK button.

Screenshot showing how to format the SD Card Using the DJI Mimo Mobile App

Things Worth Knowing

Like most cameras, the DJI Osmo Action performs what’s known as a high-level format or, alternatively, a quick format. What that basically does is wipe the main index on the card to make it look like there’s nothing on the card, but it doesn’t actually go through and thoroughly delete the data on the card (that would require what’s known as a low-level format). In other words, the data for any photos or videos are still on the card–the operating system just can’t see it.

A quick format is, well, quick. So it’s convenient. But an implication of it is that the underlying data remains on the card and might well be recoverable. That’s good if you’ve accidentally deleted something and need to recover it.

It’s less good if you have sensitive data on there that you don’t want anyone to be able to recover. In the latter case, the most reliable method of truly wiping the card is to take it out of the camera and put it in a memory card reader attached to your computer. All major computer operating systems have thorough data wiping utilities built in, often with choices of how many overwrites to perform. 

Best SD Cards for GoPros

Since 2013, after running into trouble with an SD card that was too slow for the HERO3 Black, I've been putting together my recommendations on the best SD cards for GoPro cameras. Because some GoPro models have specific requirements, I've also put together detailed model-specific pages.

Text & Photos 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 just about every model since. More »

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