Does Your GoPro Stop Recording on it’s Own?

MicroSD card for GoProI have a GoPro HERO3 Black edition that I’ve been using for a couple of months now and suddenly, for seemingly no reason, it started shutting off all by itself when recording at 4k and 2.7k. [Updated 2015: Recording resolution has proven irrelevant to the issue]. Batteries charged, sd card “clean”, yet missed footage… What gives?

At first I thought I had a problem with the camera itself, so I immediately went to the GoPro site and went through the rigamarole of doing a manual firmware update, just to make sure everything was as it should be. No luck… Away I went to the forums, where I found all kinds of suggestions such as turning the ProTune feature off, opting for higher quality memory cards (who’s better than Sandisk?), and various pontifications over the true accuracy of the “10”Β rating (10mbps transfer capacity) on the micro SD cards. I tried various suggestions, including turning the ProTune feature off, all with minimal improvement on my situation. I simply could not record anything with a higher resolution than 1440…


Finally, in an act of desperation, I did the most simple thing imaginable and viola! Problem solved… What was it?


Evidently, just like the hard drive on your Windows based PC, the micro SD card will fragment over time, and even though you’re erasing old files as you go and the card may appear empty, this fragmenting will interrupt the high transfer rates necessary to support shooting at such a high resolution. Reformatting the card in the camera gives you a truly clean slate to work off of and should eliminate any future premature shut downs. Now, I do it before every use, and haven’t had a problem since.

Exact instructions on reformatting the card can be found here.

Happy shooting!

80 thoughts on “Does Your GoPro Stop Recording on it’s Own?

  • Thank you! Worked like a charm…just wished we had looked it up a couple of days earlier, but ready to get some good footage on the slopes today!!

  • Sorry, that doesn’t work. I have 3 GoPros, and 2 of those stop recording randomly whenever they feel like it. Using the highest rated cards and formating the card in camera is the only way to get anything out of these cameras, but it doesn’t solve the problem. It wastes a lot of my time and I miss a lot of shots.

    • That stinks… You’re the first person I’ve come into contact with that couldn’t address the mystery shut-off issue by formatting the cards in the camera after each use. Maybe you could share some details on the settings you’re using and any other information which might be helpful in establishing some kind of forensic pathology.

    • I also have the same issue. Mine will stop recording after about 35 minutes of recording.

      I am using SanDisk Extreme cards (32GB) formatted on the GoPro Hero3 Black Edition. I format the cards before using.

      I am recording at 1080, 60FPS, Medium FOV, 12MP Wide. There is plenty of battery life left (also have a Battery BacPac on it).

      I had no problems using the same card on a GoPro Hero3+.

          • Yes, still having problems with it. Sometimes it will record until it runs out of battery while other times it stops recording while having plenty of battery life (and space on the card).

          • Yes, I reformat before using.

            I have been experimenting with the camera even placing it closer to me so I can monitor it. It now looks like the problem has to do with overheating. I am using my camera while flying and I noted the camera was incredibly hot (despite temperatures in the 50s) on a recent flight. On my last flight I was able to record 40 minutes (a record for the camera) without the camera shutting down by placing it in a spot where it would be cooler.

          • Thanks James, that’s great info… I too have noticed that the camera tends to heat up after prolonged use but so far haven’t had a problem with it getting hot enough to shut down. Makes perfect sense though. Thanks again for sharing!

      • Hi James, I purchase a go pro hero 4 black and had the same problem, I went through all the steps, bought a different recommended sd card, ran all sorts of tests with it in the cooler house, vs a very hot cockpit… In the end I realized that the gopro hero black simply runs hotter and overheats EVEN WHEN you record at 1080, 30 fps…it would overheat around 34 minutes (coincidence?) ..I returned it, bought the hero 4 fact I now have 4 GoPro HERO 4 silvers and they all record reliably without fail! I did eventually find articles on the web confirming quietly what I just experienced. Maybe if the GoPro black is used in a snow or cold water environment it is fine, but in my experience in the hot heat of the outside or an airplane cockpit it cannot handle it.

  • I have gopro 3+ black edition, when i charged the gopro, red light sign doesnt turn on. i had put the battery off and put it in, still the same. Also when i start recording video the gorpro will turn off. how can i fix it? please help

    • If you plug your camera in and the charge light doesn’t come on, the first thing I would do is activate the camera with a battery known to be charged to see if the light flashes when the camera comes on. If you turn the camera on and the red light flashes, that eliminates the possibility of the problem being with the light itself. Once you know the light is working, I would then try charging a different battery. If you swap out multiple batteries and still can’t get the charge light to come on, check your usb cable and be sure it’s functioning. If, through trial and error you’re able to establish that your cable/batteries/camera/memory cards are all functioning properly and your problems persist, go to the GoPro site and update your firmware (re-install it if it’s current) and then try your luck again. If you still can’t get the light to come on, the only other thing to do is return it to GoPro and have them look at it. As for the the camera shutting off, most of us are able to resolve that issue by formatting the card in camera before every shoot. Good luck, and let us know if you come up with any further information to add.

  • Thanks man! It seems to have worked. My camera was doing this weird thing where it would stop recording. Then I would hit the record button again and it would start recording but the only way I could get it to stop was to pull out the battery. Then it wouldn’t even save the footage. So so far this seems to have worked! Thanks again!

  • Yep… I have the same Issues and no matter what SD card I use or how many times I format it.. I am lucky if I can get 10 seconds at a time, then the next time I get 2 minutes, then 5 sec… What a pain in the ______?
    I hope someone can come up with a real fix… But this post was a great help… thanks…

    • I would try going through the motions of a firmware update, even if you’re currently using the most up to date build. If you do that and a fresh format on the card and still have trouble, I’d say it’s time to contact someone at GoPro directly.

      Good luck!

  • Greetings,

    I ran into the same problem with my Hero3+ and followed your suggestion concerning formatting inside the camera. No luck. For the heck of it I went back to my older “slower” card and the problem disappeared. The funny things is the newer faster card will work in my Sony Action cam and in my Cannon camera with no problem.

    • Do you happen to have any specifics on the cards you’re using? So far, most of us have had success with formatting but there are always cases coming up where it’s not the final solution. Any additional information you can sure would be awesome because it doesn’t sound like GoPro is devoting a lot of energy to the problem.


  • Yeah. I learned of this problem the hard way. Took my go pro on the tough mudder and the camera stopped right before the best obstacle in the entire event. Gaaaaarrrrr

    • Arrgh, that stinks on ice… Interestingly enough, I’ve found this same condition exists on regular sd cards I use in my Canon T3i. If files are erased without formatting the entire card, it will stop prematurely when shooting 1920×1080 video…

      ALWAYS format every any/every card before recording. It’s a good habit to get into…


  • Hi Jay,

    Thanks so much for the insight. This saved me a bunch of time. My Hero 3 Black built in LCD stopped working recently, so I though the “stopping recording on it’s own” issue was related. Thankfully it’s not and I can use the camera again minus the display.


    • You’re very welcome. It’s always great to hear from people who benefit from such a simple fix. I know it doesn’t always work 100% for everyone, but so far, the odds are this will solve any recording issues.

      Happy shooting!

  • I have the same similar issue with Neil but mine is different, while taking photo I didn’t expect that I’ve switched it on the Video mode so I just click and click and lately I’ve realized why it is taking to long to capture the photo and after that it starts to shuts down without my command but the battery status is still full. After I open it for few seconds it shuts down again, please help me… This GoPro is not mine, this is a very big problem for me.

    • I’m not sure I fully understand exactly what your issue is but the basic trouble-shooting process I recommend is pretty much always the same. If you’re having charging issues, make sure your usb cable is functioning and your battery isn’t beyond it’s useful life. If switching out cables and batteries doesn’t rectify charging issues, it’s probably time to talk to GoPro directly because the problem is with the camera. If you’re having issues with the camera shutting down, the first thing to do is format the card in the camera. If that doesn’t help, try another card, formatting it in camera before use. If you experience the same trouble, run a firmware update, even if it just means reinstalling the same version. Format your card and try again after firmware update is complete. If you’re still not having luck, the last thing you can do before resorting to sending the camera in for service is to buy a brand new card and give it one more try. If the camera continues to turn off, you need to send it to GoPro for service.

      Good luck!

  • Thanks so much for this post, I am glad it was the first thing I found when searching for a solution to this problem. I purchased my gopro used and was worried I got ripped off.

  • Hi thanks for you post , i bought a new gopro 4 black edition and also I ordered a lexar x633 sd card , but while am recording the camera shuts off by itself, i did format sd card and updated frimeware with gopro app, still i have the same problem(also with full charged battery and empty sd card) , im very disappointed that i wasted my money on this camera , i dont know what to do ,please help

    • Okay, sounds like you’ve done everything right. I would try a different sd card just to be sure. If you don’t want to buy one, you can use the one in your cellphone provided it’s accessible. Other than that, if this is a brand new unit I would contact GoPro directly and inform them of the problems you’re experiencing. Be sure to check back in and let us know how it went.

  • Doesn’t this seem a bit ridiculous that we all have a problem recording on a device that is only suppose to record and take pictures. I have to reformat my card every time I want to record something and save the video to a separate drive just to use this thing. I don’t always have a laptop on me when I am skiing and climbing among other things. How can a company put something out with so many issues and not recall it to fix the problem. I say stop buying GOPRO cameras until they stop stealing our money.

    • Since “figuring it all out”, I can’t say that I’ve had a problem with mine but I do see your point. I certainly can’t speak for anyone else, but I have 2 32gb cards I use all the time and I’ll run out of batteries before I run out of recording space. In fact, I just used my HERO3 Black on a shoot Monday where the camera sat on a mini tripod atop a craft beer brewery vat for roughly 3 hours, running most of time. I started and stopped it a couple of times, including once for a battery change and it performed flawlessly, even after it was becoming noticeably warm. I can only speculate that despite the fact there’s a congregation of folks here that have experienced some issues, overall it’s not as significant as it may seem. Especially considering how many people are using these things and how many of them are out there. Interesting anecdote, the drummer in my band was surfing and he found a GoPro HERO2 wedged in some rocks at the beach. The watertight case was heavily scratched and clouded but when he got it home, the camera itself still worked 100%. He pulled the card and based on the metadata contained in the video, the camera had been out in the surf for 18 months! You have to admit, that’s pretty badass πŸ˜€

  • I shot an approximately hour long video on my GoPro Hero 4 Black utilizing SanDisk 64GB Ultra (1080SuperView/60FPS). I understand that the camera splits into multiple 4GB files. When I try to download, it only shows the first 4GB (17+ min) file. However, I can watch the hour long video in its entirety on the GoPro viewing screen, so I know it is there. Any ideas on how to recover the rest of my footage?

    Thanks for any advice you can offer,


    • Wow, now THAT’S a new one… The first thing I would do is instead of just looking for the mp4, transfer the entire DCIM directory from your SanDisc to your hard drive and then try to play the mp4 and see if it runs for the entire hour. Also, compare the size of the DCIM directory (as transferred to your hard drive) with the available space left on your micro SD. If it adds up to 64GB (or something really close), you’ll know you have it all on your local disc. Also, after transferring the DCIM directory, look for any sub-directories in there your GoPro may have created where the parsed mp4 might be hiding. Start there and let me know how you make out…

      • Okay, that gives me somewhere to start. I believe I need a micro SD adapter to access that….will pick up tomorrow. Hope this works. Will let you know how this turns out.

      • Issue Resolved: I made the mistake of connecting my GoPro directly to my computer. I purchased a mini SD card reader and that immediately fixed the issue (without having to search for files). Thanks for the advice.

  • Worst experience with gopro hero + LCD bought just 2 days back..I was very excited about this product, but unfortunately when the actual time came to test it..when I traveled on my bike to a distance of capture the beauty of an island known as Majuli, so in between I took few videos of very short but after taking 2 video clips it started malfunctioning, the shutter button was not working and I was not able to turn it off. So it was switched on for more one and half hour and the battery was completely drained. I didn’t expected this kind of experience from a brand. Thank god I had my DSLR with me..due to which I was able to take videos as well as pictures.

    • That stinks! This is the first I’ve heard of this. Generally speaking, if this sort of malfunction occurs, the best thing to do is simply pull the battery so that the camera is forced to power down. Then reinstall it and power it back up. If the condition persists I would do a clean firmware update and try again. After that, there’s not much choice other than to contact GoPro directly. Have you since resolved the issue? This is a good example as to why it’s smart to test all equipment before going on a trip of this kind πŸ˜‰

  • This issue had me banging my head up against the wall.. finally came across this link to help troubleshoot whatever was going on. My gopro would not record for more than 10 seconds (no matter what the resolution was). reformatted the card to the camera and finally recording again!! going on 20 mins as of now. thanks for the info!!! this saved me from switching cameras.

    • Awesome! I haven’t looked lately but if it hasn’t been included in the documentation yet I would remain at a loss as to why GoPro doesn’t put this information out front and center on their own. It’s so tempting to just delete files one by one or clear them off using a laptop or PC that many people (myself included) just don’t think to format the cards after every use. I do it now with ALL my cameras, GoPro or not.

      Glad you got it worked out!

  • Hi, I’ve had a similar issue for a while now, the only difference for me is that it only happens when I am using the Android App, controlling the Hero 3 BE and streaming the preview to my phone, recording in 1920×1080 60fps
    I found your recommended fix last night and followed your instructions.

    Same issue this morning, using the App, 7 mins of recording then disconnects from the App and stops recording.

    Not using the App and there is no problem, 2 x 17 min files and started a new one with no sign of a problem.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    • Hi Craig,

      This is definitely a new one… I have the same edition GoPro camera that you’re using and I also have the current build of the app on a Motorola Droid Turbo II. I have found that I lose connectivity with the phone relatively quickly when I get too far away from the camera but in every instance the camera kept recording despite having lost touch with the phone. I know it’s a bit of a pain but if you haven’t already I would reinstall (or update if applicable) your firmware via the GoPro website and see if anything changes. If you still have the same problem I would then reinstall the app on your phone and see if that does anything. Since the initial trial and error period when I got my first HERO 3 I haven’t had any performance issues with my cameras but my philosophy has always been that when I do encounter a problem that can’t be readily explained, I basically start from scratch and “reload” everything to see if starting from a clean slate does the trick. So far, it has…

      Let me know know if this helps.

  • Have had a problem with the light not coming on while charging, twice now. I just instinctively, not being savvy to anything technical, took out the battery. It seemed very warm. I left it out for a while to cool down, reinstalled it, and each time the light came on to indicate it was charging. Am anxious to try the reformatting of the SD card as I have recently had a problem with the camera shutting off by itself after beginning filming. Both of these problems have occurred recently after I began using my camera on my bike to film my rides. Must put a lot of additional strain on the camera.

    • Hi Dwayne,

      Not so long ago I purchased the GoPro AWALC-001 charger and one of the cables that was brand new out of the box was bad. It always helps when experiencing connectivity issues to try another cable as it’s the cheapest and easiest way to begin narrowing the possibilities as to where a potential problem might exist. In the meantime, make sure the light comes on when you’re charging a battery because for whatever reason, if you’re plugging in and the light doesn’t come on, you’re not charging. If pulling the battery out and reinstalling it does the trick I wouldn’t think there’s too much of a problem. Based on conversations I’ve had with other users, excessive heat can definitely have an adverse effect on camera performance (and I would guess possibly charging) so it’s something to keep an eye on. Aside from that, you should always be formatting your card in camera after every use for maximum reliability as this seems to resolve the premature shutoff 99% of the time. It’s also worth noting the batteries don’t last forever so if your batteries are a couple years old, that’s something to consider as well. Overall, recording on a bike shouldn’t be a problem because these things are pretty durable and I’ve never heard of any problems due to rough conditions. A buddy of mine found a HERO 2 at the beach while surfing and while the housing was clouded over and beat to hell, he pulled the camera out, charged it and it worked fine. Based on the meta data of the footage on the card, it had been in the surf for almost 18 months.

      Hope that helps, let me know if you have any other questions or want to update your situation.

    • I actually have the exact same problem where it stops recording mainly when I drive my bike. When just filming at home etc I have mostly no problems with the camera but as soon as I start driving my bike it just freezes up and have lost some nice footage. Anyway, tried all the reformatting on camera, firmware update, faster SD card different battery etc with no luck. Reached out to Gopro and explained situation in more detail and am now in the process of getting it replaced as it seems to be a fault. Thought Id just mention that Dwayne is not alone with the motorbike issue. This is hero 4 black.

      • Hey Phill,

        Thanks so much for your feedback! Given their popularity in extreme sports it’s helpful to find out that if a little vibration (apparently) is creating issues, the best course of action might be to just go ahead and go back to the source πŸ˜‰

        Thanks again!

        • Hi,

          Yes, I think if every tip on this thread has been tried that is really the only option left. Some feedback on my issue. I eventually had it replaced through the retail shop and when I got home with the replacement camera its screen was broken out of the box haha(stayed completely black all the time). I managed to get in contact with a local gopro rep at the end of the day that sorted me out and I now finally have another new gopro that is still working well so far. Let us hope it holds up.


  • Hi folks.

    I’ve had a Hero4 Session since Jan 2016 which I use as a helmet camera when commuting on my bike. It has also suffered from shutting down on its own accord.

    Reformatting the card (A PNY Turbo Performance Class 10 SD Memory Card – 64 GB) did initially seem to help but recently there have been three occasions when it has started recording (red light flashes, time counter starts counting) then after a few minutes it will bleep to tell me it’s shutting down, then turn off. Any footage recorded from these incidents is lost (which is a shame because one of them would have captured me crashing into a taxi when the passenger threw the door open as I was passing…). It’s not always after five mins – the last time was 10-11 minutes into my trip.

    Settings I’m using are: 1080p, 25fps, wide angle, protune on, and the battery is always charged.

    When it works as it should it produces brilliant quality footage, however I think it’s a faulty unit so it’s going back to the shop.


    • Hi Jim, hope you came through your run-in with the taxi with minimal damage πŸ˜‰

      Just to be clear, when you say your Hero4 “started recording”, can I assume it wasn’t a random occurrence and that you powered the camera up yourself and physically activated the recording? If the camera fired up on it’s own, that’s certainly a new one and without questions I would send it back for a factory diagnosis. If you did in fact start the camera as normal and it’s still shutting down I would reiterate the fact that I’ve found that for best performance it’s always a good idea to reformat the card before every shoot. If you do that and your firmware is up to date then yeah… Sending it in for service/replacement is about the only other thing you can do. One thing I am a little curious about is whether or not the 64gb capacity card has any effect on the situation… I’ve always used 32gb cards because I’ve found them to be more reliable, even when shooting to standard SD cards in my Canon DSLR. Even on that camera I’ve found my 32gb SanDisk Pixtor to be more reliable than it’s 64gb counterpart.

      Let us know how you make out sending the unit back for service/replacement.


  • Thanks for your time trouble shooting and posting this! A format fixed my problem! They should print that on the box.

    • Hey Curtis!

      That’s awesome, glad it solved your problem. Turns out a quick format seems to solve 98% of the troubles we have with these bad boys so yeah… You’d think they would include it somewhere accessible on the box but… Ah well… I guess that’s what forums are for πŸ˜‰

      Happy shooting!

  • Thanks! Got mine to work cleanly, after 45mins of recording decided it’s back in good order, especially in comparison with 1-2mins! πŸ™‚

    • That’s great, Julian. Since this experience with the GoPros I’ve gotten into the habit of formatting the cards in all my cameras after I’ve transferred the footage onto a storage drive. Especially with the ever increasing bitrates of modern HD and now 4k footage, it just seems like a good practice to get into.


  • Have a brand new Hero 4 Black, stops recording in the middle of videos on its own. The longest I’ve gotten in 1080-60 is about 5-6 minutes. Reinstalled the firmware, reformatted cards (using an approved card, the card is not the problem, I’ve tried 3 of them). Nada. It made it about 15 minutes on 1080-24. So I think it’s an overheating issue. Never had a problem with my Silver 3+. So I basically I bought a “better” camera that I can use for 5 minutes. Brilliant!

    I’ve contacted GoPro, I have very little hope there’s any sort of fix. It just overheats and shits down, and there’s not much you can do about that.

    • Hi Mike,

      That sucks… Others have mentioned overheating issues somewhere in the comments here and yeah… Depending on how and where you’re using your GoPro I’m afraid I don’t have an answer for that one. I have to admit it’s a little perplexing when manufacturers turn out products that are susceptible to this kind of problem. It’s one of the reasons I opted for the GH4 vs A Sony Alpha… The Alpha’s do a lot of things brilliantly and are particularly known for their insane lowlight capability but they too are vulnerable to shutting down if you run them too long. Living in a place like Southern California I can take chances on a camera not performing because of a little heat. If you have the time, by all means report back and let us know how you fair with GoPro on this issue and if they can do anything to help.

      Good luck!

  • *sigh* I’ve tried literally anything i bought my gopro a month a go and went to use it for the first time yesterday with a brand new 32gb class 10 60mbps micro sd card and ive literally changed every setting imaginable, when i seen your post and all the good reviews i got excited thinking i finally found the fix but nope it records for 5-10 seconds turns off then back on. This is with a GoPro Hero 3+ thank you for helping the community tho πŸ™‚

    • That stinks, Shane…

      When all else fails you can certainly try to take it up with GoPro directly and see what they say. I’m always anxious to get their official position on some of these issues but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of info direct from the horse’s mouth :/

  • thanks mate!!! my gopro 3 silver used to stop recording just after 10 secs with the protune ON & and it last 40 secs with protune OFF. i tried to format it in my macbook pro, but never tried to format the SD card within the Gopro!
    Now after i’ve format the SD card, im recording without any issue/stop … THANK YOU VERY MUCH !!! greetings from Chile!

  • Hi all
    Its 2017 but just thought I would jump in.
    I have just bought hero 5 black and having all these issues.
    1) while recording, after 5 Minutes the screen goes back then within minutes of going black caverage turns off.

    2) it is very hot and I. Mean hot.

    I bought this for motorbike and insurance purposes and it’s not good.
    I’ve done reforma ring SD card and firmware update. NO LUCK

    Should I send camera back?

    • Heywhatsup,

      Yeah, crazy to see this one blog post continuing to draw traffic four years after my original post but apparently there continues to be some unresolved issues that people continue to need help with. I don’t have a HERO5 but based on past experience in this comment thread, heat is absolutely a problem for these cameras if you can’t keep them cool. The only thing I can suggest to eliminate all other possibilities before going back to GoPro is: 1) make sure you have a card with transfer speeds sufficient to handle the camera’s bitrate. If you’re sure you do, try another one if you can. 2) try another battery. If you’ve already made sure the firmware is current and you’ve formatted the card in-camera, there’s really nothing else you can do that I’m aware of. If you do all these things it will prepare you to deal with GoPro because you’ll be able to tell them with confidence that you’ve tried everything and the camera is still exhibiting issues that prevent you from using it.

      Hope that helps, please come back and let us know how it turns out.

  • I got my husband a go pro for Christmas…don’t know for sure which one it is….he just tried to use it today…it is fully charged but he turns it on then in about 35 seconds the screen shuts off….the timer is still going but no picture….any ideas??

    • Hi Rhonda,

      I can only assume it’s a Hero 5 based on the screen reference… The touch screen is set up to turn off automatically after 1 minute unless you go into the “screensaver” settings and change it to 2, 3 minutes or “never”…

      Hope that helps!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *