Connecting a GoPro to a computer can prove confusing for both content creators and complete novices alike. The GoPro camera brand has made action footage far more accessible for everyone. The trouble is, trying to get their awesome content onto a computer can leave many users scratching their heads.

This page will run through the different methods that exist for connecting your GoPro camera to your computer. Your approach will vary depending on your preferred system, and whether you’re using an SD card or a USB cable. We explain it all below, don’t worry!

Key takeaways

  • There are 3 ways you can connect your GoPro to your computer and transfer files.
  • The steps are pretty much the same for Windows users and MAC users, just some minor differences.
  • If your MAC does not have a SD card reader, you will need a SD card adapter.
  • You can even use an USB cable if it is not giving you any trouble.
  • You can use the Quick software for older models of GoPro, but sometimes it can get complicated.

Connect GoPro To Computer: The SD Card Approach

The advantage of this method for getting the images from your GoPro to your computer is that it can be done without any special software. If you have a PC that can read a microSD card, then you’re already set. Alternatively, you can use an SD card reader to get your GoPro shots onto your computer.

The approach will vary slightly for both PC and Mac users. The main thing to remember is that you’re going to see two folders: “DCIM” and “MISC”. For our purposes, only “DCIM” matters.

The PC SD Card Method

The basic steps for the PC SD card method can be found below:

  1. Take the microSD card out of your GoPro and insert it into either an SD card reader or an SD card adapter.
  2. Once you’ve inserted your SD card into the computer, you need to navigate to the Windows File Explorer.
  3. Open the section of Windows File Explorer titled “This PC”. If you’re having trouble, it’s on the left-hand side of the window.
  4. This is where you’ll find your card and its files! Open the folder titled “DCIM” and copy as many photos and videos as you’d like.
Window of File explorer PC

The Mac Card Reader Method

Connecting an SD card reader to a Mac computer is just as simple as the process we described above; it just works a little differently.

If you’re using a pre-2016 Mac computer, try the following:

  1. Use your SD card reader as described above and insert it into your computer.
  2. You should now see an image of an SD card appear on your desktop.
  3. Open your card up and access the “DCIM” folder to copy your photos and videos!

Newer Macs don’t have built-in SD card readers. You’ll have to buy a special adapter to copy your photos and videos with this method. Once you’ve bought one, though, the steps to follow are exactly the same as outlined above.

Connect Your GoPro Via USB

Another way to connect your GoPro to your computer is to use your trusty USB cable. When using the USB cable approach, you can either download GoPro-specific software to your PC or use the built-in Windows File Explorer.

Software-Free Version

We prefer either this approach or the SD card option described above. Unless you prefer it for its auto-import feature, you don’t have to download the extra GoPro software to get the job done.

On A Windows Computer

To connect your GoPro to your Windows computer in this way:

  1. Make sure your cable is properly inserted into the USB port on both your GoPro and your computer.
  2. Wait for the Windows “Auto Launch” box to appear
  3. You can now choose to either open up to File Explorer to see your files or view your images in the “Photos” app
  4. After selecting your preferred choice, your computer will automatically perform your chosen action every time you connect your GoPro

It’s that simple!

USB Port Option – Mac

If you want to connect your Mac via USB, there are a few things to remember:

  • Modern Macs rely on USB type-C ports, so you may have to buy a special adapter depending on the model of Mac and GoPro you’re using
  • Your GoPro may not appear on your desktop when you plug it in
  • Third-party software may be needed to access your GoPro footage

How to Connect GoPro to Computer – Quick by GoPro

This option works best for older GoPro cameras. Post-Hero-7 models may work, but you’ll have better luck using either the SD card from your GoPro or a software-free approach.

Quik is a handy piece of software developed by GoPro to make importing and editing your GoPro shots a breeze. It can be downloaded here and is available for both Windows and Mac PCs.

When using Quick to import your GoPro camera footage, follow these steps:

  1. Either connect your camera with a USB or insert your SD card as described above
  2. Make sure your GoPro is switched on
  3. Let Quik automatically find and import your files!

Common Problems

While getting your PC and GoPro to talk to each other is a relatively simple process, there are some common issues that can make things tricky.

Computer Won’t Recognize GoPro

This is a common problem when relying on a USB connection. There are a few possible explanations for this:

  • Your PC’s drivers need to be updated
  • Your GoPro isn’t switched on when you’re trying to connect
  • Your USB cable is faulty
  • You didn’t notice a notification that your computer showed you
  • Your USB ports are dusty
  • Your GoPro is too old and is no longer supported

If these explanations don’t apply to you, your best bet will be to check out the company’s official support forums.

My SD Cards Aren’t Registering

The main cause of this problem is the lock switch on most SD cards. See the small switch in the top-left portion of this image? Make sure you haven’t accidentally locked your card. This changes the way data can be accessed from the unit. Use an unlocked card to access your files easily.


Last Word

We hope this article has cleared things up for you. Our favorite approach is to insert an SD card and manually explore files on our computer, as it helps us to avoid third-party software. Just remember that if you use a Mac, you’ll probably need a special SD card adapter.

Whichever option you use, we hope you have fun editing your files!

Ultimately, though, the choice is yours. Use the info on this page and choose an option that works for you!