The new GoPro Hero 12 received some improved battery life over the Hero 11. But a couple of big energy zappers remain. And the biggest issue: it’s losing charge overnight.
This is due to a number of features running in the background, some of which are completely unnecessary for most. So, here are a bunch of fixes to extend the battery life of your GoPro:
1. Remove battery for storage
The most effective battery-saving technique is to simply remove it from the camera when not in use. Revolutionary, I know. This is to prevent an annoying issue with the GoPro 11 and 12:
They constantly drain the battery inside. So when putting it away for extended periods of time or even just overnight, store the battery and the housing separately. Batteries stored inside the camera will deplete much faster than ones stored by themselves.
Never get surprised again when you’re ready to record but your camera isn’t. It’s annoying but there’s no way around it if you don’t want or are able to charge it every morning.
2. Screen Brightness
It’s not rocket science: Screens require a vast amount of power in most tech devices. Screen brightness is a big factor in that. And on a GoPro, 100% isn’t even necessary. 50% is sufficient even for bright days.
The lower you can get it, the better. I usually run about 35% which is still plenty.
I hardly look at the screen anyways, only to change settings or quickly check the playback if everything looks as intended. The best would be to turn the screens off completely when not needed.
There are two settings that help with exactly that!
3. QuikCapture: On
This is one of my favorite features as it helps with so many issues: battery saving, instant recording and always knowing if you’re recording or not.
Quick capture lets you turn on and start recording with a single press of the record button. And stopping to record turns the camera off immediately as well. So no more idling and wasting energy!
As a bonus, you’re never held back by waiting for the camera to record. One-press-record is extremely helpful for capturing snapshot moments.
It also helps to know if the camera is recording or not. It’s either on and recording, or off and not recording.
4. Auto screen off
The next step is to also turn the screen off while recording – something it doesn’t to by itself. Sadly, there is no option for instant screen-off when recording (like with the Osmo Action 4).
The next best thing is to let it turn off as soon as possible – after 30 seconds (or less if they update the firmware in the future). Especially when recording on a mountain bike or any other activity, where looking at the viewfinder (screen) isn’t possible anyways.
5. Front screen options: Status or off
There is even an option to turn off one of the screens at all times. The front screen can either mirror the back screen, show status information only or be turned off completely.
When mounted, you won’t be looking at the front screen to see what it’s recording. This is more of a vlogging-type scenario. So, to save some battery, switch the front screen off altogether or just show the basic status to get a quick update at a glance.
6. Reduce Resolution
The heavily marketed resolution of 5.3K is 91% more pixels than 4K, but not even very useful when watching on 4K monitors. It does look crisper and sharper, but at a high price in storage space and battery life.
4K is plenty for most of us and offers significantly longer recording times over 5.3K
7. Reduce Framerate
Similar story with Framerates. 240 FPS is a big, impressive number, but not practical at all for regular use. Even 60 FPS isn’t recommended as it’s twice the images compared to 30 FPS, and looks arguably worse.
In short: more frames per second (fps) mean more intensive operation and more battery consumption.
8. Reduce Stabilization to regular Hypersmooth
The electronic image stabilization in these new GoPros is mad impressive! Now with Hypersmooth 6.0 it’s gotten even more buttery smooth. AutoBoost can even adjust on the fly and apply the appropriate amount of stabilization.
But is it all even necessary? After all, a lot of processing power goes into making this magic possible. Maybe regular Hypersmooth is good enough for what you’re doing. It certainly is for me.
You can even turn it off completely and stabilize the footage later when editing using the gyro data and the GoPro app like many of the FPV drone pilots do.
9. Hindsight Off
One of the background energy-drains is the helpful, but hardly applicable Hindsight feature. It basically allows you to record a clip before the record button is even pressed.
The camera does that by constantly capturing video in the background and saving the last couple of seconds only when record is pressed. Great to not miss a snapshot moment, but those situations happen so rarely. But the battery drain is a guarantee.
(The option for Hindsight is found in the video setting menu)
10. Turn Off Voice Commands
Unless you regularly use these, turn them off to save battery. Otherwise, the camera is always on “alert” and listening if commands are ushered. Similar to Hindsight, only less energy intensive.
11. Turn Off Wireless Connection
Manual GoPro cloud upload is still available when turned off but the camera isn’t hunting for WLAN connections constantly.
Connecting to the Quik app is also still possible. But just automatic cloud uploads aren’t. Since this cloud upload feature is of relatively little use due to the slow speeds (especially if you have an external hard drive to back up your videos, highly recommended), you aren’t missing much.
12. Keep Battery Temperature in Check
Extreme temperatures are a major drain on battery life and also their maximum capacity over their lifetime. You’ll notice heat and freezing temps reduce battery life considerably.
One way to mitigate this is to store the battery in a regulated place (pockets, backpack) and insert them just before recording.
This will help keep your batteries warm in winter and cool on hot summer days.
If the camera is outside in freezing temperatures, keep the battery inside your jacket to heat up with body heat and only insert it right before use.
The new Enduro batteries can handle the cold, but this technique will extend their life even more.