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DJI Mini 2 SE – How to Activate and Set Up (Explained for Beginners)

You just unboxed your DJI Mini 2 SE, and you’re excited! You’ve flown a few toy drones in your time, but this is your first real drone.

DJI Mini 2 SE – How to Activate and Set Up (Explained for Beginners)
Image Credit: Dan Bayne

You can’t wait to activate it and get it into the skies. However, once you turn the drone on, you realize you’re not really sure what’s required to activate it.

That’s okay! You’ve come to the right place. I’ll explain what to do once you get your Mini 2 SE out of the box so it’s ready to fly, including how to register it.

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I just got my DJI Mini 2 SE: How to set it up

There’s a litany of tasks to complete as you bring your Mini 2 SE home. They’ll ensure you can safely operate it, so let’s get into what you need to do.

1. Unbox it

Image Credit: Dan Bayne

If you buy the Mini 2 SE new, it should include in the box:

  • Mini 2 SE drone
  • DJI RC-N1 remote controller
  • Screwdriver
  • Six spare screws
  • USB-C data cable
  • Gimbal protector
  • DJI RC-N1 RC cable standard cable
  • DJI RC-N1 RC cable Lightning Connector
  • DJI RC-N1 RC cable USB-C connector
  • DJI Mini 2 SE Intelligent Flight Battery

Check that yours has all the required parts.

» MORE: Is DJI Mini 2 SE Good for Beginners? (Hands-on Review)

2. Buy accessories

DJI is notoriously stingy on its accessories. You get a few, but essentially, your purchase includes the bare basics and little else.

Here are additional accessories you should consider purchasing.

Propeller guards

The DJI Mini 2 360° Propeller Guards are excellent for new pilots. They fit over the Mini 2 SE’s propellers, reducing your risk of injury when handling the drone.

The prop guards can also safeguard the drone if you crash, mitigating damage.

» MORE: Best Accessories for DJI Mini 2 SE 

Spare batteries

DJI Mini 2 SE Battery (All You Need to Know)
Image Credit: Dan Bayne

The Mini 2 SE only has a projected flight time of 31 minutes. Although in reality, it’s never quite that much. It’s normal for manufacturers to overstate the battery’s longevity because they test it in perfect conditions.

Since its charge is short compared to most drones on the market (including those outside of DJI), you might consider picking up at least one other Intelligent Flight Battery, if not two.

» MORE: Drone Batteries (In-Depth Information)

MicroSD cards

This one is required, as the Mini 2 SE doesn’t have any internal storage space. In other words, without a microSD card, you can’t save the photos and videos you take, which defeats the point.

DJI recommends the SanDisk Extreme microSD Card 128 GB edition or the Kingston Canvas Go! Plus microSD Card 128 GB edition.

» MORE: Best SD Cards for DJI Mini 2 SE

DJI Battery Charging Hub

The DJI Battery Charging Hub is a two-way charger. You can use it as a power bank for charging your controller, for example, or charge three Intelligent Flight Batteries simultaneously for longer flights.

The DJI Battery Charging Hub is compatible with the Mini 2 SE as well as the original Mini SE and Mini 2. If you own those drones, you can get a lot of use out of this smart device!

Portable smartphone charger

I also recommend having a portable smartphone charger at the ready so you can keep your phone powered on and displaying the DJI Fly app.

You probably already have one of these devices, but if not, do yourself a favor and buy one.

A portable phone charger also comes in handy for any instance where you’re away from home for long periods and need a fully (or mostly) charged phone.

» MORE: Does DJI Mini 2 SE Come with a Charger? (See Our Recommendation)

3. Charge the battery

Image Credit: Dan Bayne

The drone’s battery doesn’t come at 100 percent, even when purchased new. It can’t, as batteries discharge over time.

Also, the battery is likely to be in Hibernation Mode, which happens after it loses a lot of juice. In this mode, the battery will not show any signs of life until you charge it.

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

How do you charge the Mini 2 SE battery? Make sure the Intelligent Flight Battery is slotted into the drone, which will produce a clicking sound when you place it correctly.

Next, secure the battery port’s flap, which will click. Then plug your Type-C charging cable directly into the Mini 2 SE or in the DJI Battery Charging Hub if you own one.

The Intelligent Flight Battery should charge in roughly 90 minutes. At that time, you can unplug the Type-C charging cable and take the drone out for a spin.

The battery has four LED lights that will all illuminate when the battery is fully charged.

4. Charge the controller

Image Credit: Dan Bayne

You also have to charge the DJI RC-N1, which you can do with the same USB-C cable (so you’ll have to wait until you charge the Mini 2 SE first).

The controller will have a slot at the bottom for inserting the USB-C cable, which you can plug into the DJI Battery Charging Hub.

» MORE: DJI Mini 2 SE: How to Connect/Pair RC (Explained)

5. Make a DJI account

As a new DJI pilot, you’ll need a DJI account to use its myriad features, including the required app for the Mini 2 SE, DJI Fly.

Click here for the link to the DJI registration page. You can use an existing Google account to log in or register by typing in your email address and a password.

You must type the password twice, check that you’re not a robot (via reCAPTCHA), and agree to DJI’s terms of service.

After clicking Submit, you’ll receive an email confirmation. You can then return to the same link and log in.

» MORE: Do I Have to Register my DJI Mini 2 SE (Explained)

6. Download the DJI Fly app

Image Credit: Gabriel Mihalcea

You’ll need the DJI Fly app to use the Mini 2 SE. The RC-N1 doesn’t include a screen (the Mini 2 SE is one of DJI’s lowest-cost Mini drones), so you’ll use your smartphone instead.  

Open your smartphone and go into the app store. Type in “DJI Fly,” and the first result you see should be from DJI. Tap Get, then use facial verification or double-tap to download the app.

Once the app downloads to your smartphone, open it up and log in.

» MORE: DJI Fly App (Everything You Need to Know)

7. Update any firmware

Now that you’ve gotten the Mini 2 SE and RC-N1 up and running check for firmware updates.

There may not be one available, but if there is, update it before you fly the drone to ensure it’s in optimal operating condition.

» MORE: DJI Mini 2 SE: How to Update Firmware (Step-by-Step Guide)

Do I have to register my DJI Mini 2 SE with the FAA?

That depends on how you plan to use it.

For example, if you only fly the Mini 2 SE recreationally (a purpose it’s especially excellent at), then no, you don’t have to register it. The FAA only requires drone registration if your UAV exceeds 250 grams, which the Mini 2 SE doesn’t.

However, that rule goes out the window when using a drone commercially. You must register your drone no matter what, so you will have to pay the $5 fee to the FAA. Once you register the Mini 2 SE, it’s good for the next three years.

Do keep in mind that you must register every drone you fly.

How to activate DJI Mini 2 SE

Now it’s time to activate the Mini 2 SE, which you must do before launching it for the first time. Here’s how.

Step 1 – Open the DJI Fly app

You should be logged into the DJI Fly app already as you begin the registration process.

Step 2 – Link the RC-N1 to the DJI Fly app

Turn on the Mini 2 SE, then insert your smartphone into the holster of the RC-N1 controller. Open the DJI Fly app on your phone.

You should see an option marked Connect Aircraft in the app. Tap it, then go into Settings and select Control. Scroll down, then tap Connect to the Aircraft at the bottom.

A countdown will begin, and the lights under the remote controller will begin flashing sequentially. The remote is ready when it beeps and the lights continue flashing.

Next, grab the Mini 2 SE and hold its power button for four seconds. The drone’s battery indicator lights will illuminate sequentially, and you will hear one beep.

Now you can link the devices. Both will stop beeping and showing sequential lights, and you will see a live camera view on the DJI Fly app, which indicates successful linking.

Alternatively, you can use combination buttons to link the controller. On the RC-N1, hold the two front upper buttons and the shutter/record button on the shoulder simultaneously. After two seconds, you’ll hear beeping.

Next, press the battery switch button and hold that for four seconds. It will begin beeping, which indicates to let it go. The remote will begin linking and stop beeping when it’s finished. You will also see an image transmission screen in the DJI Fly app.

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

Step 3 – Activate the Mini 2 SE

Once you link your smartphone, RC-N1, and Mini 2 SE, check the DJI Fly app for activation instructions. The instructions will include prompts to follow. You must have a reliable internet connection when activating.

Things to do before the first flight

Are you ready to rock? I mean, fly? Before you do, make sure you follow this pre-flight protocol for enjoying time in the skies with the Mini 2 SE.

Get a drone license

This is a one-time matter if you’re flying recreationally, and a task to add to your to-do list every two years if using your drone commercially.

I’ve written an extensive series about how to obtain a commercial drone license or Remote Pilot Certificate in the United States here on the blog. I highly recommend finding your state and reading the rules!

Essentially, you must make an account on the Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application or IACRA to obtain an FAA Tracking Number or FTN. Then, you can create an account on PSI, use your FTN to verify your identity, register for the Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG) exam, and pay the fee.

After you take the commercial exam, scoring at least 70 percent, you will receive a permanent Part 107 license in the mail from the FAA. However, the license expires within two years. It’s now free to renew it, as you can take an FAA renewal exam online from the comfort of your home.

You used to have to pay $175 every two years (the cost of the examination) to take the Part 107 test, but not since 2021!

If you only intend to use the Mini 2 SE recreationally, you’ll have a much easier time. You need to take The Recreational UAS Safety Test or TRUST exam. This test is free and online-based (unlike the Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG) test).

Better yet, you can change your answers to the correct ones before you submit your test. Your completion of the TRUST exam produces a certificate you can print and carry on your person.

The TRUST license doesn’t expire, but you will be required to re-take the test if you misplace your certificate.

» MORE: DJI Mini 2 SE Unable to Take Off (Solved)

Open the drone arms

Is DJI Mini 2 SE Good for Beginners? (Hands-on Review)
Image Credit: Dan Bayne

The Mini 2 SE has foldable arms, but you must unfold them during every flight. Use a gentle but firm hand, taking care not to damage the delicate components.

Take the gimbal protector off

The drone includes gimbal protectors, which are helpful in safeguarding the Mini 2 SE, but not so useful when you want to fly.

You can remove the gimbal protector by pressing the lower buckle. The protector should come right off.

When you want to put it on, position it correctly and snap it in. It couldn’t be easier.

Check the battery level (recharge if necessary)

If you just charged the Mini 2 SE, the drone’s battery should be fully charged or close to it.

However, if it’s been several days and the battery has discharged, put it on the charger for a short while to get it close to 100 percent.

Turn the remote controller on (inserting your phone)

Next, insert your smartphone into the holsters of the RC-N1, then power on the remote controller.

Power on the DJI Fly app

Open the DJI Fly app on your phone. You should have already updated its firmware, so you can rest assured you’re running the most current version.

Launch from level ground

Image Credit: Dan Bayne

Now, it’s time to launch. The Mini 2 SE includes single-button launches and landings, making it easier for beginners like you to get the drone airborne without incident.

However, you should always launch from level, flat ground, avoiding slopes and jagged terrain like rocks.

» MORE: DJI Mini 2 SE vs. DJI Mini 2 (Which One is Right for You)