One of the biggest gripes people have when it comes to using their GoPro cameras is the sub-par battery life.
With the new Hero 4 models, even in the best of conditions you can only get anywhere been 80 minutes and 100 minutes and that’s if you’re not using Wi-Fi, a remote or the touch-screen on the back.
For me, that’s barely enough time to film an entire day out or capture some epic footage on a road-trip or wherever else you’re bringing your camera.
Maybe in the yet-to-be-released Hero 5 there will be some huge update when it comes to battery life but for now us GoPro users are stuck with what we have.
In this post I want to go over some of the best ways I found to extend the battery life of a GoPro and I’ll also cover some things you can buy to improve your battery life as well.
How to Extend Your GoPro Battery Life
Make Sure It’s Updated
One of the easiest ways to get more battery life out of your GoPro if you’ve noticed that it’s not lasting as long as it once did is to make sure that you’ve updated it to the most current firmware.
Every so often GoPro comes out with some new firmware updates that help to improve software it’s running on as well as fix any of the internal issues that the camera might be suffering from.
There have definitely been some minor improvements that I’ve seen after updating and I’m actually that type of guy that never updates anything.
I once waited two years before bothering to update my GoPro and the entire time I was always worried about battery life but once I updated there were definitely some noticeable improvements and I was able to get more use out of my camera before having to switch out the battery.
If you’re using GoPro Studio you’ll always be notified when there’s an update available and I recommend going through the updating process whenever you see there’s a new one.
If you’re not using it just be sure to check the official website on a regular basis to see if it’s time for you to update or not.
Use the Right Settings
Using the optimal settings for battery life will allow you to spend more time filming or capturing photos rather than switching out batteries or worrying when your camera is going to die.
Some settings you can change to improve the battery life include:
- Shooting in 1080P 30FPS, 1080P 60FPS or 4K 30FPS
- Making sure Wi-Fi is turned off
- Not using the remote
- Turning off the LED
- Turning off the beeping sounds
- Turning off the LCD screen
- Not changing settings too much when you’re shooting
- Use the Auto Power Off setting
By applying these settings and being mindful of whether or not your camera is on or off you’ll be able to see a noticeable improvement in how much battery life you’re able to squeeze out of your GoPro.
Avoid Using the Remote or Smartphone App
Besides having to constantly remember to make sure that it’s charged on its own, the remote is a hassle to use and really eats into the overall battery life of your GoPro.
The remote will reduce the overall battery usage of your GoPro batteries by anywhere between 15 and 25% depending on how often you’re using it and if you have a selfie stick then there really isn’t any reason to use the remote at all.
Along with the remote I see a lot of people pairing the camera with their smartphone just to get a better look at what the camera is going to capture.
I don’t know why they do this because it’s such a wide angle lens that it’s going to capture pretty much anything that is directly in front of it so apart from being a waste of time pairing your camera with your smartphone is also a huge waste of batteries.
If you leave the remote at home and don’t waste time pairing your smartphone then you’ll definitely notice an improvement in overall battery life and you’ll be able to take more video or capture more photos with a single charge.
Turn Off the Screen or Don’t Use One
The LCD screen that comes attached to the back of the Hero 4 Silver or the one that you can purchase and attach directly to the back of your camera are huge battery wasters and essentially defeat the purpose of having a GoPro.
In my mind, the GoPro gives you the ability to just turn it on and start capturing whatever is in front of you without having to worry about adjusting the settings or framing the shot perfectly every time.
The screen just give you one more thing to worry about and takes away from the overall experience of using your GoPro.
If you want to enjoy more battery life I would recommend keeping the screen off and not even considering picking one up if you have the Hero 4 Black.
To change the settings just do it the old-fashioned way using the display screen on the front and then just start capturing without worrying about all of the small details.
Turn Off the Beeping and Red Indicator Lights
Having spent a lot of time watching GoPro Youtube videos I’ve seen a lot of footage where people have the blinking red light constantly going on when they’re filming.
This is a huge distraction to the viewer and every time that the red light blinks it takes away a little amount of time that could have otherwise been spent capturing video or photos.
I realize that it’s an indicator light and it lets you know when your camera is recording but if you’re confident with your filming capabilities you’ll quickly learn that as long as you properly push the button that your GoPro is going to be capturing and you’re not going to have to use a little red light to determine whether or not it’s working.
This might not have such a huge impact on the overall battery life but when it comes to extending how long you’re able to use your camera every little bit helps.
Also, you might as well go ahead and turn off the beeping noise that sometimes people leave on that you hear when you’re scrolling through menus or starting/stopping your camera.
This is another battery eater and you’ll see some improvement without the red light or the beeping noise turned on.
Shoot in 1080P with Protune Off
Unless you have a specific reason to capture footage in ultra high definition or you plan on color correcting your videos after you made them, it’s your best bet to have the video settings set to 1080p and having Protune turned off.
1080p is basically the industry standard when it comes to video content, especially if you’re watching videos mostly on YouTube, and for the majority of people watching it’s good enough.
To be honest I’m not sure about the exact science behind it but it causes your camera to use more processing power when you’re capturing footage and high-resolution and the result of this is that it doesn’t last as long and you’re not able to film as long as you would be able to if you were shooting in a lower resolution.
Protune for some reason also causes a decrease in the amount of battery life you’ll get from a single charge and you should really only have it on if you’re doing any post-production color correction.
Only Turn the Camera On When You Need It
Although the GoPro has a pretty reasonable standby time I would still recommend turning it off between shots and especially if you don’t plan on using it for a significant amount of time.
Even with a good standby time it’s still going to cut down on your overall battery usage if it’s just sitting in your bag or in your pocket turned on and not being used.
Of course you’re going to want to film as much as you can but the GoPro turns on pretty quickly and unless you’re somewhere that you’re going to need to quickly capture whatever is going on in front of you you’re better off leaving it turned off and just turning it on whenever you feel like capturing a video or taking a quick photo.
Pick Up Extra Batteries
Without a doubt one of the easiest ways to get more usage out of your camera is to just pick up some extra batteries.
These days spare batteries, especially from third-party vendors, are pretty affordable and once you have 3 or more extra batteries you really don’t have to worry so much about running out of juice.
If you’re interested I wrote a post on the best GoPro batteries so I recommend taking a look at that to see what your options are and to check out all of my recommendations.