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.

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.

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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 has three different remotes for their action cameras. Two of them are current models, one 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 Smart Remote as the only current model.) 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.

GoPro Smart Remote

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 all GoPro models that have wireless capabilities.

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

The newest of GoPro’s remotes looks plain but has a trick up its sleeve: it works with the voice control feature in the 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 the Smart Remote over the Remo.

The Remo is discontinued and getting to harder to find, but 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 Smart Remote and 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 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 camera at once.

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 where 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 Smart Remote or Remo. If you’re using a GoPro in damp conditions, both the Smart Remote and the Remo are waterproof. The Smart Remote is rated down to 33 feet (10 meters), while the Remo is 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 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 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. You can get them directly from CamDo.

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 Product Advertising API were last updated on 2019-10-18 at 05:49.

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This post was last modified on September 6, 2019 10:39 am

View Comments

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

    • 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.

  • 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

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

  • 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 :-).

    • 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 ...

      • 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.

  • 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!

    • 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.

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