Does GoPro Wifi Work Underwater?

Wondering if you can control your GoPro remotely by wifi underwater? An explanation of what's possible and what isn't to remotely control GoPros underwater.
Svalbard with a GoPro HERO5 Black
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GoPros love water. One of the best things about them is that you can take them where other cameras fear to go. Whether that’s hiking in a downpour, snorkelling over a coral reef, or surfing big waves, GoPros are up for it.

GoPro HERO10 Black!

GoPro has released the GoPro HERO10 Black. It's the latest in their line of flagship action cameras. It sports the new GP2 processor for faster performance. Shoots 5.3K60 and 4K120 video, 23MP photos, has improved low-light performance, and HyperSmooth 4.0 video stabilization. And it shares most accessories with HERO9 (same battery, housing, Media Mod, etc).

The HERO10 Black is available for order directly from GoPro.com. The MSRP is $499.99, but you can get it for $399.99 with 1-year subscription to GoPro or if you're already a GoPro subscriber.

But that’s not to say that every function will work in all conditions. As one example, you can’t control a GoPro by wifi underwater. That’s true even if it’s only the camera underwater and you (and the wifi remote or device) are above water.

That’s not a shortcoming of GoPros. It’s true of any camera, phone, or device using wifi. The problem is that wifi waves don’t work at all well underwater. It might be possible one day to set up wifi networks underwater, but for now it’s not an option.

The problem is that the signal drops off very quickly in even a small amount of water. By the time you get a few inches, let alone a few feet, underwater, the signal is to weak to be usable.

So for all practical purposes, you can’t control your GoPro underwater with a wifi signal. That means you can’t use the GoPro smartphone app, nor can you use the GoPro Smart Remote, the GoPro Remo Voice-Activate Remote (even though the Remo is waterproof), or the devices that turn an LCD Backpac into a wireless view and controller.

If you’re planning to film underwater, it’s also worth remembering that the LCD touchscreens won’t work for touch control underwater. They do work just fine for viewing, though.

Underwater Wifi Extension Cable

WiFi itself won’t work underwater, but what you can do is transmit the signal for the underwater portion through a cable. That allows you to livestream from your GoPro underwater.

If you like DIY projects, it is possible to build your own. Or Cam-Do now offers off-the-shelf extension cables for the HERO4, HERO3+, and HERO3 with lengths ranging from 20 feet to 300 feet.

If you want to try building one yourself, here’s a how-to guide.

Waterproof Depth Ratings for GoPro Cameras

Newer GoPro models have a waterproof body. Older models required an external waterproof housing. Here are the depth ratings for the cameras themselves.

GoPro ModelWaterproof Depth Rating (without external housing)
HERO9 Black33 feet / 10 meters
HERO8 Black33 feet / 10 meters
MAX16 feet / 5 meters
HERO7 Black33 feet / 10 meters
HERO7 Silver33 feet / 10 meters
HERO7 White33 feet / 10 meters
Fusion16 feet / 5 meters
HERO6 Black33 feet / 10 meters
HERO (2018)33 feet / 10 meters
HERO5 Black33 feet / 10 meters
HERO5 Session33 feet / 10 meters
HERO4 Session / HERO Session33 feet / 10 meters
HERO+ LCD131 feet / 40 meters
HERO+131 feet / 40 meters
HERO (2014)131 feet / 40 meters
HERO4 BlackNot waterproof. Requires external waterproof housing.
HERO4 SilverNot waterproof. Requires external waterproof housing.
HERO3+ BlackNot waterproof. Requires external waterproof housing.
HERO3 BlackNot waterproof. Requires external waterproof housing.
HERO3 SilverNot waterproof. Requires external waterproof housing.
HERO3 WhiteNot waterproof. Requires external waterproof housing.
HD HERO 2Not waterproof. Requires external waterproof housing.
HD HERO OriginalNot waterproof. Requires external waterproof housing.
SD HERONot waterproof. Requires external waterproof housing.

To go deeper, you can put the camera inside a protective dive housing. These are the compatible protective housings for recent cameras.

GoPro CameraCompatible Protective HousingDepth Rating of Protective Housing
HERO9 BlackProtective Housing (for HERO9)196 feet / 60 meters
HERO8 BlackProtective Housing (for HERO8)*196 feet / 60 meters
HERO7 BlackSuper Suit196 feet / 60 meters
HERO7 SilverProtective Housing131 feet / 40 meters
HERO7 WhiteProtective Housing131 feet / 40 meters
HERO6 BlackSuper Suit196 feet / 60 meters
HERO (2018)Super Suit196 feet / 60 meters
HERO5 BlackSuper Suit196 feet / 60 meters
HERO5 SessionAftermarket Dive Housing
HERO SessionAftermarket Dive Housing
HERO4 SessionAftermarket Dive Housing
HERO4 BlackAftermarket Dive Housing
HERO4 SilverAftermarket Dive Housing
* NB: Despite sharing the name, the Protective Housing for the HERO9 Black is not the same as the one for the HERO8 Black. And the Protective Housing for the HERO7 Silver and White is different again.
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