If your GoPro HERO9’s battery doesn’t seem to be lasting as long as it should, the first thing to check is the battery’s health.
By battery health, I don’t mean the standard battery charge indicator that you see all the time on the screen. That indicator tells you how much charge is left in the battery and gives you an idea of how long you can keep shooting or how long until you need to recharge the battery.
The battery health check does something different. It assesses how well the battery is able to hold a charge.
In recent models, GoPro has included a battery health check feature.
Where to Find the Battery Health Check on the HERO9 Black
With the battery charged, turn the camera on and go to:
Preferences > About > Battery Info
This will show you two fields. The first is battery health. With a new or relatively new battery, it should show “Excellent” along with a green circle with a heart.
The second is a Battery Type. This is designed as a compatibility check. In theory, this should differentiate between an official GoPro-branded battery and third-party batteries. It should show “Compatible” for an official battery and “N/A” for a non-GoPro battery. But when I tried to get a screenshot of the “N/A” to show here, I found that even third-party aftermarket batteries by other brands were showing as Compatible. So I don’t know whether this is a bug in the firmware or something else going on. But it doesn’t currently appear to be serving its intended service. 1
Why it Matters: Lithium Battery Capacity Fade
Modern lithium-ion batteries are much better in terms of recharge cycles than old nickel-cadmium or nickel-metal-hydride rechargeable batteries. Those have a memory effect issue that has a strong impact on how you charge and discharge the battery.
But lithium-ion batteries still have a finite lifespan, and the more charge-discharge cycles they go through, the more their ability to hold a charge will fade. You might have noticed on your old phone or laptop that you can no longer charge the battery to more than, say 85%. That’s a symptom of the battery’s capacity fade.
And it’s that issue that the HERO9’s battery health check is aimed at. It’s not telling you when you should charge your battery. It’s telling you when you should replace the battery.
Things Worth Knowing
This is the warning that GoPro includes in the HERO9’s Black’s manual:
Be sure to use the GoPro Rechargeable Battery (HERO9 Black). Using an older GoPro battery or non-GoPro battery could greatly limit your camera’s performance.
When disposing of old lithium-ion batteries, they shouldn’t just go in the trash or standard recycling. They should be taken to a separate household hazardous waste collection point–many local communities have them.
- I’ve seen this behavior both on a HERO10 Black (firmware 01.40) and a HERO9 Black (firmware 01.70). I’ve used third-party Telesin-branded batteries in these cameras and will try other third-party batteries as the opportunity arises.
- Some types of lithium-ion batteries have been found to suffer from memory effect, but it’s not the prominent problem it is with those older types of battery technologies.