How to Format the SD Card in a GoPro HERO9 Black

Formatting an SD card is an essential step for freeing up space and preparing the SD card for use. Here’s how to do it on the GoPro HERO9 Black.

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.

Before you can use an SD card in your GoPro HERO9 Black, you’ll need to format it.

This does several important things. It wipes the card, clears the storage space, resets the filesystem type, and prepares the folders/directories that the camera needs for saving data. And by deleting all of the existing data, also frees up space for the next shoot, so you don’t run out of storage space.

There are a few different ways to format the card. You can format the card in the camera. Or you can format it using a computer.

Of those, formatting the card in the camera is the best and most reliable option, and it’s the one I’m focusing on here.

There are two methods for formatting an SD card in the HERO9 Black:

  • One uses the camera’s on-screen menu system.
  • The other uses the GoPro Quik mobile app.

Both methods work equally well, and one method isn’t better than the other. I’ve got information on how to do both methods below.

But first: a reminder that formatting the card is going to wipe all the data from the SD card. So be sure to have downloaded any photos or videos you want to keep.

Method 1: Format a HERO9’s SD Card Using the On-Screen Menu System

The menu item you’re looking for is:

Preferences > Reset > Format SD Card

On the camera’s back screen menu, swipe down to show the dashboard. Then swipe from right to left to bring up the panel that has a choice between Connections and Preferences. Choose Preferences.

Then scroll down to Reset and choose the option to Format SD Card.

Method 2: Using the GoPro Quik Mobile App

  1. Power on your HERO9 and connect to the Quik app.
  2. Tap on the wrench icon at the top right of the screen to open the settings.
  3. Scroll down to Delete All Files from SD Card.

You’ll then be asked to confirm that you want to delete all data from the SD card.

Things Worth Knowing

  • If you choose to format the SD card using a computer, I recommend using the free SD Card Formatter app provided by the SD Association. It sets the card up according to the official SD card specs and reduces the risk of problems.
  • The GoPro HERO9 Black performs what’s known as a high-level format or quick format. That means that the data index is wiped, but it doesn’t perform a low-level and more thorough format of all the SD card’s sectors. For any sensitive data, a low-level format using a computer is a more secure method.
  • There’s only one camera in the HERO9 lineup: the HERO9 Black. There were no Silver or White editions in that line. If you’re upgrading to the HERO10 Black, the process for formatting the SD card is the same in that model.
  • If you put in an unformatted SD card, or one that has been formatted with the wrong filesystem, you’ll get an SD Card Error on-screen like this one:
How to Format SD Card in GoPro HERO9

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 »

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