Firmware update: GoPro HERO4 Black

If you own a GoPro action camera that hasn’t been used in a few years, then it’s possible you need to update the firmware.

How can you tell whether the firmware on your camera is up-to-date? Well, if you followed the recommendation in my last blog post to pair your camera with the GoPro “Quik” app, then the software will remind you every time you “Control Your GoPro” until you update the firmware.

Screen capture from “Quik” running on my Apple iPad mini 6.

The simplest way to find the current firmware version of my HERO4 Black is to look closely at the tiny LCD on the front of the camera body when I press the “Power/Mode Button” (front) to turn on the camera. The LCD isn’t backlighted so you need to be working with the camera in a well-lighted area. Watch closely — the version number is displayed briefly at the bottom of the screen during the startup sequence.

My HERO4 Black was running firmware v03.00 before I updated to v05.00. The new version enables “Karma” compatibility and adds “Linear FOV.” Hey GoPro — how’s that Karma thing working out for you? Seems like it might be bad karma to name a commercial product “Karma.” I’m just saying. But I digress. I don’t own a GoPro Karma drone but I will want to use “Linear FOV” when my HERO4 Black is used as a Webcam, so I decided to update the firmware.

How to update your HERO4

How to update your HERO4, a reference document from GoPro Customer Support, says there are three ways to update your HERO4.

  1. Using the GoPro app [now named “Quik“]
  2. Manually
  3. Quik for desktop [According to GoPro, “Quik for desktop is no longer under development.“]

In fact there are only two ways to update the firmware. I chose option No. 2 because I am used to manually updating the firmware for my Fujifilm digital cameras using a similar process.

Manual update

Visit the Update your GoPro support page where you will provide the 14-digit serial number and register your camera. The serial number is located inside the battery compartment of the camera. You will need to remove the battery in order to see the serial number — it is shown in two rows with seven-digits in each row. Enter all 14 digits, no spaces. Then click the button labeled “Next Step >”.

Download the firmware update to your computer and unzip the UPDATE.ZIP file by double-clicking on it. You should see a new folder called “UPDATE” that contains three files.

I strongly recommend reformating the microSD card in your GoPro before proceeding with the firmware update, although GoPro doesn’t specifically say this step is necessary.

Insert the microSD card in your computer (using the SD card adapter that came with the memory card). Next, drag-and-drop the entire “UPDATE” folder onto the icon for the microSD card on your computer. After the folder is copied from your computer to the microSD card, eject the memory card.

Be sure your GoPro is powered-off before you insert the microSD card in the camera! Insert the memory card and power-on the camera. Then relax and watch the small LCD screen on the front of the camera until you see a notification that tells you the firmware was updated successfully. Resist the urge to press any buttons during the update process — that probably ends badly!

After you are 100% certain the update is complete, I recommend you reformat the microSD card in order to avoid some strange behavior that I experienced the next time I powered-on the camera. The LCD showed HERO4, otherwise my camera just sat there. No buttons worked. It’s as though the GoPro were trying to update the firmware again. Weird!

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Copyright © 2022 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.


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