How to Edit GoPro Hero 3 Video on an Ipad Mini with iMovie

Step 1: Perform the HERO3 Product Update with this How-To Video

My suggestion is to watch the video a couple times to understand the steps involved. I went with the manual update route which requires the battery to be removed to find the serial number and for the files to be manually installed onto the Micro SDHC card. I chose this route as I’ve had Java disabled on my computer for a number of months now due to known exploits.

Step 2: Format your GoPro Micro SDHC card

In order for you to be able to upload and edit your Hero3 videos on the iPad Mini, the Micro SDHC card needs to be formatted as MS-DOS(FAT) and not exFat. exFat is the native formatting of the GoPro Hero3, so if you allow your Hero3 to format the Micro SDHC card, you will not be able to upload your GoPro videos onto your iPad Mini. Important note: I initially formatted the Micro SDHC card as MS-DOS(FAT) prior to the update using my Macbook Pro, and when I turned on the Hero3 I was greeted with a SD Error message. After the Hero 3 firmware update in step 1 was complete I reformatted the card as MS-DOS(FAT) and the Hero 3 recognized the Micro SDHC card without problems. It’s also important to realize that the maximum file size of FAT is 4GB, on a 16GB Micro SDHC card that represents about half hour of video footage at 720p 60fps.

Step 3: Upload GoPro Hero3 Video to the iPad Mini

There are two ways you can upload you Hero 3 videos to your iPad Mini. 1: Buy the Apple Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader (I haven’t actually tried this as I don’t have the Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader, but as long as you have a Micro SDHC to SD Card Adapter which are usually provided with Micro SDHC cards, it shouldn’t be a problem). 2. Buy Lightning to USB camera adapter and place your Hero 3 Micro SDHC card inside the SD Card Adapter and then inside a camera that doesn’t automatically want to charge when it is plugged into a USB port (some cameras allow for this feature to be turned off and some don’t). Important Note: I initially thought that I would be able to use a USB SD Card Reader with the Lightning to USB Camera Adapter but I tried two and they both gave the error that they required too much power. This was also the problem associated with plugging the Hero 3 directly into the Lightning to USB Camera Adapter with the USB Camera Cord supplied with the GoPro Hero 3, as the Hero 3 wants to charge when it is plugged into a USB port and that obviously draws too much power for the iPad Mini’s liking.
In my case I am able to use my Olympus Pen-ePL2. When I want to upload Hero 3 videos to the iPad Mini I remove the Micro SDHC card in the Hero 3, insert it into a Micro SD to SD Card Adapter, and place the SD card into the SD slot of the Pen e-Pl2.

Step 4: Edit GoPro Hero3 videos on the iPad Mini with iMovie

The hard part is getting the GoPro Hero 3 videos onto the iPad Mini, once you can do that using the steps above, editing video on the iPad Mini with iMovie is limited to what iMovie has to offer. iMovie on the iPad Mini is obviously a less robust app compared to the version available for Macbook Pros, but it has a number of useful features for quickly editing GoPro video on your iPad Mini. Here is a list of iMovie for iPad Mini tutorials on Youtube.

Another Note: I purchased a Samsung Micro SDHC card off Amazon which came with a Micro SDHC to SD Card Adapter. When I initially plugged the SD Card Adapter into my Macbook Pro, the Macbook Pro did not recognize it. After searching online I found information that it could be related to the metal contacts on the SD Card Adapter not lining up to the contacts inside the Macbook Pro, with the solution being to insert the card a few millimetres less than all the way. This did not work for me. I tried a number of times without any success. My solution was to try with a different Micro SDHC to SD Card Adapter, a Polaroid SD Card Adapter that was provided with my Polaroid Micro SDHC card, this worked. After inserting the Samsung Micro SDHC card into the Polaroid SD Card adapter, my Macbook Pro recognized the card immediately.

Cheers, Dave

I’ve included the links below to the Apple Lightning to USB Camera Adapter and the Apple Lightning To Sd Card Camera Reader so that you can upload your GoPro video to your iPad With Retina Display or iPad Mini. You could also use these Apple adapters to import photos and videos from your digital camera to edit them in iMovie or your preferred Apple iOS photo editing app.

4 comments… add one
  • mark Apr 18, 2013 @ 3:24

    One question does this work with the new update and also did you format again using Mac because once I did the update then formatted the card in Mac got sd error please advise would really like this to work with my ipad

    • Dave Apr 29, 2013 @ 6:31

      According to GoPro’s website, the latest HERO3 White Edition firmware (version HD3.01.00.71) which Enables GoPro App support was realeased 11/16/2012. So yes, this works with the latest update.

      Yes, I initially formatted as Fat (Fat32) on my Macbook Pro, which gave me the card read error in the Hero3. So I formatted as exFat to do the firmware update. After the firmware update was complete, I again reformatted the card with Fat (Fat32) on my Macbook Pro, and everything worked as it should. I was able to record video on the Hero3, and I was also able to transfer that video to the iPad for viewing and editing.


  • Jan May 4, 2013 @ 23:09

    Thanks for posting this!

    • Dave May 7, 2013 @ 9:48

      You’re welcome 🙂

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