Crashing your new drone right from the start is not funny. At least, it wasn’t for me.
Drone simulators help you improve your ability to control your drone while having lots of fun. And without destroying it during the learning process.
Macs are powerful machines but running high-end simulators is a task for laptops or PCs with dedicated graphic cards. Some options allow your Mac to run them smoothly without crashing every 3 seconds.
The best drone simulators for Mac include DRL Drone Simulator, Liftoff, and VelociDrone.
We want you to fly your drone with minimal risk. So here are the five best Mac simulators to learn, practice, and enjoy an excellent virtual drone flight.
|DRL Drone Simulator||Minimum macOS: Catalina|
Minimum Processor: 3.7GHz
Minimum RAM: 8GB
Minimum Storage: 16GB
Minimum Graphics: 2x2048MB VRAM
|Liftoff FVP Drone Racing||Minimum macOS: OS X 10.9|
Minimum Processor: Intel Core i5 2.5GHz
Minimum RAM: 4GB
Minimum Storage: 15GB
Minimum Graphics: 1GB VRAM
|VelociDrone FVP Racing Simulator||Minimum macOS: OS X 10.9|
Minimum Processor: Intel Core i3 1.7GHz
Minimum RAM: 4GB
Minimum Storage: 18GB
Minimum Graphics: Intel HD530
|FVP Freerider||Minimum macOS: OS X 10.9|
Minimum Processor: Intel Core i3 1.6GHz
Minimum RAM: 2GB
Minimum Storage: 1GB
Minimum Graphics: 1GB VRAM
|Zephyr Drone Simulator||Minimum macOS: High Sierra 10.13|
Minimum Processor: Intel Core i5 3.4GHz
Minimum RAM: 4GB
Minimum Storage: 8B
Minimum Graphics: Direct X
1. DRL Drone Simulator
The DRL Simulator is the best drone simulator for people who are taking seriously the challenge of how to pilot a drone like a pro.
It is not the easiest to start for beginners as it uses advanced aerodynamic modeling for the game’s physics. It accurately represents how to fly a drone, initially having to push your drone control skills.
The good side is that when you master the DRL, you can fly a real drone with total confidence.
To encourage you, DRL helps you in the learning process with complete tutorials. They guide you by hand from easy to complex tasks to aid your ability to improve quickly.
You can start with the beginner mode, which pushes you step by step into more complicated and less assisted maneuvers.
The real deal starts when you pass the introductory modules. You will feel at an intermediate level while still in beginner mode. Every module will push you to the limit of your ability in order to pass it.
This simulator is tricky, but for a reason.
They want you to become a pro drone pilot who races with the best. They will offer you a contract to participate in DRL contests in the US if you are good enough in the simulator.
2. Liftoff FPV Drone Racing
For those who want a more easy-to-learn experience than the harsh DRL, Liftoff FPV Drone Racing is your best choice.
You still need to practice consistently to be good at it, but the game physics makes it easy for beginners and intermediates.
Compared to DRL, you won’t feel you are controlling a real drone. You will feel like you are playing a game with good graphics.
This is a complete simulator, which is particularly good for starting and improving at a medium pace. You will be able to fly the simulated drone in no time, giving you enough confidence to try your real drone little by little.
One of its more outstanding features is the drone configuration and exceptional tracks.
You can make a drone from scratch. Only add the desired features, and it’s ready to fly. You can even pick some of the models that other users have designed.
Then you can fly in any environment, as they have a ton built-in. It can be in the Alps or a Volcano, you choose.
The most remarkable thing about Liftoff is that it has an immense community for multiplayer. Here is where you can be challenged and improve faster.
3. VelociDrone FPV Racing Simulator
The VelociDrone FPV Racing Simulator is for older Mac users that want to fly drones like pros.
Its most vital point is how close to flying a real drone this simulator is. The physics of this game will give you a hard time if you are a newbie. As with the DRL, you can quickly fly a drone once you master it.
Another cool feature is that it simulates real racing drones. You can select between an impressive amount of racing drones, allowing you to get comfortable with the one that suits your current skills.
It doesn’t shine for its graphics compared with the other simulators on the list.
However, the scenarios are customizable with gates and barriers to help you feel you are on a real racing track. You can design these scenarios to practice as your skills improve.
4. FPV Freerider
Putting aside drone racing, the FPV Freerider is all about freestyle.
You get the vibe as if you were flying your drone in the backyard or park. You don’t have to race with others or complete specific tasks.
The idea of this simulator is to give you total freedom to practice moves and maneuvers to perfect your drone control. It works for beginners and more advanced pilots, as you can configure the game’s physics.
The stabilized mode helps you until you get used to faster movements, while the freestyle mode will test your skills and let you know how good a pilot you are.
5. Zephyr Drone Simulator
There are some of you with a strong interest in the commercial flying side of drones. For those of you that want to practice in more professional environments, the Zephyr Drone Simulator is the best bet.
It also aims at organizations that need to train their drone operators and evaluate them according to aviation standards.
Zephyr is an educational tool where you will practice your piloting skills with actual FAA rules.
This simulator helps you master technical flight while passing the virtual flying modules. It tracks your proficiency and progress on its website, making it perfect for presenting as experience for a job as a drone pilot.
You can practice with commercial drones like the DJI Phantom 3, Syma X5C, and 3DR Solo. The simulated drone is highly accurate. Once you have a good confidence level in the simulation, the actual drone flight will behave the same.
This simulator is available in beginner, hobbyist, and professional memberships, and you only pay once.
The beginner membership is a free trial to understand the dynamics of the simulator. If you want to have effective training, you must purchase the hobbyist or professional packages.
In addition, you can purchase specific training scenarios like the NIST Open Lane Test, a training program needed to get a job as a drone operator.
It is tricky to understand which one you should get. But it’s something you can solve by asking their customer support.
Will a Mac M1 run any of these simulators?
A Mac M1 will run any of these simulators smoothly, easily covering the minimum requirements that you find in the table above.