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5 Reasons for GoPro Overheating: Plus 6 Tips for Extended Shooting

GoPro overheating? Yes, it’s normal for your GoPro to get hot. It can actually feel too hot to touch sometimes. In this post, you’ll learn 5 reasons that GoPro cameras overheat. Plus 6 tips to keep your GoPro cool longer. At the end of the post, I include the results of my test to overheat my GoPro.

gopro overheating

5 Reasons Why GoPro Cameras Overheat

It can be super disappointing to be shooting your adventures only to have your camera shut off unexpectedly.

This is actually a safety feature to prevent damage to your camera from high temperatures.

Understanding what causes GoPro to get hot can help you as you plan your shoot and travels.

Here are 5 things that can cause overheating issues with your GoPro:

  1. External temperature: This is the single largest reason GoPro cameras overheat. Just like anything else, if you take your camera out on a 104°F (40°C) day, it’s going to get hot very quickly.
  2. Memory Card: Once inserted into your camera, your microSD card becomes part of your camera circuitry. If it is an old, slow card, then it becomes the weak point in your camera. Upgrading your card is an easy way to keep your camera running cooler (and longer).
  3. Length of Video Recording: Filming 10 videos at 5 minutes each will keep your camera cooler than filming a straight 50-minute video all at once. Of course, this is with the assumption that you’ll allow a little time in between the short videos to allow the camera to cool down.
  4. Video Quality: Capturing high frame rates and video resolution is a lot of work for the electronics and will cause it to heat faster than lower quality imaging. High-resolution video will also consume more battery power.
  5. Outdated Firmware: If your camera hasn’t updated to the latest firmware, it might be more prone to overheating. 

Outdated firmware is causing problems with the new Hero10 Black. 

Hero10 Black Overheating

Some users have reported overheating of the new Hero10 Black camera.

It seems that if the camera is shooting without airflow and continuously recording (at high resolution and high frame rates), the camera is overheating and turning off. This was happening at roughly 20 minutes of continuous recording

This probably isn’t a typical use case. Usually, you’ll find a GoPro attached to a mountain bike, drone, motorcycle. These uses give more than adequate airflow and should sufficiently cool the camera. 

To combat this, GoPro releases a new firmware update, adding “Video Performance Modes”

Video Performance Modes

The new firmware (v1.16 on November 2, 2021) offers two new modes:

  1. Maximum Video Performance: This is basically the same as what shipped with the camera.
  2. Extended Battery (Tripod/Stationary): This mode assumes that the camera is stationary and won’t have much air flow. 

To extend battery life (and reduce heat build up), the Extended Battery mode disables additional features like GPS and Hypersmooth. If the camera is on a tripod, they aren’t needed anyway. 

According to GoPro, you can expect your battery to last 29 minutes (47% longer) when shooting at 5.3K at 60fps. And when shooting at 4K/60 the battery will increase 154%, to an hour and three minutes.

How Will I Know if it Overheated?

Your GoPro camera will tell you if it’s overheating. Either with a nice screen message or by turning itself off. Freezing up is actually a safety feature.

So while you should be concerned about keeping the temperature as low as possible, you can’t push it too far. It has safety features to protect itself and it will stop recording and allow time to cool down.

Now here’s how to keep your GoPro from overheating.

How to Keep GoPro from Overheating: 6 Tips

These tips will help keep your camera cooler and run longer before overheating. You might even avoid a camera shut down because it got too hot.

These tips are especially important when filming in a hot environment. Not all these tasks are necessary in cooler settings or for filming shorter clips.

  1. Reduce exposure to direct sunlight: This is probably the most obvious. The sun will super heat your black camera pretty fast. A little shade can make a huge difference.
  2. Avoid super suit when above water: Underwater, you shouldn’t have too much trouble with overheating. The water works as a huge heat sink and keeps your camera cool. But above the water, it will heat the air inside the super suit and reduce cooling. I’ve had my cameras overheat and shut down many times because of this.
  3. Use a faster memory card: Numerous photographers have tested and commented that they have less temperature issues by avoiding older, slower cards. And this makes sense – make it as easy as possible for your camera to store the data and it won’t need to work as hard.
  4. Reduce video quality: By reducing the capture load, you can give your camera less do to and help it run cooler. Consider reducing both frame rate (fps) and resolution.
  5. Create some airflow: This is easily done on a bicycle, motorcycle, or zipline. There is no shortage of air movement in these sports. But it’s not as easy when it’s indoors, inside a car, or in a stationary setting. You might consider putting the window down, turning on a fan, or placing it in front of an air conditioner.
  6. Update Your Firmware: This is a common suggestion on the GoPro forums. GoPro periodically releases firmware updates, some of these actually address overheating issues in specific models. If you’re having issues, it’s worth checking to see if you have the latest update for your model.

Does temperature really shorten GoPro filming time?

It’s a valid question. Most GoPro users will say yes, high temperatures will cause premature shut-off and stop the camera from filming.

Photographer Alik Griffin even dropped his Hero7 into the freezer while recording – and it didn’t auto-shutoff until the battery died.

And while this definitely shortened the battery life it also lengthened the shooting time by keeping the temperature low.

How Long it Took Me to Overheat my Camera

So while I’ve had my camera konk out numerous times because of overheating, I wanted to run a few tests in a controlled environment. And collect some actual data.

Here are the specs for this test:

  • My office temperature was roughly 70°F (21°C).
  • My Hero8 Black camera was set to record 2.7K 6o fps video.
  • I used a 64GB microSDXC card.

How my camera fared in my test.

  • 9 minute mark: Camera is getting warm but still a safe temperature.
  • 14 minute mark: Temperature is starting to get hot. Especially the front status screen area.
  • 20 minute mark: Temperature feels similar to 14 minute mark. With the exception of the bottom of the camera. Even with the folding fingers (mounting brackets) I can feel significant heat build up.
  • 25 minute mark: The camera bottom has now become the hottest part of the camera – even feeling uncomfortable to hold.
  • 30 minute mark: The camera is getting hot enough that it would begin to worry most new users. Remember that this high temperature isn’t hurting the camera. Safety features will soon take over and force it to cool down, as required.
  • 35 minute mark: The camera is now hot all over. The front status screen and bottom of the camera are equal in temperature.
  • 40 minute mark: Not much change in the last 5 minutes. Might have increased by a couple of degrees.
  • 45 minute mark: If I didn’t know better, I would be concerned that things were beginning to melt inside. The bottom of the camera is very hot.
  • 50 minute mark: No notable change from the previous check. It seems to have hit its peak temperature.
  • 55 minute mark: Temperature continues to increase. The folding fingers (bottom of camera) are hot enough to give a burning sensation in my hand. It isn’t hot enough to actually burn, but it would be equivalent to the side of a mug full of hot coffee.
  • 60 minute mark: This has gone much longer than I thought it could. The camera is very hot at this point. And the battery is almost dead. Not long now…
  • 67 minute mark: After one hour and 7 minutes, my GoPro battery finally konked out. It is an official GoPro battery with 1220 mAh.

When I began this test, I expected it would last around 35 to 40 minutes, given the ideal circumstances. After it passed 50 minutes, I began thinking that the battery might die before the camera overheated. And it lasted another 17 minutes after that.

What about outside in the sun? Good question. It’s April as I write this post. And at noon, it’s just 35°F (2°C) outside. I live in Nova Scotia (Canada), what can I say? We had 3 inches of snow a couple of days ago.

I plan to run a control test outside during the summer – to see how these time frames compare. Stay tuned for that in a few months. Once all the ice melts…

Trying to sort out the differences between all the GoPro models? Check out our GoPro Comparison Guide

gopro gets hot

More reading: How to Format SD Cards (5 Ways)

Your turn

How much life are you getting out of your GoPro camera before it overheats and shuts off? Let me know below. Please note your model and any specific settings that affected its temperature.


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Pam

Monday 18th of October 2021

I've just begun trying to figure out the overheating issue. GoPro 8. Shuts off after about 10 mins. Battery life seems good. I use it to record neighborhood tours (I'm a real estate agent), so it's outside, mounted on my car. I use a protective case. I also took it kayaking and had it clipped to my vest, in a protective case. Shut down alot. I have the 64gb scandisc ultra. I control the camera using my GP app on my phone. Not sure if that makes a difference. I film in 2.7k 60. Next tour I am planning on doing it without the case, which should be tomorrow morning. I am about to check for updates. I'm in Florida and filming has been done when it's hot. Anything jump out at you?

Jesse Collins

Thursday 5th of November 2020

I had been using GoPro 5 to record my daughter's softball games. They usually last 1 hour and 30 minutes long. With my initial learning curve, I found with an external battery and filming at 720p 30fs it worked fine. I would then join the videos and upload them to youtube for all the parents to see. I upgraded to the GoPro 8 because I wanted to record at a higher resolution and frame rate. But has had nothing but problems, overheating is the main issue. I bought expensive charging blocks, the fastest sd cards ever made, and still have the same issue. These cameras are in direct sunlight most of the time. I even went to the trouble of buying a GoPro 7 to see if that could change because now I am losing videos of her games that I can't get back. I hate to resort to dropping down the resolution to 720p and 30 fps because I should have just kept using the GoPro 5. Do they make a white GoPro, black is not the best color when out in the sun either. Note: I have turned off every function, updated firmware, and trying to run at 1080p at 60 fps.

Erick Breneman

Sunday 18th of October 2020

I've never used a case on my 7 when in the water. Do you go deep enough that you need a case? I've never had trouble with overheating in the water, since I don't use a case.

Erick Breneman

Sunday 18th of October 2020

My question is if the GoPro 9 runs cooler? After all this time you'd think GoPro would get this a bit more under control. My current GP still turns off while shooting 4k60. My use case is for volleyball games, where I run it for about an hour. I typically keep it plugged into a battery pack, causing heat, too. If I can get to the camera between sets I'll not use an external pack and swap out the battery between sets. I've been lucky sometimes when I do that, but it's a risky proposition. It really stinks losing plays, which could be "the highlight" you really want. I end up being limited to 2.7k, which is not too bad, but not what I'm really looking for. At least it's rock solid that way. I'd hope with the 9 shooting 5k, at 4k it would be cool enough to just keep going and going. Maybe the battery lasts longer, so don't have to plug it in. I've tried turning off smoothing since I use a tripod, and turn off wifi, and set to protune to stop it from thinking for color balance and the like. All seems to maybe help a little... What I'd like to see is a metallic case that has a "pocket" to hold an icepack on the bottom. Or a peltier cooer. Just a little bit of something to see if it could help cool the frame of the camera. Any other ways to keep the heat down you can think of, or just in general if the 9 runs cooler. I'd consider replacing the 7 to a 9, or heck, keep both and swap cameras between games, but that option is a bit nuclear.

Erick Breneman

Sunday 18th of October 2020

My first GP7 overheated A LOT. I called support and they sent me a new one, which runs better. I videoed the camera with a thermal camera and they agreed it is running too hot. Consider you may have a bad camera.

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