Can You Use 128GB, 256GB, 400GB, 512GB, or 1TB SD Cards in GoPro Cameras?

Wondering if you can use a 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB microSD card in your GoPro? So long as you're using one of these GoPro models and the card is fast enough, you can.
GoPro 128GB SD Cards
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Yes, in the new models of GoPro cameras you can use 128GB, 256GB, 400GB, 512GB, and even 1TB microSD cards. There are some things to watch out for, though.

Compatible GoPro Models

First, this doesn’t apply to some older models. Some of those older models only work with SDHC-formatted cards, which, in practice, limits them to 32GB and below.

But newer models also work with SDXC-formatted cards (ie. exFAT filesystem), which means that you can use cards 64GB and larger. The models that do work with the larger cards are:

  • HERO9 Black
  • HERO8 Black
  • MAX
  • HERO7 Black
  • HERO7 Silver
  • HERO7 White
  • Fusion
  • HERO6 Black
  • HERO5 Black
  • HERO5 Session
  • HERO Session (2018)
  • HERO4 Black
  • HERO4 Silver
  • HERO4 Session

Sequential Write Speed

The second caveat is that the card is fast enough.

Not all microSDXC cards are fast enough for the high-end video modes of these GoPros, and using a card that’s too slow can lead to unstable and unexpected behavior such as video recording stopping unexpectedly or error messages. Specifically, you want SD cards that have fast sequential write speeds, which is the spec that’s relevant to recording video or using the burst photo modes on GoPros. That’s not to say that you need the fastest microSD card that money can buy, necessarily. GoPros can’t make full use of the very fastest cards, anyway.1 But you need one that’s fast enough to meet the camera’s threshold requirements.

If you’re looking for some guidance on which SD cards are fast enough for the various GoPro models, I’ve put together some recommendations for specific models:

microSDXC vs microSDHC

The 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 400GB, and 512GB cards you see will all be labeled as microSDXC. Only cards 32GB and smaller will have the microSDHC label. You won’t find any 128GB cards sold with microSDHC labeling, for example. The distinction is one set by the SD Association’s specification.2

The difference between them is in the filesystem formatting used. microSDHC cards use the FAT32 filesystem. microSDXC cards use a newer and more flexible exFAT filesystem. While it’s technically possible to use a computer to reformat the card with the other filesystem, it’s not recommended, and the next time you reformat the card in the camera, it will revert to the expected filesystem. (That said, if you really want to do it on a computer, I’ve put together a guide to use the official SD card formatter.)

Recommendations on Memory Cards for GoPro Cameras

You can find my general recommendations on the best SD card for GoPro cameras here.

  1. For example, current models of GoPro cameras have a UHS-I bus interface, so putting a UHS-II card in the camera will work, but you’ll be limited to UHS-I speeds. 
  2. There’s also a new specification known as SDUC that covers the range of 2TB up to 128TB, but you won’t find any of those cards in the wild just yet. 

What to Do if Your GoPro Photos or Videos Go Missing From Your SD Card

There can be several reasons why photos and videos go missing from memory cards. But you can often recover at least some of them. I have a more detailed post on how to recover deleted GoPro videos and photos from SD cards, but here's the quick version:

  1. Stop using the SD card. This is important, because overwriting the data will make it harder to recover deleted files from it.
  2. Scan the memory card with the free trial versions of either Stellar Photo Recovery or Disk Drill. Both have Windows and Mac versions. The scan will show you whether any files can be found and recovered.
  3. Recover the files. If the apps can find the files, you can then decide whether to buy a full license to run the actual recovery process or to try one of the other options covered here.

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