When I came across the question of how to install apps on the DJI RC Pro, my first thought (as an always and forever iOS user) was how hard could this possibly be on an Android device?
So I just tried to wing it, and apparently, that’s not how these things work. Once you’ve got the process down, however, it’s not hard at all.
Since the Google Play store doesn’t allow downloads to the RC Pro, in order to download apps to the RC Pro, you need to use an APK Downloader that does.
Here is a step-by-step guide (with screenshots!) for downloading an app to use on your DJI RC Pro.
Step 1 – Connect to the Internet
As you are probably aware, the RC Pro doesn’t come with a data plan or access to the internet, so you will need to connect with an internet source.
If you need help with this, you can find step-by-step instructions for that in the next section.
Step 2 – Find the App
Find the app you are looking for. For this example, I searched the Google Play Store for the B4UFLY app. I clicked on the icon, and as you can see above, I got an error when I tried to download it.
At this point, I pressed on the URL until the copy option appeared and copied it to the clipboard.
Step 3 – Get a Download Link
Navigate to an APK downloader using your browser. I used EVOZI but there are many out there.
Paste the link you copied from the Google Play Store into the blue outlined address bar, and click on the Generate Download Link.
Step 4 – Download the File
After a few moments to locate the file, the APK Downloader will generate a download link.
When you click to download the app, you may get a notification asking permission to access your files. Click “Accept“.
A notification will then pop up at the bottom of the screen prompting you to download the file.
After a short wait, the notification will change to indicate success.
If you are not paying attention, you might miss this as the only real change is the download icon, which changes to a checkmark, and the purple download button, which changes to “Open.”
Step 5 – Install the App
Once you have downloaded the app, you might be tempted to think you could just click that lovely purple icon and be on your merry way, but obviously, it couldn’t be that easy.
Because not only can you not download apps from the Google Play Store, but you can’t install apps from your browser either!
The solution here is easy enough.
Navigate back to your home screen by swiping up, or by holding the back button on your remote and pushing up on the 5D button.
Click on your file’s icon and look for your Download folder.
Open up your Download folder to locate the file you just downloaded.
When you click on the file to install, a warning pops up indicating that your phone and personal data are vulnerable to attack by unknown apps and that by installing the app you are agreeing to take responsibility for whatever happens.
This is especially true since this device is certainly not running any sort of virus or malware production. Always be careful about when you download 3rd party apps, and only use reputable sources.
Once you click continue, you will be asked if you want to install the application. Go ahead and click INSTALL.
Within a few moments, the notification will change to indicate the installation was a success.
Step 6 – Find the app.
Navigating back to the home screen, you might notice your app isn’t there. Just swipe over to show the second page and you should see it there!
Open it up and away you go.
How to connect your RC Pro to the internet
If you couldn’t make it through the above steps because your remote isn’t connected to the internet, here’s a quick step-by-step on how to accomplish that.
- Hop into your Settings app
- Select Network and internet
- Select Wi-Fi.
- Make sure your Wi-Fi is turned on by selecting the button on the upper right corner of the screen.
- You will get a list of available Wi-Fi sources and will be prompted to enter a password if one is required.
If you are out in the field, you will need to use your phone as a hotspot, so make sure the settings in your phone and your wireless plan allow it.
I was fairly surprised when attempting to connect to my phone’s hotspot that it required an additional $10 a month on top of my already outrageous wireless bill.
What to Download Next?
I think probably the most useful (read financially lucrative) app to install on the RC Pro would be one of those 3rd Party Mapping apps like DroneDeploy or Pix4D.
Unfortunately, none of these seem to be currently supported by the RC Pro and I wasn’t able to find any workarounds that people are using at the time of writing.
I’m hoping at some point that an update to the RC Pro will either include some proprietary DJI software similar to DJI Terra that is compatible with the Mavic 3, or will simply allow the use of the 3rd party apps.
Though I was also hopeful that the Mavic 3 would be released within a couple years of the Mavic 2 Pro, and that it would actually be ready for release when it happened, but look where that got us.
As for apps to actually download, I think an airspace authorization, or LAANC, clearance apps like B4UFLY, Airmap, or Kitty Hawk are important to have. Drone insurance apps like Verifly might also be helpful.
Non-drone-specific apps like weather.com or photography planning apps like The Photographer’s Ephemeris or PhotoPills are also helpful for determining conditions for flying and shooting.
What Not to Download
Look, if you want to download Netflix to binge the final season of Ozark on your RC Pro, I guess go ahead? I mean, this ridiculously overpriced remote is currently going on Amazon for almost $1200, so maybe increasing its functionality is a good way for you to justify its expense.
But there are better/cheaper options available that don’t drain your flying camera’s battery. You can get a Kindle Fire tablet for under $100. Honestly, just having my RC Pro on to take screenshots for this article dropped the battery around 10%.
I’ve used the remote since it was first available for purchase, and I’ve never actually felt the need to use a third-party app on the remote itself. So much so that I was shocked, and a little disgusted, that my browser was Firefox, and I still didn’t feel the need to download and install Chrome.
One of the best benefits of switching to the RC Pro was to have my phone available for use while I was flying.
Often I just want to have a customer on the line to make sure I get them what they need, but a number of times I’ve handed off controls to my co-pilot so I can read a weather update or check an email to make sure I’m on the correct property (every undeveloped wood lot up here looks pretty much the same…).
So download those apps to your phone and save your remote’s battery for what it does best, or at least what it does okay and eventually will do better if we get the firmware updates that we are all hoping for.
Does this process work on the DJI Smart Controller?
Yes, and I assume it will also work with the new DJI RC which was just released with the Mini 3.
Is there any other way to install apps?
You can also use the APK downloader to download the file directly onto your PC and then transfer the file to your remote via an SD card or thumb drive. Then just proceed with Step 4.