How to Use a GoPro 8 (and Up) as a Webcam on Windows and Mac

Gopro Webcam Featured

Most laptops have poor webcams, and buying a good webcam for your desktop system can be expensive, but if you already own a GoPro 8 or up, you already have a great webcam at your disposal. This tutorial shows you how to set it up for use with your Windows or Mac machine.

Tip: learn how to test your webcam before you use it.

Requirements

Before you can use your GoPro as a webcam, make sure you meet the following requirements:

  • Windows 10 or later or macOS 10.14 or later installed
  • USB-C cable to connect the camera to your computer
  • GoPro Hero 8/9/10/11 Black camera
  • Microphone for audio, as currently this is not supported on the camera itself in webcam mode.

Optionally, you may want special mounting equipment to position your GoPro as needed. One major advantage of using a GoPro as a webcam is that you can use a variety of GoPro mounts and long USB-C cables to get various angles.

Setting Up the Webcam on Windows

  1. Before setting up your GoPro as a webcam in Windows, update the camera to its latest firmware. You can do this by connecting it to the GoPro Quik smartphone app for Android or iOS.
  2. Download the GoPro Webcam Desktop Utility and install it. This will only work for Windows 10 or 11. You’ll have to approve the installation of a virtual webcam device, then restart your computer at the end of the installation process.
  3. You should see a small GoPro icon in the notification area.
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  1. Power on your GoPro and connect it using a USB-C cable. This can be a USB-C to USB-C or USB-A to USB-C cable. A USB 3 or better port is required to provide enough power and data throughput for the camera.
  2. The GoPro should indicate on its screen that it’s in webcam mode.
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  1. You should now have the option to select “GoPro Camera” as a webcam in the most popular apps that work with webcams.
Gopro Webcam Zoom
  1. In the example above, we’re using it with Zoom.

Have a webcam that’s not working with Windows? We have a few fixes for you.

Setting Up the Webcam on macOS

  1. Before you set up your GoPro to work on your Mac, update it to the latest available firmware. You can do this using the GoPro Quik app for Android or iOS.
  2. Download the GoPro Webcam Desktop Utility for Mac and install it.
  3. You should see a small GoPro icon in the macOS Status Bar.
Gopro Webcam Macos
  1. Power on your GoPro and connect it to your Mac with a USB cable. A USB 3 port is recommended. You should now see it as an option in your video-calling apps.
Gopro Webcam Teams
  1. You can see it as an option in Microsoft Teams for macOS.

Adjusting the Picture

Whether you’re using Windows or Mac, you can use the desktop utility to change the “lens” of the GoPro camera. All this does is crop the full frame of the camera in different ways, with some correction for distortion caused by the wide-angle lens.

Click on the app icon in the Status bar (macOS) or notification area (Windows) and choose “Digital Lens” from the menu.

Gopro Webcam Lenses

Choose between several different framing options. Try them all to see what effect each has, then decide which is best for you.

Unfortunately, in webcam mode, you don’t get access to the various image settings when taking regular footage with your GoPro. You’ll also note that if you go to “GoPro Webcam App -> Preferences -> Resolution,” you only have the choice of 720p or 1080p. At the time of writing, there’s no 4K webcam support, despite the camera being a 4K device. In practice, this won’t matter to most users, and even at 720p, the GoPro will produce a better image than the built-in pinhole camera on your laptop.

Tips and Tricks

You can do several things to get the most out of your GoPro webcam experience, as outlined below.

  • Make sure your battery is fully charged. While a USB 3 port should provide enough power to prevent battery drain, some computers or USB hubs may not, and the battery will slowly drain. For long streaming sessions, this can be an issue.
  • GoPros love having enough light. If you ensure good lighting, you’ll see significantly better image quality and less visual noise.
  • Take advantage of GoPro’s mounting options and the versatility of longer USB cables. Try interesting or wider angles that show more of what you’re doing. Remember, since you’re not using the onboard GoPro microphone, it doesn’t matter how far away the camera is.

Don’t have a GoPro? It’s not a problem, as you can use your old iPhone as a webcam as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can the GoPro work as a webcam without the battery?

Yes. We’ve tested this without a battery in the device, and it works as long as the port supplies enough power to run the camera. When you use the camera this way, you can only power it on after connecting it to the computer. It does have the advantage of keeping the camera cool, since the battery gets quite hot in our experience.

Can I use the GoPro media mod for audio?

No. Whether you use the media mod or not, the GoPro webcam feature does not offer sound of any kind at present. You should use the built-in mic on your laptop or an external USB or headset microphone.

Can I change the GoPro's orientation?

Yes. In our testing, we could rotate our GoPro Hero 8 between landscape and portrait video while streaming by simply rotating the camera. This is a great feature if you want to stream or record footage for smartphone audiences on social media platforms that prefer vertical video.

Image credit: Unsplash. All screenshots by Sydney Butler.

Sydney Butler
Sydney Butler

Sydney Butler is a technology writer with a background in Psychology who has written for a wide variety of technology outlets including How-To-Geek, Online Tech Tips, Helpdesk Geek, 9to5Mac, 9to5Google, and many more. He has 25 years of technology troubleshooting experience as a technician and user-education practitioner.

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