There are many things to like about shooting with GoPros. But their battery life isn’t something to brag about. That’s true of the whole GoPro line–not just the HERO9 Black.
While there’s no magic fix, there are some things you can do to maximize your shooting time.
None of these by itself is likely to be an immediate game-changer. But used in combination, they can help you milk every last drop out of your GoPro battery and maximize your shooting time.
But before we get to 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 incorporated a battery health check feature.
With the battery charged, turn the camera on and go to:
Preferences > About > Battery Info
If the battery health indicator is anything other than excellent, it might be time to consider replacing the battery.
The battery is fully charged.
You’re saving 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 HERO9
So here are some ways to look for power savings when shooting with a GoPro HERO9. 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.
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 the 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 on battery life.
There are a few things you can do on a GoPro HERO10 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 HERO10 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
Obviously, the screen brightness you need will depend on your shooting conditions. If you’re out on the snow on a sunny day, setting the screen brightness to 10% may as well be turning the screen off. So you’ll need to find a practical compromise based on your shooting environment.
Reduce the Screen Saver Timeout
Along the same lines, 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 on 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 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.
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. It’s the same size, shape, and power rating as the standard HERO9 battery.
You can use it in place of the standard battery. You might see a slight improvement in battery endurance in “normal” temperatures. But it’s in cold temperatures where this battery comes into its own.
So I only recommend the Enduro if you’re shooting in cold ambient temperatures.
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.
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 HERO9, 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.” That’s obviously based on shooting on a HERO10 Black (the max resolution on the HERO9 is 5K), but it’s a claim that strikes me as entirely plausible.
There are also other aftermarket grips that offer similar functionality in terms of supplying power (but not the remote control feature).
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.