There are many things to like about shooting with GoPros, but their battery life isn’t one of their strengths.
While there’s no magic fix for that, there are some things you can do to maximize your shooting time. And GoPro has tried to help things along right out of the gate by making the Enduro battery the default battery (and the recommended one) for the HERO11 Black. It provides improved performance, especially in cold and cool temperatures.
None of these measures by itself is likely to be an immediate game-changer. Some of them provide quick wins–others can be less convenient. But used in combination, they can help you milk every last drop out of your GoPro battery and maximize your shooting time.
Here’s the quick version–you can find more detail below:
- Use Extended Battery Mode When Shooting Video
- Reduce the Auto Power Off Time
- Turn Off GPS
- Don’t Use Wireless Connections
- Reduce Brightness of the Back Screen
- Reduce the Screen Saver Timeout
- Turn Off the Front Screen
- Keep the Batteries Warm
- Use a GoPro Volta Battery Grip or Supplemental External Power
But before we get deeper into the tips, there are a few prerequisites that I’m assuming here:
The battery is healthy
Old lithium batteries lose their effectiveness over time. In recent models, GoPro has built in a battery health check feature. With the battery charged, turn the camera on and go to:
Preferences > About > Battery Info
The battery is fully charged
You’re saving the data to an SD card. Using the HDMI or USB ports to output will have different power demands.
Tips for Getting the Most Battery Life from a HERO11 Black
So here are some ways to look for power savings when shooting with a GoPro HERO11. I’m starting generally with quick and easy measures before getting into measures that rely on extra accessories.
Many of these fall into the category of turning off features you’re not using. In some cases, it restricts access to more power-hungry settings and features.
Use Extended Battery Mode When Shooting Video
Doing this will give you the biggest win overall. That’s because it limits the options available to the most battery-friendly options. But it doesn’t do everything–it doesn’t disable GPS, for example–so it’s still worth adding some of the other steps below. And this performance mode only affects shooting video, so it won’t give you any gain if shooting photos or timelapse.
The Extended Battery Mode is something GoPro rolled out in a firmware update after the HERO10 was released. Many users (me included) were disappointed with the camera overheating and chewing through battery life very quickly.
There’s a Maximum Video Performance mode, which is all the bells and whistles. There’s a Tripod/Stationary Video mode that is designed primarily to mitigate the overheating issues. And there’s the one that is most relevant here: the Extended Battery performance mode.
You can enable it by going to the dashboard on the back screen of the camera. The icon at the bottom left, with the lightning bolt, is the shortcut for the Video Performance modes selection. Click on that, and choose Extended Battery.
Alternatively, you can use the GoPro Quik mobile app. Go to:
Camera Preferences > Video Performance Modes
Once you have it enabled, you’ll get a warning when you turn the camera on that “Extended Battery Mode Enabled,” the dashboard icon will change to a yellow/orange circle with a battery icon, you’ll see “[EB]” next to the preset name when shooting video, and the video camera icon will have a yellow/orange dot on it in general use.
The functional difference you’ll notice when you enable Extended Battery mode is that it will limit the resolution/framerate combinations you can shoot with. For instance, the highest resolution framerate available in Extended Battery mode is 5K30 rather than 5K60. But it does still let you select between Standard and High bitrates. Oddly, it doesn’t turn off GPS or some of the other features that can leach out battery life. You can find the full list of available framerates and resolutions here.
Reduce the Auto Power Off Time
Turning the camera off when you’re not using it is an obvious and easy win for battery life. You can turn it off manually, of course, but you can also change the setting at which it will turn itself off after a duration of inactivity.
The options are: 5, 15, or 30 minutes, or Never.
You can find this setting under:
Preferences > General > Auto Power Off
Turn Off GPS
The GPS tracking feature uses a little extra battery power. If you’re not actively using it, you can turn it off.
Preferences > Regional > GPS
Alternatively, you can do it in the GoPro Quik mobile app by going to:
Camera Preferences > GPS
Don’t Use Wireless Connections
Maintaining an active wireless connection uses quite a bit of battery power, especially if you’re using features that require a wifi connection (such as streaming live preview).
To turn it off, go to:
Connections > Wireless Connections > ON/OFF
Reduce Brightness of the Back Screen
LCD screens are notorious power sucks for digital cameras, and extensive use of the screens (crimping) can make a big difference in battery life.
There are a few things you can do on a GoPro HERO11 Black to mitigate that. An easy one is to reduce the screen brightness. A brighter screen consumes more power than a dimmer screen.
The default brightness on a HERO11 is 50%. You can take that all the way down to 10% (you can’t turn it off completely, because that makes it difficult to operate the camera).
You can change this setting by going to:
Preferences > Displays > Brightness
Reduce the Screen Saver Timeout
Along the same principle, you can also reduce the amount of time the screen stays lit before turning off due to inactivity.
The setting you’re looking for is called Screen Saver Rear, and you can find it under:
Preferences > Displays > Screen Saver Rear
The available options are 1, 2, 3, or 5 minutes or Never.
I leave mine set to 1 minute.
You can also set the front screen’s time independently. It has the same duration options as well as a “Match Rear Screen” option. You can find it under:
Preferences > Displays > Screen Saver Front
Turn Off the Front Screen
If you’re not using it, you can turn off the front screen. Or at least change it to Status Only (the live preview setting is the most power-hungry).
To do this, go to the back screen dashboard with the two rows of round icons. The one you want is on the bottom row, second from the left. The icon will vary depending on what setting you’re using, but it’s generally a small rectangle with something inside it (i.e., a screen). It might be a cross (off), “01” (status), or a person icon (live view).
Keep the Batteries Warm
Cold ambient temperatures pose challenges for any device using lithium-ion batteries, from cameras to Teslas. Lithium batteries don’t perform well when they’re cold (or very hot, for that matter).
When shooting in cold places, simply keeping the camera or spare batteries in an inside jacket pocket when not using it can make a big difference.
I do not recommend using artificial heat sources, and definitely keep the batteries away from open flame. Fire and lithium batteries make a nasty combination.
Use a GoPro Enduro Battery
GoPro has released a new battery called Enduro, and it’s the battery that now comes as default with the HERO11 Black. You can tell it apart from the older standard battery by its white trim in place of blue.
It’s in cold temperatures where this battery comes into its own, but it provides improved performance in “normal” shooting conditions as well.
Tip: If you’d like to buy the Enduro battery and have an active GoPro Subscription, be sure to sign in to your account on GoPro.com to access the special 20% off subscriber accessory pricing that applies to the Enduro battery.
GoPro has also now released an official Enduro dual-battery charger that can charge two Enduros at the same time.
Use a GoPro Volta Battery Grip
This option isn’t so much about maximizing the life of the internal battery as it is about supplementing that battery life with portable external power.
The Volta is a new release from GoPro that’s a grip, small tabletop tripod, remote control (sort of), and external battery. It’s a very useful way to shoot a lot longer and worry less about the battery running out.
It’s worth noting, though, that when connected to a HERO11, the camera will be water-resistant but not waterproof. That’s because the Volta connects via the camera’s USB-C port, which means you can’t use the usual waterproof door on that compartment.
At the time of writing, the Volta is a very new release and I’m still in the process of testing it out (stay tuned for my hands-on review!). But GoPro claims that it delivers “over 4 hours of 5.3K recording—a total of 3x the normal runtime,” a claim that strikes me as entirely plausible given other power grips I’ve used.
Tip: If you’d like to buy the Volta and have an active GoPro Subscription, be sure to sign into your account on GoPro.com to access the special 30% off subscriber pricing on this accessory.
If None of These is Enough
If none of these are enough, it is possible to power the camera with some kind of external power source, although you’ll give up some of the convenience of extreme portability and being fully waterproof.