As compact and as easy to carry as most of today’s consumer drones are, it is quite easy to lose these drones or for someone to steal them. That’s because anyone can break into your home or your car to steal your drone, or even steal it from a backpack when you’re out and about. Or, in some cases, you might end up losing your drone when it crashed or when you made a mistake while flying it and someone took it when it landed far away from you. So, in such cases, can DJI track your stolen or lost drone?
There is no way for DJI to track your drone through its serial number or last known flight whereabouts or location. That means that DJI can’t do anything about your lost or stolen drone and that it is entirely up to you to find a way to recover your drone through other means.
While it might be a bummer that DJI cannot help you with a lost drone, don’t be too bummed out, because there are other very effective means that you can use to search for your stolen or lost drone. All you need to do is to be creative and persistent, and you may very well be able to recover your drone.
Can DJI track my stolen drone?
There is no arguing against the fact that DJI is the world’s leader in the drone market, as it controls more than three-quarters of the overall market share for drones. People are continuing to flock to DJI to buy drones, and no other manufacturer in the industry is as close to the quality and overall performance that DJI drones come with.
But, as good as DJI drones may be, that doesn’t mean that they are not immune to getting lost or stolen. More DJI drones are stolen or lost precisely because of how most drone owners have DJI drones. And DJI drones can easily get stolen because of their value since a thief can pawn one for a good amount of money.
So, what happens if you lose your DJI drone or if someone steals it? Let’s say you were flying your drone and it crashed somewhere out of your line of sight but, when you got there it had disappeared because someone had already taken it. Or another example could be that you left your drone in your car for a short while but someone forced your car open to steal your drone along with other belongings. In such cases, can DJI help you track and recover your lost or stolen drone?
Sadly, no. For reasons that we do not know, but maybe in large part due to the sheer volume of drones that DJI sells regularly, they have no means to track down a stolen drone through its serial number or even through its last known whereabouts or flight locations. This essentially means that, once your drone gets stolen, DJI either won’t or can’t help you find it.
And this isn’t even a loss for them because, as the undisputed market leader in the industry, DJI will always have customers or consumers. It’s not that they don’t care but it’s just that they don’t have the current means or probably the time and manpower to bother looking for stolen or lost drones.
If DJI can’t help me, how can I get my drone back?
If DJI can’t help you recover your drone, is it the end of the line for you? Not quite. Even if DJI doesn’t have the means to track your drone if it is lost or was stolen, you still have other ways you can use to try to get your drone back. Here are some of the means that you may find useful:
1. If it has a tracker, use it
There are several very good, affordable drone trackers available on the market. They work by attaching the tracker or even the sim card to the drone so that you will be able to get the coordinates of the drone through your phone if it should be lost or stolen. There are even some drone trackers that come with their own cellular connection so that they can use specific map apps to pinpoint the location of the drone. However, not everyone has the foresight to install a drone tracker, and this leads us to our next tips.
2. Use the camera
If you lost the drone while flying it, there is a good chance that it is still turned on and that the camera is still working. In that case, you can simply use the drone’s camera and use its point of view to pinpoint the location of the drone or to tell who stole it. If you can’t tell where the location is, you can simply take a screenshot of the person who took your drone if ever he is looking at the drone’s camera and then give the photo to the authorities.
3. Keep your controller on
If your drone was just stolen moments ago and you have a reason to believe that the perpetrator has not gotten too far, just keep your controller on and try moving around the location where you believe the perpetrator went. When you do get close enough to the drone to establish a connection, you can use the telemetry numbers on the controller to tell if you are getting close to it.
4. Check online marketplaces or nearby pawnshops
If any of the abovementioned tips won’t work, then your best bet is to go to online marketplaces or nearby pawnshops. There is a good chance that the person who stole your drone lives in the same locality. That means that he may try to sell the drone online in the same locality or pawn the drone in a pawnshop in nearby places. You can prove ownership based on the serial number of your drone.
5. Check to see if other items were stolen as well
The reason why we would want you to check if other items were stolen is that some items such as smartphones or tablets have tracking apps that are quite useful and intuitive. So, if such items were stolen such as an iPad (which comes with Find my iPhone), you can use the tracking app on those items to track your stolen drone as well, provided they are still together in the same location.
How to prevent another stolen drone situation?
As a preventive measure, how can you ensure that your drone doesn’t get stolen? Or, at the very least, how can you ensure that you can easily recover it if it does get stolen? Here are a few tips that we can give you:
- Always include your personal and contact info on the drone. Make sure that you use a permanent way to place your personal and contact info on the drone. While we are not expecting a thief to contact you through your personal info, we do expect that the pawnshop or the next owner would be honest enough to return it to you using your personal info.
- Use a GPS tracker like the one we mentioned previously. You can easily stick this on your drone so that, once it has been activated, you can use your smartphone app to track the drone down easily.
- If you keep your drone inside your car, keep it out of plain view so that no one will see it and be tempted to steal it.