Can You Use GoPro Without SD Card?

Since most GoPro cameras don’t have built-in memory, you can’t use a GoPro without an SD card. Therefore, you’ll need to purchase an SD card to record videos and take photos with your GoPro camera.

Hi, thanks for coming by! My name is Larry, and I’m a video creator who’s been using GoPro cameras for 9 years. 

I know all the ins and outs of GoPro cameras and will explain if you can use GoPro without an SD card in today’s guide.

Keep reading to learn more!

Do You Need an SD Card for GoPro?

Yes, you need an SD card to use your GoPro camera. 

Only the GoPro Standard Definition HERO cameras have built-in memory. However, they only have 16 MB of built-in memory. This is enough for 25 photos or one short video. Therefore, you undoubtedly need an SD card for your GoPro. 

Some cameras allow you to shoot without an SD card because they have built-in memory. Unfortunately, the GoPro does not have built-in memory recording capabilities.

Without an SD card, there’s no place for the GoPro to put the data. One of the sacrifices made to keep the GoPro camera small is the exclusion of built-in memory.

Even when pairing the GoPro with a smartphone and the GoPro app, the camera needs to record to the SD before transferring the files to your phone.

If you have an SD card, but it’s full, you can transfer the files to your computer or smartphone, then delete them from the SD card to free up space and continue recording.

When you buy a GoPro, you need to buy a micro SD card too. Don’t just settle on the cheapest one you find, however. Cards need to have a high read and write rate in order to work with the GoPro.

Before you buy, make sure the microSD card you are considering is on GoPro’s list of recommended cards, check here.

Do All GoPros Use the Same SD Card?

All GoPro’s don’t use the same SD cards. This is because older GoPros can only support smaller-sized SD cards, while newer GoPros can support up to 512 GB SD cards.

I recommend one of the following SD cards if you have a GoPro HERO10 Black, HERO9 Black, HERO8 Black, MAX, HERO7 Black, HERO6 Black, or HERO5 Black:

  • Sandisk Extreme, Extreme Plus, Extreme Pro: 32/64/128/256/512GB
  • Lexar Professional 1066x Silver Series: 64/128/256/512GB

These name-brand SD cards are tested and known to work well with GoPro cameras. 

Here are your SD card guidelines if you have an older GoPro camera:

  • HERO4 and HERO Session: Supports up to a 128GB microSD card
  • HERO3 Black, HERO3+, HERO+, and HERO+ LCD: Supports up to a 64GB microSD card
  • HERO (2014): Supports up to a 32GB microSD card
  • HD HERO2: Requires a Class 10 SD card up to 32 GB 
  • HD HERO Original & HD HERO 960: Requires a Class 4 SD card with up to 32 GB of storage space
  • Standard Definition HERO: Supports up to a 2GB standard SD card


If you’re still confused, here are a few questions and answers to help you understand how GoPro and SD cards work.

Does the GoPro come with SD Card?

GoPros don’t come with an SD card unless you purchase a bundle that states an SD card is included. For this reason, you may need to purchase an SD card separately if you want to buy a new GoPro camera. 

What kind of SIM card does GoPro need?

GoPros don’t use the SIM card found in mobile phones. Instead, GoPros use a microSD card to store your videos and photos. MicroSD cards act as storage units or memory cards. Without a microSD card, you won’t be able to use your GoPro.

Does GoPro use SD Card?

Not technically. This is because GoPro cameras actually use a microSD card. This is a smaller version of a standard SD card. Since GoPro cameras are so small, you need to use a microSD card instead of a normal SD card.

Closing Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed my guide explaining if you can use a GoPro without an SD card. At this point, you should understand that you can’t.

You’ll need to purchase and install a compatible microSD card to record videos and take pictures with your GoPro.

Now I want to hear from you! Did you find all the answers you needed in this guide? Do you have any further questions about GoPro cameras or SD cards?

Let me know by dropping a quick comment right below!

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  • Larry Li

    Hi Richard! Thanks for your reply.

    I hope you are enjoying your new GoPro HERO9 Black! Although you don’t need a microSD card to live stream on your GoPro, you will need one to save the footage onto your camera. You also won’t be able to take regular videos and photos without an SD card so I highly recommend getting one since they are very inexpensive. But to answer your question, you don’t need a microSD card to live stream baseball games from the GoPro Quik mobile app.

  • Richard

    We got the Gopro hero 9 black, our first time owning a Gopro but we got it to run livestream baseball events. My question is will I need a get a micro SD card to Livestream these baseball games?
    Thank you