Is it Normal for a GoPro to Get Hot?

You might have noticed your camera getting very hot to the touch. In general, that’s normal, but there can be some consequences.

Wondering whether it’s normal that your GoPro is getting very hot? Yes, it is. And quite hot, at that.

The HERO10 Black is a special case. At launch, it suffered from an overheating problem that caused quite a lot of controversy. In response, GoPro used a firmware update to add some new Video Performance Modes to the camera, some of which are explicitly designed to avoid overheating. You can find more information about that here.

You’ll notice it particularly when recording with the high-end video modes that keep the camera’s internal processor working hard as well as transferring large amounts of data to the memory card. Features like HyperSmooth video stabilization, for example. The camera and memory card can get quite hot to the touch, even to the point that it can be uncomfortable to hold and feel like it’s overheating.

It’s especially noticeable with some of the newer models like the HERO9 Black when you’re using the high-end video modes. Those modes require lots of processing power and large amounts of data being written to the memory card very quickly. The metal rim around the lens port acts as a heat sink, drawing the heat out to dissipate it into the air. The result is that it can become very hot. And if you take the microSD card out right away after recording in the high-end modes, you’ll find that that’s hot too.

But you’re definitely not the first to ask. Indeed, GoPro anticipated the question and addresses it directly in the instruction manuals [PDF]. They also offer some good suggestions for mitigating the heat problem and working around it.

And the good news is that there’s a safety mechanism built into newer models–the camera will shut down if it gets too hot and shows you a message explaining why it’s shutting down (and an icon of a thermometer). While that’s frustrating if you’re in the middle of capturing something important, it’s at least better than causing damage to the camera.

Here’s what the HERO9 Black instruction manual says on the issue (from p.101):

Shooting video at a high resolution and frame rate will also cause your camera to heat up faster, especially in hot environments. Try switching to a lower resolution and frame rate to lower the risk of overheating your GoPro.

And:

The Temperature icon appears on the touch screen if your camera becomes too hot and needs to cool down. Your camera was designed to recognize when it’s at risk of overheating and will shut down when needed. Simply let it sit and cool before using it again. Heads Up: The operating ambient temperature range of your HERO9 Black is 14°F ~ 95°F (10°C ~ 35°C). High temperatures will cause your camera to use more power and drain the battery faster.

Because the heat is only generated when the camera is working, one strategy to keep it within normal operating temperatures is to shoot in short bursts when possible. If you don’t need a long stream of non-stop footage, breaks between recording clips will allow the camera to cool down.

If the camera does start overheating and shows the CAMERA TOO HOT warning, there’s only one thing you can do–let it sit to cool down for a bit before trying again. How long that takes is going to depend on the conditions. It’s probably not a good idea to throw the camera into an ice bath–that kind of jarring extremes could potentially crack the plastic or glass–but letting it sit quietly in cool conditions for a while will bring the temperature down to the normal range naturally.

One of the common scenarios where a lack of airflow around the camera body can become a problem is when using a dive housing such as the Protective Housing. There’s not really a solution–creating airflow is going to mean creating water flow, which defeats the purpose of the housing. If you’re using the housing purely to help with bumps and knocks rather than for its waterproofness, replacing the back door with a skeleton back door will help a little but won’t completely eliminate the problem.

A related issue is when the heat of the camera combines with humid air trapped inside the housing. You can get fogging up if you take it into cooler water or air. That’s where anti-fog inserts come in handy. You don’t need them–and they won’t work–with the built-in housing of the HERO10 Black, HERO9 Black, HERO8 Black, HERO7 models, HERO6 Black, HERO5 Black, or HERO (2018). It’s only if adding another layer of housing.

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 »

8 thoughts on “Is it Normal for a GoPro to Get Hot?”

  1. My question is if the GoPro 9 runs cooler? After all this time you’d think GoPro would get this a bit more under control.
    My current GP still turns off while shooting 4k60. My use case is for volleyball games, where I run it for about an hour. I typically keep it plugged into a battery pack, causing heat, too. If I can get to the camera between sets I’ll not use an external pack and swap out the battery between sets. I’ve been lucky sometimes when I do that, but it’s a risky proposition. It really stinks losing plays, which could be “the highlight” you really want. I end up being limited to 2.7k, which is not too bad, but not what I’m really looking for. At least it’s rock solid that way. I’d hope with the 9 shooting 5k, at 4k it would be cool enough to just keep going and going. Maybe the battery lasts longer, so don’t have to plug it in.
    I’ve tried turning off smoothing since I use a tripod, and turn off wifi, and set to protune to stop it from thinking for color balance and the like. All seems to maybe help a little…
    What I’d like to see is a metallic case that has a “pocket” to hold an icepack on the bottom. Or a peltier cooer. Just a little bit of something to see if it could help cool the frame of the camera.
    Any other ways to keep the heat down you can think of, or just in general if the 9 runs cooler. I’d consider replacing the 7 to a 9, or heck, keep both and swap cameras between games, but that option is a bit nuclear.

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  2. My first GP7 overheated A LOT. I called support and they sent me a new one, which runs better. I videoed the camera with a thermal camera and they agreed it is running too hot. Consider you may have a bad camera.

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  3. When I have overheating issues, I turn off the camera, take out the battery, and set it away from direct sunlight with the battery door open. The battery itself will be quite hot. Taking the battery out allows it to cool more quickly while also allowing airflow into the camera to cool that more quickly. When the camera is ready to go, the battery will still be warm, so I swap it out with another battery, alternating use so that one is cooling off while using the other.

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  4. I have a goprohero7black how can I connect to streamlive on facebook? I follow the instruction but it didnt connect.

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    • I’m not sure I can answer in any more detail than the instructions GoPro provides without knowing more specifically where it’s going wrong. Where in the process are you running into the problem, and are you getting any error messages?

      Reply
  5. Hi Guys, please help… When my GoPrO is in the process of videoing a print out on the screen appears on the screen saying camera in process then the video stops. What do i do to clear the camera from this to prevent the video from stopping?

    Reply
    • Which camera model are you using? And you definitely have it in video mode and haven’t accidentally switched to a different recording mode? When you’re saving photos, for instance, you usually see a brief “saving” message on the screen. When you’re recording video or time-lapse you should just see the red recording light rather than any message. Another option is that the battery is dead and that it’s saving before shutting down. Or are you viewing using the mobile app? At the high resolutions/framerates, it won’t give you a live stream while recording but will display a message that it’s recording.

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