GoPro action cameras have earned a reputation for being rugged and capable of surviving all kinds of jaw-dropping stunts. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about the video and picture files they produce, which can easily become inaccessible due to user errors, corruption, or SD card damage, just to give a few examples.
GoPro Recovery Tips
Before we explain how to recover deleted GoPro files, we want to give you a few essential tips that are guaranteed to have a positive impact on the recovery process:
- ⛔ Stop using your GoPro: If you’ve accidentally deleted an important video or photo while using your GoPro camera, we highly recommend you stop using the device and the internal SD card as soon as possible to avoid overwriting the deleted files. Overwritten files can’t be recovered even with the most capable GoPro recovery software for Mac or Windows.
- 📷 Remove your SD card: In fact, you should remove the SD card and store it someplace safe until you’re ready to begin the recovery process. All modern GoPro action cameras (including Hero 3/4/5/6/7/8//9) don’t have internal memory, so you won’t be able to record any footage unless you have another SD card available.
- ✋ Don’t format the SD card: Formatting your GoPro SD card won’t help you restore any lost files that were stored on it. If, upon inserting the SD card into your computer, you see a message telling you to format it, make sure to decline. While not as bad as overwriting the lost files, formatting would only make the recovery process more difficult.
What to Do in Case of GoPro SD Card Error?
Many GoPro users have personal experience with the following two error messages:
- SD ERR (sometimes SD ERROR)
- NO SD
Both of these error messages can appear on the LCD screen of your GoPro when the device can’t properly communicate with the SD card.
Here’s what you should do to fix the issue:
- Check if the SD card is properly inserted in your GoPro.
- Verify that the SD card is working by connecting it to your computer.
- Format the SD card from your GoPro by going to the Settings menu and selecting the trash can icon to Delete All/Format your SD card. Keep in mind that all files stored on it will be erased, so back them up first.
If you still see the error message, then it’s likely that your SD card is toast. In that case, you should get a new one and ensure that it’s fully compatible. The problem could also be caused by the GoPro camera itself, but that’s something no DIY solution can help you with.
How to Recover GoPro Files?
To recover GoPro files, you need to download and install a suitable GoPro recovery software. We have great experience with Disk Drill Data Recovery, which is why we’re using it for the purposes of this article. Disk Drill runs on both Windows and Mac, and you can download it free of charge from its official website.
That said, there are other GoPro recovery software tools that can do a similarly good job, including PhotoRec and Recuva. If you decide to use an alternative GoPro recovery software tool, you need to figure out how to use it on your own or find an online guide that explains how it works because it would be beyond the scope of this article to provide step-by-step guides for multiple tools.
- Download, install and open Disk Drill.
- Connect your GoPro SD card to your computer.
- Select the card and click “Search for Lost Data” to scan it.
- Preview & select your files and click “Recover”.
- Choose a safe recovery destination and hit “Confirm”.
Step 1. Download and Install Disk Drill
Step 2. Scan Your GoPro SD Card
Step 3. Recover Your GoPro Files
Main Causes of GoPro Data Loss
Here’s a list of the main causes of GoPro data loss:
- User error
- File system corruption
- Pulling the card out while it is in use
- Use an unreliable memory card reader to transfer your files
- Recording with a drained battery
- Switching off the camera while it’s recording
- Poor connecting between the camera and the SD card
- Physical damage
- By keeping these causes in mind, you should find it easier to avoid them and keep your GoPro data safe.
To recover corrupt GoPro files, you should first use CHKDSK in Windows or First Aid in macOS to fix all file system errors. You can then use GoPro recovery software to get back any lost data.
There are many great GoPro recovery software applications for Windows and Mac, but we always recommend Disk Drill because it offers both excellent usability and best-in-class data recovery performance.
A formatted GoPro SD card can be recovered just like an SD card that has been emptied manually: using GoPro recovery software.
Most GoPro users have personal experience with data loss, but not many know how to recover deleted GoPro videos and photos using GoPro recovery software. With the instructions provided in this article, anyone can avoid losing important footage without needing any special technical skills.