How to Remotely Control GoPro Cameras

Here's a rundown of which GoPro remote to use when as well as some other options for controlling your GoPro remotely.
GoPro Remotes
This post may include affiliate links.
Click here for more information.

One of the main attractions of GoPros and other action cams is that you can use them in places that most cameras can’t go. But that also means that there are times you’ll probably want to use it without have the camera in your hand. And for that, you’ll want to control your GoPro remotely. There are a number of ways you can do that, each with its own pros and cons for particular situations. So here’s a rundown of how to remotely control your GoPro.

Not all GoPros support these remote controls. The HERO7 Silver and White, for instance, do connect to the mobile app but won’t let you connect a remote control. Same with the HERO (2018). And some older GoPros, in particular, won’t work with the Bluetooth connection or voice commands of the Remo.

GoPro HERO10 Deals

GoPro has released the HERO10 Black. The MSRP is $499, but GoPro is currently running some great deals:

And with the new model out, it's a great time to pick up a deal on the HERO9 Black. You can get it for $349 with a free spare battery, a 32GB SD card, and a 1-year GoPro subscription. More details here.

GoPro has had four different remotes for their action cameras. Two of them are current models, two is an old model but you can still find it for sale in some places, and each has its own strengths and weaknesses. (UDPATE: Since I originally posted this, GoPro has discontinued the Remo, leaving The Remote and the Smart Remote as the only current models.) So here’s a rundown of which remote works for what situations.

First, though, here’s a quick overview of what the three remotes are. Further down the page, I have some alternative ways to control your GoPro remotely.

The Remote

GoPro The Remote - Official GoPro...
  • Bluetooth Low Energy improves the battery life of both The Remote and the camera that it’s connected to...
  • Large high-resolution screen makes it easy to check camera status
The Remote is the newest of GoPro’s remotes. It was released for the HERO9 Black, but it also works with the HERO10 Black, HERO8 Black (you might need to update your HERO8’s firmware; compatibility was added with a firmware update), and MAX.

In many ways, The Remote is an upgrade over the Smart Remote. But there’s one important area where it isn’t. That’s for controlling multiple cameras at once. With the Smart Remote–and the Wifi Remote, for that matter–you can control up to 50 cameras at once. With The Remote, there’s a maximum of 5 cameras at once.

You can find them at:

  • GoPro.com. If you have a GoPro subscription (it used to be known as GoPro PLUS), be sure to sign into your account to get the special subscriber discount.
  • Amazon
  • B&H Photo
GoPro The Remote - Official GoPro Accessory
  • Bluetooth Low Energy improves the battery life of both The Remote and the camera that it’s connected to...
  • Large high-resolution screen makes it easy to check camera status

GoPro Smart Remote

GoPro Smart Remote (GoPro Official Accessory)
  • Complete camera control: delivers full remote control of all Camera Functions, including shutter, on/off...
  • Long-range remote control: control your camera from distances of up to 600ft (180M) in optimal...
The Smart Remote is, in many ways, the most feature-rich of GoPro’s remote controls. It doesn’t work with voice control, but it does plenty else. It has a much stronger signal and is effective over a much longer range–GoPro claims up to 600 feet (180 meters) in ideal conditions. While I haven’t tried it that far away, I do find it works better at distance than the Remo. It can control up to 50 GoPros at once. It’s waterproof down to 33 feet (10 meters) (but doesn’t work underwater). And you can change the camera’s settings using the small screen on the remote that mirrors what you’d see on the small front screen on the larger GoPro models. It’s also compatible with nearly all of the GoPro models that have wireless capabilities. That includes the HERO8 Black. An exception is the 360° Max–it’s not compatible.

If you don’t need the voice control of the Remo, the Smart Remote is by far the most powerful and flexible option, and it’s the remote I use most of the time.

You can find them at GoPro.com, Amazon, and B&H Photo.

GoPro Remo

GoPro Remo Waterproof Voice Activated Remote (GoPro Official Accessory)
  • Control your HERO6 Black or HERO5 camera from up to 33ft (10m) away.
  • Easy-to-remember commands let you start and stop video recording, snap photos, switch between capture...
The newest of GoPro’s remotes looks plain but has a trick up its sleeve: it works with the voice control feature in the HERO8, HERO7, HERO6, and HERO5 models. (No, it doesn’t add voice control to older models that don’t have voice control on the camera itself.) It consists mostly of a single large button (there’s actually second small button on the side that works as a power/pairing button). It’s waterproof (but doesn’t work actually underwater), rated down to 16 feet or 5 meters. In optimum conditions, GoPro claims it has a range of up to 33 feet (10 meters) away. The range is much shorter than the Smart Remote because the Remo connects only via Bluetooth, which has a much shorter effective range than wifi. And it recharges via USB, with a USB-C connector.

Since I originally posted this, GoPro has discontinued the Remo. I’m not particularly surprised, honestly. Several times I ran into reliability issues when using it even just as a button remote with the voice aspect. And based on reports from other users that accumulated online, I’m not the only one. So unless you really need the voice control, I’d recommend steering towards the Smart Remote over the Remo.

But if you need the Remo’s voice-control feature specifically, you still might be able to find it even though it’s discontinued. It’s worth trying at Amazon and B&H Photo.

GoPro Wifi Remote

This model has been discontinued. Even if you do manage to find one for sale, there’s really no reason to choose it over the new The Remote or Smart Remote, and there are some good reasons not to.

In terms of features, there is some overlap between the Wifi Remote and the Smart Remote. They’re both waterproof (the Wifi Remote is less waterproof, rated down to 10 feet (3 meters)), can control up to 50 cameras at once, can be used to change settings, and look very similar. But the Smart Remote has a much longer range, much better battery life, and is, in my experience, a much more reliable way to control your GoPros. I’d generally recommend getting the Smart Remote rather than the Wifi Remote.

Which GoPro Remote to Use When? GoPro The Remote vs Smart Remote vs Wifi Remote vs Remo Remote

If you want to control multiple cameras at once

Smart Remote. The clear winner here is the Smart Remote. You can control up to 50 cameras at once. But the Smart Remote will not work with the HERO10 Black or HERO9 Black, so this only applies if you’re not using those models.

One thing to watch, though, especially if you’re mixing GoPro models, is that operations like start and stop are close but not exact down to the frame. That is, you can still end up with slight lags from camera to camera when starting and stopping recording.

Another thing I’ve run into is that sometimes some cameras will start while others don’t. It’s frustrating to find later that one or more cameras simply didn’t start recording. So it basically means that you’ve got to visually confirm that they’ve all started recording. But the ability to control multiple cameras at once is still something I find very useful.

If you want to use voice commands

Remo. There’ no competition here. Only one of these remotes offers voice control, and that’s the Remo. It works directly with the voice control in the HERO6 and HERO5 models.

I’m personally a bit ambivalent about the voice control, and especially with the REMO remote. I’ve had too many times when it hasn’t worked as reliably as I’d like it to and I’ve ended up having to work around it. But in those situations where voice control is important, the Remo is the only option for controlling a HERO6 or HERO5 remotely by voice.

I should point out that simply adding a Remo remote to the mix doesn’t add voice control with other GoPro cameras that don’t have their own built-in support for the feature. Put another way, there’s no way to use voice control with a HERO4 Black, for instance, because the HERO4 Black camera doesn’t have voice control support. (Note that although the HERO (2018) has onboard support for voice commands, it doesn’t work with wireless remotes so isn’t compatible with the Remo; the same is true with the HERO7 Silver and White models.)

Which GoPro remotes are waterproof?

If you need the remote itself to be waterproof, you’ll be wanting the The Remote, Smart Remote, or Remo. If you’re using a GoPro in damp conditions, these models are all waterproof. The remote is rated down to 16 feet (5 meters). The Smart Remote is rated down to 33 feet (10 meters), while the Remo is also rated down to 16 feet (5 meters).

But it’s important to know that the wireless signal doesn’t work through water, so while you can get the remote and camera wet and they work in rainy or splashy conditions above water, you won’t be able to use the remote underwater to control the camera. If you need to do that, there are workarounds that involve running a cable to the camera, but they require some setup–I have more on them below.

I’ve found them most useful when doing things like kayaking or surfing, where you’re mostly above the water but getting wet is inevitable.

Other Ways to Control Your GoPro Remotely

There are some other ways to control your GoPro remotely.

GoPro Quik Mobile App. This one is pretty obvious. You can connect your phone or tablet wirelessly to your GoPro for full control over settings and shooting as well as a through-the-lens live preview and playback. You can only connect to one camera at a time, and it’s as waterproof as your phone is. It’s compatible with all GoPros that have wireless capabilities. It’s available free directly from GoPro.

Removu REMOVU R1+ (Plus) Waterproof (IPX7) Wireless Remote Viewer and...
  • Waterproof (IPX7) capability of R1+ enables it to stay under water up to 1 meter depth, for 30 minutes.
  • Now works with HERO6 Black with the latest firmware v1.2.1. Simply set the WiFi of camera at 2.4GHz
Removu R1+. This is a wireless remote viewer that provides control over the camera as well as a live view of what the camera’s seeing. It’s waterproof, too. There are some compatibility issues with some camera models–it doesn’t work with the HERO5 Session or offer access to the settings on the HERO5 Black or HERO6 Black, for instance–so be sure to check those [PDF] before buying. It’s now discontinued and hard to find.

Underwater Wifi Extension Cable. As you’d guess from the name, this isn’t wireless. But since wireless signals don’t work underwater, this is a way to control your GoPro remotely while it’s fully submerged. There are DIY ways to do this, but CamDo offers an off-the-shelf option. While I haven’t tried this product specifically yet, I’ve used other CamDo products in the past and been very impressed with them.

How to Charge the Smart Remote, WiFi Remote, and Remo

I have a more detailed post on how to charge GoPro remotes, but here’s the quick version.

All of these remotes have built-in rechargeable batteries that aren’t removable. So you need to connect the remote directly to a power source to charge it.

Both the Smart Remote and Wifi Remote use a special charging dock that looks a bit like a key. If you’ve lost that dock, there’s no way to charge the remote–you can’t just plug it in to any USB cable. The good news is that if you have lost it, you can pick it up GoPro remote charger cables as replacement parts from a number of aftermarket manufacturers relatively inexpensively, such as this one. The charging cable uses standard USB to charge, so you can connect it to any of the usual power sources, from wall adapters to USB hubs to power bricks.

With the Remo, it charges using a standard USB-C connection. The Remo doesn’t take advantage of the rapid charging offered by high-output chargers like the Smart Charger.

Images and product information from Amazon PA-API were last updated on 2021-09-22 at 11:39. Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon Site at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

Newsletter //
On This Page //

22 Responses

  1. Not sure this would help or be any more practical with gloves on, but the mobile app uses Bluetooth for the actual controls and wifi for previewing. So if you turn off the preview, you can actually turn off wifi on the phone and it will still work for stopping and starting recording, etc. But that, of course, would mean having a phone out, which probably isn’t a good option for what you want. It might be useful for troubleshooting, though, to see whether it’s purely the wifi signal (and, if it is, does changing the wifi band from 5 to 2.4 help?).

    I don’t know of a way to hardwire a remote shutter release. Cam-Do has a remote underwater cable, but that still uses wifi so probably doesn’t solve the problem.

    If it’s just a matter of start/stop and the problem is the gloves, maybe something like a hacked trigger release would work? It’s a mechanical solution and would add bulk, but it would be easier to use with gloves. Something like these. With at least some of them, you can separate the main trigger mechanism from the grip, and it would seem to be pretty straightforward to DIY a mount for that.

  2. I have the clear waterproof case for the Hero3 and while installing the camera I dropped the case on the floor. It appears to be made of Lexan. The black tab that allows opening of the case broke the hinge on the oval shaped chrome plated ring. The break-proof case BROKE on a carpeted floor. So I used 2 zip ties to fasten the black locking piece in place and to date it has not failed and that includes 2 weeks at Disney and elsewhere. That is a design flaw that needs to be addressed as the case is only as strong as the weakest part which happens to be the top hinge, not the bottom hinge.

  3. I’ve recently bought a Hero 8 and a Smart Remote although can’t seem to turn the GoPro on with it nor change any settings. When going through the options I can switch between Time Lapse, Video or Photo but no settings. When I try and turn the GoPro on with the remote, only the remote turns on and searches for a wifi signal. Do you have any thoughts?

  4. David, you glance over the Wifi remote saying there’s really no good reason to choose it and some good reasons not to. I’d love to know what those are. WiFi remotes are readily available for $15 used. The Smart remote is 4 times that. I’m looking into getting a Hero 6 for use as a motorcycle helmet cam. A remote would be nice to be able to start/stop recording without having to feel around with gloves on. Can you elaborate a bit more on the WiFi remote and why it’s not worth considering? Thanks.

  5. GoPro app no longer appears to be compatible with my Motorola G6 Play running Android 9.0 up to date. Worked this summer, now Google Play store says app is not compatible with my device. Same for E4 running Android 7.1.1

    Only thing I can think of is app might have issue with 32 bit OS of G6 & G6 Play

  6. I am very new to the GOPRO world. I have a hero 4 silver and the smart remote. I have succesfully paired the two. However if I turn both units off it seems as if I need to pair them again in order to turn the camera on again. Am I doing something wrong?

  7. hello was wondering what you thought aboiut the gopro wifi remote contol version 2.0? is it better than the smart go pro remote?

    1. I’m not sure I understand what you mean by 2.0. The Wifi Remote is old and discontinued now, but it has had firmware in the 2.1.X for several years. That firmware upgrade didn’t upgrade its features but just made it more compatible with some of the (then) newer cameras. The Smart Remote is GoPro’s current remote control and is much better than the old Wifi Remote. There are various third-party remotes made by other manufacturers, but I’ve yet to come across one that has better features and performance than the Smart Remote, although they can be significantly cheaper.

  8. The article says that the wifi and smart remote can both be used to control go pro settings.

    I’ve never used either but I suspect that there may be some differences here, which could hold the smart remote well above the other.

    Is it true that you can change between narrow and wide on the smart but not the wifi remote?
    If so that is a major advantage and well worth mentioning. As soon as I can find an online page that confirms this I will make my choice.

    Nice review though. Very useful indeed.

  9. Hiya,

    Can I assume, from this article, that the gopro smart remote does not work with the GoPro hero 7 silver?
    Nothing is abundantly clear on the specifications on Amazon!

    Thank you,

    PJG

    1. That’s correct. You can connect the Silver wirelessly to the mobile app, but you can’t connect other remotes like the Smart Remote.

  10. I think it is worth mentioning that the WiFi Remote (the one with two buttons on it) CANNOT control a Hero6 Black. I know because I have a Hero3+ and WiFi Remote – works well – and just procured a Hero6Black and there is no way the latter will pair with my old remote. It’s also clear from the operations manual. Despite this fact I see that some are trying to sell WiFi Remotes – on eBay, for example – claiming that it is compatible with Hero6Black. This is NOT the case. To remotely control a Hero6Black a more advanced remote control is needed. The Hero6Black can also be voice controlled, so you may not even need a remote control other that your voice. How loud you can yell will determine the maximum distance :-).

    1. This is simply not true..
      I have Hero6 Black and the 2 button old gopro wifi remote, and it paired and works perfectly for months now.. I use it to control both the hero6 and the hero4 together and didn’t have any issues..

      I remember it was pain to pair it first time, but I as far as I remember it was more about putting the remote in pairing mode rather than the hero6 itself …

      1. I can confirm that it does work on the HERO7 Black as well as on the HERO6 Black. It’s been a while since I broke out the WiFi remote, but I tested it just now and it works fine. There is, however, a trick to it: you have to change the wifi band on the camera to 2.4GHz from the default 5GHz. For pairing, use the Smart Remote option on the camera and use the usual remote pairing function. Not sure how many people are still trying to use the wifi remote with the newer cameras, but I might post a quick guide.

        1. Hi David, I use a Hero 7 and 8 for filming while riding my motorcycle, an issue I have is some interference which I thought at first was a poor connection between camera and ,mic adapter or microphone, tried all kinds of fixes but not sorted yet, however I came across a video which explains the issue, wifi is one, as I use a remote to stop start recording , wifi may be the issue, do you know a way to stop start my go pros remotely without wifi?
          Obviously I can just press the button but not always easy with gloves on and voice is very iffy , can the remote be hard wired to the camera, I did read your article about remotes, both my cameras are being used with the two button remotes, many thanks.

  11. Hello! Thanx for useful tip and webpage at all!!
    In regards to this particular tip, i still have some survey about Removu R1+ and Hero 6 Black alignment.
    So literally, at the moment – I actually have Hero 3+ Black and Removu R1+ (I actually sold my original Smart Remote on the second hand market :)
    At the moment I’m on the way to procure Hero 6 since its quite advanced (even comparing with Hero 5) and so looks amazingly designed at all. But i’m planning to use it as much careful as possible and in the same time i’m looking to keep Hero 3+ to mount it for some extreme environment influence during video capturing.
    So my very concern – does Removu R1+ able to connect to Hero 6 and control at least simple commands (turn-on/off, start/stop recording etc) and is it able to connect to the both cameras i have? :) There is a very lack of materials about that, so I need to conciser that before I offer hero 6 black with extra REMO Voice commander or I can avoid that expensive extra accessory and happy to use RemovuR1+ for both cameras..

    Thanks!

    1. I’d recommend contacting Removu support directly for a definitive answer (you can find them here). I know there was talk of a firmware update in the works but I don’t know the status of it and haven’t tested this latest R1+ yet.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *