The Ultimate GoPro Trouble Shooting Guide

GoPro cameras are one of the toughest product sold in the market. Most of the units sold work excellent right out of the box. Despite that, slip up can often happens. Let’s take a look at some of the major problems with GoPro camera with solutions.

1. GoPro is Freezing

This is the most common problem that  can be easily dealt with. Most of the time, this is caused by a few causes that can be solved pretty quickly.

a) Firmware is not up to date

Solution: Update the firmware by GoPro app. GoPro App version 2.3 and later will enables you to update the camera firmware inside the app itself. If you don’t have it, or prefer to do the manual firmware upgrade, you can download the firmware file on the official GoPro website.

b) Faulty SD Card

Solution: Try replacing an SD card, or do a full format on that SD card. You’ll need to make sure that the card is formatted as FAT32. Any other format like NTFS or exFAT will cause your GoPro to be unable to read that SD card.

c) No Battery

Solution: Check if a battery is already inserted into your GoPro camera, and make sure there’s some power left in the battery. You can also plug in a charge cable and let it charge for about ten minutes.

d) Bricked Camera

Solution: If you have already done a), b), and c) but nothing improved, there is also chances that your camera is bricked. Your only bet is to contact GoPro support center, and let them know about your situation. There are some cases that GoPro send a new camera to people with bricked one.

2. SD Card Error

If your GoPro can power up, but showing either “SD ERR” of “NO SD“, the problem is exactly right at your SD card.

a) SD Card Class Problem

Solution: Usually all GoPro cameras except the entry level need a class-10 SD card as a minimum requirement. Entry level GoPro will work with class-4 SD cards. Read about compatible SD cards for Hero5, Hero4 Black, Hero4 Silver.

b) Incompatible Format

Solution: Re-format your SD card to FAT32.

c) Faulty SD Card

Solution: Try replacing your SD card with a new one. Did I tell you that it’s common practices to have more than 2 SD cards at disposal?

d) Heat Problem

Solution: Faulty SD card while the camera is overheat often solved by letting it cool for a few moment. However, the root cause is still the SD card. Your SD card is not dead yet, but it is about to. The permanent solution is to use a new SD card, or buy a new one instead.

3. Video Files Are Corrupted

This problem often comes with SD_ERR message. The root cause of it is obviously your SD card is not formatted properly.

a) Shutdown Your GoPro

Solution: The quick fix is to shut down your GoPro, then wait for a few seconds, then power it up again. If you are lucky, the problem will be gone temporary, and you will be able to use your GoPro for that day.

However, you still need to format your SD card to fix it permanently.

b) Video File Recovery

File recovery is possible, but not guaranteed.

Try using recovery software such as:

Run SFC /SCANNOW (Windows)

  1. Right-click the Start button and select Command Prompt (Administrator).
  2. Enter the SFC /SCANNOW command and press Enter.
  3. The files on the microSD card will then be scanned and repaired.
  4. The process can take between ten to twenty minutes.

Either way are not a guarantee that you’ll recover any file yet. I personally had success with the SFC method recovering video from my dead dashcam’s card.

4. GoPro App Connection Unable to Connect or Unstable

This one is the pain in the arse. I don’t like this one a lot because GoPro could do better with their official app. However, the solutions are simple, but involve with many steps. Be patience with this one.

a) WIFI Can’t Be Detected

Solution: Try turning your GoPro WIFI off, then toggle WIFI on you phone off, and then on again. Then Turn on the WIFI on GoPro. If it doesn’t work, try again, but now turn on the GoPro WIFI before your phone WIFI. The problem is quite annoying, be patient.


Solution: There are a few causes about this.

  • No active WIFI connection on your phone, you need to connect to GoPro’s WIFI first.
  • The camera is too far from the phone, move it into
  • App is acting goofie, try restarting the app.
  • App is acting very goofie, make sure the latest firmware and the latest app version is installed.
  • APN setting conflicts such as Onavo and APN-switch, you’ll need to disable other app’s APN tweak.

c) WIFI Connection is Unstable

Solution: Make sure both GoPro firmware on the camera and GoPro app are the latest version. It happens in both iOS and Android version of the app. Unfortunately this is the problem with the app itself, and this is the only fix. You may need to manually kill the app if your download failed many times. The last resort is to delete the app, then install it again.

5. Mobile App Playback Choppy Quality

When recording a video with GoPro, there will be TWO version of your videos created. The first one, is the original video with FULL bit rate with maximum quality. The second one, called LRV or Low Resolution Video, is the exactly copy of the original one with smaller size that solely used for preview only.

Guess what, when you preview a video on GoPro app, the low resolution video will be played instead. Because it’s smaller and faster to stream, but with the trade off with lower quality.

Solution: If you need to view the video in it’s maximum quality, you’ll need to download that video to your phone first, then view it locally.

Or, you can remove SD card and insert to your Android phone, or a computer. This way you’ll also be able to view your videos at maximum quality.

6. GoPro Battery Drain When Off

Cause: It’s faulty in older model GoPro’s firmware that even an Off-state GoPro will drain battery to completely dry within a few days.

Solution: I hope GoPro launches a firmware upgrade to fix this problem, but it’s not, at least now. In the mean time, get the battery out of GoPro when not using should fix the problem.

7. Video Playback on Computer Stuttering

Cause: This probably not the problem with your GoPro nor a video file. Most of the time it’s about your computer spec, especially when you play a 4K or high FPS video file.

Solution: Make sure that you use a powerful enough computer to playback your video files.

Once you already have a powerful computer, if you use Microsoft Windows, stay away from the default player. I would recommend you to use the VLC media player. This orange cone app aren’t the most beautiful, but it plays almost any format available on earth.

8. Part of Mounting is Broken

There is NO fix for this. Superglue seems to help, but will be broken again soon after just only a first few tries. In the end, you risk letting your GoPro fall off and maybe damaged or lost it forever as well.

The only permanent fix is buy a new one instead. Maybe buy two for a spare if the part is not really expensive.

Tip: For the more expensive accessories, before buying a new one, you can contact the seller telling them exactly how it broke. Some brands love to hear this story, so they can improve their product quality, and often sending you a new one for free! It’s a win-win situation.


Author: Kain Harvey

I'm a photographer based in Tokyo, Japan. My background is engineering, so I'm good with numbers and settings. I try to focus on my strong point and give it my all. I hope you will find the benefits of my skill.

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