How to Update Firmware on a GoPro HERO12 Black

Here’s how to check and update the firmware of the HERO12 Black to a new stable version or a beta firmware version.

GoPro HERO12 Black. Photo by David Coleman " havecamerawilltravel.com
Text & Photos By David Coleman
Last Revised & Updated:
Filed Under: GoPro Tips & Tricks

I MAY get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

There are three main situations to update the firmware of your HERO12 Black. 

  1. When you get a new HERO12 Black. For the last several cameras, GoPro has been manufacturing the cameras and readying them for sale before the firmware has been locked in. That means that when you first take a new GoPro HERO12 Black out of the box, you’ll need to update it before you can start using it. 
  2. Firmware updates improve the performance of your GoPro camera. They can add features, improve stability, improve compatibility with accessories, and fix bugs. So, it’s always a good idea to keep your GoPro’s firmware up-to-date.
  3. If you want to try experimental features enabled by beta firmware updates. GoPro has been releasing a separate line of beta firmware that experiments with new features.

Updating the firmware of a HERO12 Black is quite easy, and there’s a choice of methods. If you’re upgrading from a recent model like a HERO10 Black or HERO11 Black, it’s the same process. 

Two Ways to Update GoPro HERO12 Black

There are two ways to update your GoPro HERO12 Black. 1

  1. Use GoPro Quik mobile app
  2. Manual update

The first method is the recommended one, and it’s the most convenient. It’s the method I use most often in updating my GoPro cameras.

The manual update is useful if you need to roll back to a previous version. That doesn’t happen often, but it can crop up from time to time. And now that GoPro has started releasing beta firmware versions, it’s useful if you want to try out one of those beta versions (which should always be used with caution, especially on important shoots).

So here’s how to do each method.

But first, something worth knowing . . . Regardless of which method you use, it’s important that your HERO12’s battery is charged. This is to avoid interruptions to the update process, which can cause problems. Technically, the process will continue so long as there’s at least 20% charge in the battery, but having it more charged than that is better and safer.

1. How to Use GoPro Quik Mobile App to Update GoPro HERO12 Black

With this method, there’s no need to copy files or enter the camera’s serial number–that’s all handled by the automated update process.

Worth noting is that this method only works with official releases. It won’t prompt you for beta firmware updates—for that, you’ll have to update manually.

Connect the GoPro Quik mobile app to your HERO12 Black. (If you haven’t done that before, here’s a guide.)

Once the wireless connection is established and the camera and phone paired, the GoPro Quik app will automatically check the firmware version. If a newer version is available, the app will prompt you. You can choose to proceed with the update or skip it.

Assuming you proceed–and, if you’re reading this page, I would assume that’s what you’re going to do–the camera walks you through the update process. And it’s actually pretty good about it, explaining what it’s doing and what to expect (such as camera rebooting, etc).

So, just follow the on-screen instructions, confirm the update when prompted, and wait for the process to complete. That’s really all there is to it.

The camera will reboot when finished, and you’re ready to start shooting again.

2. How to Manually Update the Firmware of Your GoPro HERO12 Black

The manual update method is less automated—obviously—and less convenient, but it’s the only method that will let you roll back to a previous version if you need to.

It’s also the only method that works with rolling back to a previous version, and the only method that works for installing GoPro’s beta firmware for the HERO12 Black.

Tip: You’ll probably need your camera’s serial number in order to download the firmware. I’ve put together a separate guide on the various methods of how to find a GoPro HERO12’s serial number.

  1. Download the firmware file to your computer. You can download it from here (stable version) or here (HERO12 beta firmware version). It will download a file called UPDATE.zip.
  2. Unzip that file. It will expand into a folder called UDPATE.
  3. Using a card reader or a microSD-to-SD adapter, copy the UPDATE folder (not the .zip file) to the root of the microSD card. It should be a top-level of the microSD card; don’t put inside the DCIM or MISC folders.
  4. With the HERO12 turned OFF, insert the microSD card into the camera.
  5. Power on the HERO12.
  6. The HERO12 will automatically detect that UPDATE folder and start the update.
  7. The update process from here is automated. The camera will restart and beep multiple times–that’s normal. When the firmware update is complete and successful, it will show a check mark (tick) icon on the front screen.

FAQs

What is camera firmware?

Firmware is actually a kind of software–or code–that’s stored in your camera. It tells the camera’s hardware how to work and how to interact with external accessories and commands.

You don’t interact directly with the firmware, but from time to time it might be necessary to update the camera’s firmware if the camera manufacturer has posted an update or you wish to install experimental beta firmware from GoPro Labs.

What is the current firmware for the GoPro HERO12?

GoPro posts the latest versions of the firmware on their website. You can find the latest version for the HERO12 at these links:

The beta version gives early access to new features and compatibility, but it exists for testing purposes and should be treated with care, especially on production shoots. It is very possible–even likely–that it still has bugs or features that don’t work as expected.

Can anything go wrong when updating firmware?

Yes. It is possible to brick your camera during a firmware update, but with simple precautions, it should all run smoothly.

The most important thing to know is that the update process should not be interrupted. That’s why you should only start with a fully charged battery. While the update is being applied, avoid touching the camera’s screens or buttons or messing with your phone (if you’re using the mobile app method).

And keep the phone and camera close together so that the wireless connection doesn’t get broken (again, if you’re using the mobile app method).

How often should you update the HERO12’s firmware?

Updating your GoPro’s firmware isn’t something you have to do often, but if you haven’t used your camera for a while, it’s worth checking that you’re running the latest version.

GoPro’s firmware updates are often quite important–they have a tendency to fix problems after the camera has been released rather than exhaustively test before release. They also release new accessories–such as batteries–that can be backwardly compatible with earlier cameras if those cameras’ firmware is updated.

Do I need a battery and SD card to be installed?

Yes, you need both a battery (charged to at least 20%, but preferably more) and an SD card (formatted) in your HERO12 in order to update the firmware. It won’t let you proceed with the update without them.

How do I check what version of the firmware is on my HERO12 and whether it’s up to date?

The simplest way to check whether there’s a firmware update for your GoPro is to connect it to the GoPro Quik mobile app. When the app fires up, it automatically checks the firmware versions and alerts you if there’s an update.

You can manually check the versions by:

  • On the HERO12’s back screen, swipe down to show the menu dashboard. Then go to:
Preferences > About This GoPro

You’ll see the camera name and then the serial number. Below that is Version Number; that’s the current firmware version that’s installed on the camera.

You can also find this information by using the GoPro Quik app. Once you’ve connected wirelessly to your HERO12, go to Settings (the gear icon), and then scroll down to the Camera Info section. The Version field is the current firmware running on the camera.

  1. With the HERO7 and earlier models, there was a third method of updating firmware: using the Quik desktop app. But that app has been discontinued, and compatibility hasn’t been carried forward with the newer models.[]

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 »

Leave a Comment