So you have a shiny new GoPro and a new SD card that’s fast enough. Formatting your SD card is a good first step as you’re setting your camera up for the first time. It’s also something you’ll want to do regularly after you’ve offloaded your photos and videos and want to delete them to free up space again on the memory card for new shooting.
Formatting your memory card is a pretty fundamental function. But GoPro product manuals don’t explain how to do it, and the way in which you do it varies a little between models. I get quite a few questions about it, so here’s a rundown of how to do it in recent GoPro models.
It’s best practice to format memory cards in the camera. You can, technically, do it in a computer, but doing it in the camera reduces the chances of something being not quite right and makes sure that the filesystem is set up exactly how the camera wants it. That’s true not just of GoPros but with any camera.
And, obviously, formatting the card is going to delete everything on there. So make sure you’ve downloaded all the photos and footage from it first. If you do accidentally format it, it might still be possible to recover photos or footage from the card, but it’s going to take some extra work.
How to Format SD Cards in a GoPro Using On-Camera Menus
On some models you can use the camera’s on-board menu to format. It’s quick, easy, and saves you having to connect to the mobile app.
How to Format SD Cards in a GoPro HERO6 Black or HERO5 Black
- Insert the card into the camera and turn it on.
- Open the menu on the back screen (side button).
- Go to Preferences.
- Scroll all the way to the bottom to “Format SD Card”. Tap on that.
- Choose Delete.
HERO5 Session, HERO Session, or HERO4 Session
There’s no way to format the SD card using the camera’s on-board menu system on these cameras. You have to use the GoPro mobile app. See below.
How to Format SD Cards in a GoPro HERO4 Black or HERO4 Silver
- Go to Settings
- Scroll down to Delete (trash can icon if using the small front screen)
- Choose All/Format
- Choose Delete
How to Format SD Cards Using the GoPro Mobile App
This works with all of the GoPro models that have WiFi.
- Insert the microSD card into the camera.
- Connect the camera to the GoPro app via Wifi/Bluetooth
- In the GoPro app, go into Settings
- Scroll down to the Delete Section
- Choose Delete All Files from SD Card