Released in July 2023, the DJI Air 3 has quickly become a favorite drone amongst seasoned drone operators, content creators, and everyone in between.
One doesn’t have to go too far online (whether social media or YouTube) to see examples of the excellent pictures and videos the Air 3 has been capturing recently.
This article and the included YouTube video will discuss why an Air 3 owner may want to connect the Air 3 to a computer and will also serve as a step-by-step guide walking through connecting the DJI Air 3 to a Windows-based computer or a Mac.
To help, we’ve identified and reviewed the best drone courses for beginners and professionals.
Why Connect the Air 3 to a Computer?
Although many Air 3 owners may never have an immediate need to connect their Air 3 to a computer, there are two main reasons why someone would want to do so, these are:
- To transfer videos and/or photos to a computer
- To access the DJI Assistant 2 (Consumer Drones Series) software
DJI Assistant 2 Software (Consumer Drone Series)
As mentioned, although not an immediate need just yet, as the DJI Air 3 just released, there will be Air 3 owners who will need to connect the Air 3 to their computers to access features and utilities found within the DJI Assistant 2 (Consumer Drone Series) software.
The DJI Assistant 2 (Consumer Drone Series) software is used to:
- Calibrate the Air 3’s vision sensors.
- Access Air 3 flight data
- Update the Air 3 firmware.
- Roll-back firmware versions (when/if this option is available)
Once the Air 3 is connected to your Windows PC or Mac, you can use the DJI Assistant 2 (Consumer Drone Series) software to perform the aforementioned functions.
Note: If you currently have the DJI Assistant 2 software for a Mini 3, or Air 2S, these versions are not compatible with the Air 3. You will need to download and install the DJI Assistant 2 software from the Air 3 downloads page.
Shortly, we will be walking through connecting the Air 3 to a computer.
Transfer Photos and Videos
The dual-camera Air 3 is known to take excellent pictures and videos.
The cameras on the Air 3 (both the wide-angle 24mm and 70mm tele lens) take pictures in the exact same resolution, both taking 48MP photos.
Likewise, both cameras on the Air 3 shoot up to 4k 100fps. In addition, footage can also be shot in the D-Log M, 10-bit color profile, as well as a 10-bit HDR profile (HLG).
The question on many new Air 3 owners’ minds is “How do I access all of this content”?
SD Card Readers
A useful method for accessing the content (pictures and videos) on an Air 3’s external SD card is through the use of an SD card reader.
An SD card reader allows you to remove the SD card from the Air 3, insert the card into the reader, plug the reader into a computer, and then view and edit the information directly from within a directory on your computer.
For those who do a lot of photo and video editing, this way of accessing the information on the SD card is convenient.
You will not have to find a spot in your work area to house the Air 3 and then plug it into the computer via USB-C cable.
USB 3.0 Memory Card Reader Adapter – Supports SD/Micro SD/MMC/SDXC/SDHC/Micro SDHC Compatible with MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, Galaxy S21, S22
Directly Connecting to a Computer (PC or Mac)
Although there are alternative ways to access photos and videos from the Air 3 as mentioned, it still might be necessary to directly connect the Air 3 to a computer, such as when pictures and videos have been stored directly to the internal 8.6 GB storage found onboard the Air 3.
To connect your Air 3 to a PC or Mac:
You’ll need the USB to USB-C cable that is included with the Air 3. Thankfully, this time around, DJI has USB-C cables included in all of the Air 3 combos, including the Air 3 and RC-N2 only combo.
Step 1: Connect the Air 3 USB to USB-C cable to your PC or Mac. You’ll want to plug the USB side into an empty USB slot on your computer.
Step 2: While the Air 3 is off, plug the USB-C end into the Air 3.
If connecting the Air 3 to a computer to access pictures and video:
Step 3: Unlike previous DJI drones, there is no need to power on the Air 3, as when it connects to the computer via USB-C, the internals are accessible.
Your computer, whether Windows PC or Mac, should recognize the Air 3 storage.
If using a Mac, the Air 3’s internal drive will create a shortcut on the desktop, which you will be able to double-click and access through Mac Finder.
If you have an SD card in the Air 3, this will also be created as a shortcut on the desktop.
If using a Windows PC, you will have to access the data on the Air 3’s SD card or the Air 3’s internal storage and SD card through either Windows or File Explorer, depending on which version of Windows you are running.
If connecting the Air 3 to a computer to work with the DJI Assistant 2 (Consumer Drone Series) software:
After following the aforementioned Steps 1 & 2
Step 3: Launch the DJI Assistant 2 software
Step 4: Unfold the Air 3’s arms and legs. Remove the gimbal cover and then turn on the Air 3 by pressing the power button once, and then holding the power button.
Your computer, whether Windows PC or Mac, should recognize the Air 3 storage as well.
Step 5: The DJI Assistant 2 software will then transition to a screen that shows your Air 3. Simply choose it and then you will be able to update firmware, as well as other options and utilities.
Connecting the DJI RC2 (or RC-N2) Remote Controller to a computer
Like with the Air 3, it may become necessary to connect the DJI RC2 or RC-N2 remote controller to your PC or Mac to work with the firmware in the DJI Assistant 2 software.
- Step 1: Connect the Air 3’s USB to USB-C cable to your PC or Mac by plugging the USB side into an empty USB slot on your computer or USB hub.
- Step 2: While the remote controller is off, plug the USB-C end into the RC.
- Step 3: Open the DJI Assistant 2 software.
- Step 4: Log in to the DJI Software using your DJI account credentials.
- Step 5: Turn on the RC by single pressing the power button once, then press and hold the power again until the RC beeps and turns on.
The DJI Assitant software will then see the remote controller and switch over to the connected devices screen.
- Step 6: Choose the remote controller model that you are using and you will be brought to the Firmware Update screen.