When it comes to drone flight apps, the user experience to operate them safely and efficiently is imperative. In the quest for perfection and in the course of identifying new problems to address, the DJI Fly app continues to receive regular updates to remedy common issues.
Some common issues with the DJI Fly app include problems updating or installing on some mobile devices, disconnections between remote and drone, and the lack of expected features or user settings.
Various other issues you may experience may also depend on the specific drone you are using with the DJI Fly app. Here’s a quick list of compatible drones:
- DJI Mavic 3
- DJI Air 2 and 2S
- DJI Mini 2 and SE
Since DJI provides similar functionality for their drones on multiple devices and even in their other fly apps like DJI GO and GO 4, you need to understand compatibility and the different features of each app to begin resolving issues.
Problems updating or installing the DJI Fly App
You will also need to check which mobile device and operating systems are compatible. Not all updates affect the various operating systems, so it’s always good to check the latest information directly from DJI.
You can find compatibility lists in the DJI Download Center for the DJI Fly app here.
Understanding what updates are available for the DJI Fly app may only be part of the issue you are experiencing or available fix. Each of the drones listed above may also receive firmware updates that correspond to software updates for the app.
Firmware updates typically fix bugs and issues with the drone but may also include the addition of new features. Adjustments to the gimbal, camera, or remote control can all come through firmware updates.
Updating firmware might sound incredibly daunting, but following these easy steps will help you complete this task:
- Ensure the battery for your drone is sufficiently charged (over 50%)
- Power up your drone and remote controller (including the DJI Fly app on your mobile device)
- Make sure the drone and remote are connected/linked
- Ensure your mobile device has WiFi connectivity
- The DJI Fly app should automatically check for the latest firmware version.
- If a new version is available, a prompt will appear to “Start Update.”
Do not shut down the drone or exit the app during this update. The update is complete when the aircraft restarts automatically. The DJI Fly app should now display that you are up to date and ready to fly.
Another way to update the firmware is through the DJI Assistant tool, by connecting the drone and remote controller to your computer with a USB cable.
This tool is available from the DJI website and can assist with troubleshooting and updates. It has other tools to help ensure your equipment is operating and performing as expected.
- Once your drone and controller are connected to your computer separately, open the DJI Assistant app and log into your account.
- Select the connected device(s) and in the left-side menu, click “Firmware Update” to find the latest version.
- Click “Upgrade” to begin the process.
Software updates are focused on the interfaces used to operate the drone and cameras. These updates specifically fix issues or introduce features to the DJI Fly app and will correspond with firmware updates most of the time.
Out of the box, the DJI Fly app will automatically update when new versions are available. The app will display a message when needed or completed.
For advanced users, this is a setting that can be disabled. The recommendation from DJI is to leave it on.
There are cases where local laws and compliance state that your firmware and software must be up to date before each flight.
Not only do software updates fix issues or add new features, but they also impact compliance with drone laws.
These features may be vastly different between countries or localities. These updates include DJI Geofencing areas, which may restrict even taking off in certain areas due to controlled airspace proximity.
DJI always recommends updating your software and firmware in tandem to ensure all new features and fixes are in sync. Updates sometimes include changes that affect communication across the controller, app, and drone.
Disconnection between remote controller and drone
One of the most common issues drone pilots experience is a loss of connection between the remote controller and the drone, which results in the DJI Fly app appearing to freeze.
The camera view may appear grayed out, and the navigation windows stop updating, but you can still control the drone and bring it back manually.
Aside from software and firmware, common causes of disconnects can be related to flight variables, defective equipment, or weather and environmental conditions.
If this happens, the first step is to land the drone manually and restart the controller and drone before flying again.
Once back on the ground, this is an ideal time to go into your settings on the DJI Fly app and make sure that your firmware and software are up to date.
Once the drone and controller are connected, the software should go through its initial checks to verify the most current version updates.
Even though the latest OcuSync technology introduced in 2018 is vastly better than the previous WiFi connectivity used to transmit between the controller and drone, there are still some limitations.
Maintaining a visual line of sight on your drone can help you recover from serious issues encountered during flight.
Having full awareness of where your drone is in the air, you can effectively bring it back to the ground and address the problem by manually flying home or landing in a safe location.
If you lost sight of your drone and have difficulty navigating back, DJI has programmed a safety protocol to continue hovering until the battery is at a critical threshold, at which point it will return home. The drone should come back to its initial launch point and land automatically.
For pilots in the United States, the FAA states that drones should not exceed altitudes of 400 feet above ground level without a waiver or specific authorization.
Even though today’s drones are capable of much higher altitudes, staying below the 400′ level will mitigate issues related to keeping an eye on the drone or interfering with manned-aircraft operations at higher altitudes.
Your cables are another common cause of disconnections and are sometimes easily overlooked. Check your cables connecting the controller to your mobile device running the DJI Fly app. When using your smartphone to run the DJI Fly app, there may be debris or lint in the USB port creating a weak connection.
Always use approved USB cables, ideally the cables supplied by DJI with your drone. Also, make sure cables are in good condition and free of defects, frays, or tears that may result in unstable connectivity.
Make sure the batteries for all the components are sufficiently charged. Your mobile device, controller, and drone batteries drain at different rates. Keep an eye on the battery level indicators.
Your mobile device will often be the source of most issues since it typically has many other apps and background services active, unrelated to your drone operation.
Weather and environmental conditions
Weather, specifically dense clouds that may become unstable, such as impending rain and storms looming, may interfere with your connection due to static electricity in the air.
Other sources of electromagnetic interference could be power lines and large metal structures such as bridges or buildings.
By ensuring compliance with FAA guidelines, you can limit the risk of disconnection issues.
By keeping a visual line of sight with the drone, maintaining your equipment, and flying only in ideal weather conditions, many common flight issues can be mitigated.
Lack of expected features?
The DJI Fly app provides a simplified interface to operate your drone. That doesn’t necessarily mean fewer features, but you will find differences in the available functionality depending on which drone you have.
Understanding your drone and its capabilities will make you more comfortable with its operation.
Many drone pilots will become very familiar with the features of the DJI Fly app over time. Changes to any functionality may be disruptive or necessitate adjusting to a new way of using the app.
At first, these changes may seem like issues that need to be fixed, but they could actually be a new, unexpected feature.
Unfortunately, this is the nature of technology, and sometimes features and functionality change over time.
The teams of software developers and engineers behind the scenes have a myriad of scenarios and requirements to consider when making updates.
Sometimes, features are deprioritized, overlooked, or found to not be feasible for the latest release.
DJI drone pilots and owners can influence new feature development by participating in the DJI product forums and staying on top of the latest advancements in drone technology.
DJI makes different platforms available that are suited to pilots with different flying styles, comfort levels, or goals.
Learn the user settings
In addition to all the built-in functionality and features of the DJI Fly App and the drones it controls, there are dozens of flexible user settings to customize your flying experience.
Getting familiar with these controls can help create a more enjoyable flying experience and sometimes improve the perceived shortcomings of the app.
Take time to explore the manual settings and learn what each of them does. You can fine-tune your flight experience, make your camera react differently to the physical controls on the remote, and ensure optimal performance in various flight conditions.
Once you learn what the controls actually do, make changes and test them out for yourself in flight. You may find it changed in a way that vastly improved the experience, or you may find it didn’t do what you expected. It’s great to have that flexibility and exciting to find new ways to utilize your drone.
If at some point you adjust a setting or multiple settings and find your drone not performing as expected, you can always reset everything back to its default settings.
So don’t be nervous about adjusting the controls and enjoy exploring all the features available.
How to identify issues and fixes
Not all issues you may experience are easy to describe or identify, and the fix may be a complex technical issue. DJI will release updates with notes stating “fixes certain issues and optimizes overall app quality.”
Due to the variety of compatible mobile devices, operating systems, and manufacturers, fixes to issues can slip through the cracks or possibly introduce new ones.
Currently, DJI does offer the ability to roll back to an older version if problems persist.
DJI also provides a forum for pilots to research and submit issues they are experiencing. Pilots can ask questions, find other pilots that have experienced similar problems, and find support or fixes.