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Can You Fly DJI Mini 2 SE Without a Phone (Answered)

Who doesn’t have their phones in their back (or front) pockets these days? Just about everyone does.

Can You Fly DJI Mini 2 SE Without a Phone (Answered)

However, just because it’s handy doesn’t mean you necessarily want to use your phone as your drone’s screen when flying.

Do you need a phone to fly the DJI Mini 2 SE?

You can use the DJI Mini 2 SE without a phone with the DJI RC-N1. However, you won’t be able to use any drone modes that require access to the DJI Fly app since the RC-N1 has no screen. That means giving up all Intelligent Flight Modes the Mini 2 SE has.

I’ve put together this guide just for you if you’ve ever had questions about how to fly the Mini 2 SE, including whether you must use your phone and what else you can try in place of that device.

I won’t make you wait another minute, so let’s get started!

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Can you fly the DJI Mini 2 SE without a phone?

Yes, technically, you can fly the DJI Mini 2 SE without a phone.

Does that make it a good idea? No, it doesn’t. Let me explain why.

The Mini 2 SE uses the DJI RC-N1, you’ll recall. This remote controller has a phone holster, but it doesn’t require a phone to turn on and operate.

You can launch into the sky just fine without your phone, and you won’t run down your phone battery, since you won’t run the DJI Fly app. Your phone will be in your pocket, and you can concentrate on flying.

» MORE: DJI Mini 2 SE Controller (All You Need to Know)

Why do we need a phone to fly DJI Mini 2 SE?

But…that’s about the only advantage of foregoing a phone when flying the Mini 2 SE.

Here’s the thing about the DJI RC-N1. It has no screen.

That’s right, none. Zilch. Nada.

The Mini 2 SE might be a newer drone, but its remote is a touch archaic. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it works great, but it doesn’t even have a diagnostics screen.

That’s why it includes a phone holster. You’re supposed to put your phone in the holster, run the DJI Fly app, and use your phone like the screen the RC-N1 never had.

When you don’t do that, whether because you’re eager to preserve your phone battery or because your phone is almost dead, you’re putting yourself at a far greater risk of crashing.

The Mini 2 SE doesn’t have obstacle avoidance, only downward vision sensing. It’s on you to steer clear of danger when flying this DJI drone, and that becomes a lot harder to do without a screen.

» MORE: DJI Fly App for Mini 2 (Read This Before Downloading)

Disadvantages of flying DJI Mini 2 SE without a phone

Is that even the worst of it? No! Here are some more issues you face when you skip using your phone as a screen.

No Intelligent Flight Modes

Here’s the biggest detriment you face when you fly the Mini 2 SE without a phone.

The Mini 2 SE has some of the best Intelligent Flight Modes, from Panorama to QuickShots modes like Boomerang, Dronie, Circle, Helix, and Rocket.

The only problem is these modes need the DJI Fly app to work. You can’t use the DJI Fly app on the RC-N1 as is. You need a smartphone capable of running the app.

Since you’re not using your phone with your drone remote, the Mini 2 SE can’t use Intelligent Flight Modes.

That’s half the fun of flying a DJI right there, gone, just like that.

» MORE: Smart Features in Drones (Explained for Beginners)

Harder to stay within VLOS

Drone laws around the world require pilots to maintain their visual line of sight, known as VLOS.

Today’s drone technology makes it easier than ever to maintain VLOS.

You can track your drone’s altitude and distance, and with auto-RTH, your drone will come back to you if you fly outside its recommended parameters.

DJI drones also have geofencing built in, further keeping you within unrestricted airspace.

However, when you’re flying blind, as you are without a phone, it’s a lot easier to fly outside of VLOS. You’re supposed to have a spotter if you can’t stay within the legal limit, and if you don’t, you’re at a much greater risk of flying your drone out of range.

At that point, your drone will probably lose signal, causing it to crash.

» MORE: How Hard is it to Fly a Drone? Insights from a Beginner

No flight diagnostics

Flight diagnostics are a must when operating a drone, as they tell you how your drone is performing overall, including its battery level and internal components you can’t see.

You can also review information pertinent to a safe flight, such as your proximity to restricted flight areas, wind speed and direction, and temporary flight restrictions.

Since the RC-N1 lacks any kind of screen, the only way to know flight diagnostics after launching your Mini 2 SE is with the DJI Fly app on your phone or smart device.

Flying without them is a risk.

» MORE: DJI Mini 2 SE Wind Resistance (Explained)

Impossible to take photos or videos

The Mini 2 SE has decent video and image quality at 2.7K and 12 MP, respectively. However, you can’t access its camera with the RC-N1 alone.

You can switch between Normal and Sport mode, and you have all the tools for piloting this drone at your fingertips, but without images and videos.

Suddenly, flying your Mini 2 SE without a phone doesn’t sound so fun, right?

» MORE: Drone Photography: Beginner’s Guide to Getting Started

Can you use a tablet instead of a mobile phone?

That said, I definitely understand the logic here.

Your phone only has so much battery, and running a video-heavy app for half an hour or so will certainly drain most of it.

If you’re not heading straight home afterward, such as onsite for a long day of work, you don’t want your phone to die before you can charge it.

Is there a different way to see your drone’s view than a phone when flying the Mini 2 SE? Like, perhaps you can use a tablet instead?

Indeed, you can!

The DJI Fly app is compatible with tablets and can support app displays in a higher resolution.

Now, I’m sure you’re wondering how in the world you fit a large iPad or Samsung Galaxy onto a holster designed for a smartphone, right?

I was in the same boat.

Obviously, you can’t. It will not work. Don’t try to MacGyver it with duct tape or something.

Instead, buy a tablet holder and attach that to the RC-N1. It will have a clamp for keeping your tablet secure, and many tablet holders have a moveable head for setting the ideal angle.

» MORE: Best Tablets for DJI Mini 2

Can you use goggles instead of a phone with the Mini 2 SE?

The Mini 2 SE came out after DJI dove into the FPV world with the release of the DJI FPV and Avata. You’d love to take your Mini 2 SE flight experience to the next level, livening it up with goggles.

Well, great news! You can!

You must have a VR headset, and you’ll also need the DJI Fly app.

How do you switch from standard to FPV mode in the DJI Fly app? It’s simple!

Open the app, then select the Go Fly option. Next, open Camera View. You will see three dots in the upper right corner. Tap them, then go into settings, then Control.

Next, under Gimbal Mode, choose FPV Mode.

Put on your goggles, plug in your smartphone to the remote via a USB cable, choose the Go Fly option in the app, plug your phone into your VR headset, and you’re ready to go!

Note: If you’re flying with FPV goggles, you’ll still need to use your phone!

» MORE: Can You Use FPV Goggles with DJI Mini 2 (Explained)

Can I just say, I had a blast flying the Mini 2 SE this way? It felt like operating an entirely different drone, like an Avata. The novelty of the entire experience made the Mini 2 SE feel brand-new to me.

Best of all, if you decide to use FPV Mode yourself (for the Mini 2 SE or otherwise) is that you don’t have to learn FPV first.

Normally, to fly an FPV drone, you must log many long, tedious hours in flight simulators. That’s the only way to fly safely.

However, since you’re not technically flying the Mini 2 SE FPV-style (it just looks like you are), you don’t have to train extensively. You just have to get your bearings.

Can you use an external monitor instead of a phone?

If even a tablet is too small for your liking, you might wonder whether you can increase the size of your screen by using an external monitor with your Mini 2 SE instead of a phone.

Nope, sorry. The DJI RC-N1 doesn’t have an HDMI output, so you can’t plug a monitor into it. No adapter or accessory of the sort can help with that.

The Smart Controller is compatible with HDMI plug-ins, but that controller doesn’t work with the Mini SE.

At least you can use your tablet!