Can You Fly the Mavic Mini with Just Your Phone?


The Mavic Mini drone from DJI is perfect for people who don’t want to spend a hefty amount of cash on pro drones. Mavic mini-drones cost less compared to other DJI drones and weigh less. This small size is favorable to anyone who doesn’t want to pack a huge bag, and this drone is even small enough to fit in your pocket. Slide it on there, and you will be ready to head out on your hike. But do you need to bring the controller along too?

The Mavic Mini cannot be controlled solely by connecting to a smartphone using wifi. It must also be connected to the controller in order to fly. You can, however, fly using just the controller without needing to have a smartphone connected to the controller. 

Some drone manufacturers have designed drones to operate solely with the use of a phone app, without the need for a separate controller. Notable among these are Parrot and Tello. DJI drones, however, come with a controller, and cannot be operated without this controller. 

Most DJI controllers are designed to be used in conjunction with a smartphone or tablet in order to see a screen and access flight features through the control app. You do not, however, have to have a device connected to the controller in order to be able to fly the drone. To put it succinctly, no phone, no problem. No controller, no fly.

No phone, no problem.
No controller, no fly.

Why flying a Mavic Mini with a phone is recommended

Even though it’s possible to fly the Mavic mini without a phone, it’s really a huge hassle, and not recommended. Phones and the access to the control app that they give you make the flying process smoother and more manageable. The phone app allows you access to various drone features that ensure that the fly is smooth and straightforward for you to control and maneuver the drone in the air, not to mention getting decent pictures.

The phone also gives you a view of what the camera sees. The Mavic Mini’s color blends in nicely with its surroundings, and you may easily lose sight of it and even lose the drone if you take it quite high. 

Also, determining which way the drone is facing is challenging if you don’t have a phone to see what it’s looking at. If you’re flying with just the controller, it’s a good idea to keep the drone at a low altitude, and quite close to you so that you don’t lose track of it. 

When you have a smartphone or tablet connected to the controller, you won’t have this difficulty since you’ll be able to easily check your heading orientation on the monitor. 

The phone also makes it easier to get pictures and videos. You can record 4K movies with your Mavic Mini drone, which is a great feature for such a small, inexpensive drone. As a videographer, you will want to record and capture the highest quality films and photographs possible. A smartphone allows your drone to record video in 4k resolution, giving you the best possible results.

Without a phone screen and app connected to the controller, you will have little to no ability to see what you want to take pictures of and will be basically flying blind. 

On another note, there are no front or rear collision detectors on the Mavic Mini. This implies that if it encounters a barrier, you will be oblivious to it without a screen view. You can avoid this by using your phone.

When using your smartphone connected to the controller to fly a Mavic mini-drone, you don’t need to understand what the drone lights mean entirely. A phone will notify you of all the happenings on the drone, and thus you will understand them. Without a phone, however, you will not be able to get detailed information from your drone such as a low battery, or other important notifications.

How to fly a Mavic Mini without a phone

The Mavic Mini comes with a remote controller and is necessary to fly the drone. The first step to flying with just the controller is to switch on both the device and the remote and wait a few seconds for them to sync.

The Mavic Mini can then be manually launched using the sticks. Drag the left and right sticks diagonally down to the center. Using this method, the motor will switch on, and the blinking lights will shine green when ready to start. If you’re flying the drone for photography, you may use the manual buttons on the remote control’s front while it’s in flight.

How to capture photos and videos on a Mavic Mini without a phone

You can capture photos and videos with the Mavic Mini even if you don’t have a phone. Press the buttons on the front of your remote to trigger the camera shutter on the drone, or to start or stop video recording.

To record a video using the remote control, press the button in the upper left-hand corner. To capture photographs, press the camera button on the Mavic Mini remote control’s top right corner.

Left ButtonRight Button
Record videoCapture photograph

It may be tough to take photos and videos without your phone since you can’t see what you’re doing. You have to guess where your camera is pointing and hope for a nice shot someplace, which is possible but extremely difficult. 

This drone has a great camera, so you might come out with some interesting shots regardless. The images and videos are stored on the SD card that comes with your drone. After you’ve completed your flight, you can save the photos and videos to your computer and browse through them. 

Things to be aware of when flying a drone without a phone

You will need to be patient as it may take several minutes for the aircraft to be fully locked onto a GPS signal and ready to take off; you don’t want to lose or crash it by taking off too soon.

If you take off before you have acquired enough GPS signals, you may experience several issues, including the possibility that your home position is not at your point of takeoff. Another problem is that your drone may fly inconsistently and drift if you don’t have enough GPS satellite signals. Therefore make sure the LED is blinking green before taking off.

Flying at a low height is also a good idea since the drone color easily camouflages with the environment and can get lost. Flying low will also reduce the cases of flyaway drones.

You can still utilize the return to the home button when it’s time to bring the drone down. Just press and hold the button on the remote. RTH is a handy feature on drones that will prevent them from getting lost in case of a low battery or lost connectivity. The landing point will generally be your take-off location unless you have set it up as something different (but the flight app is required to change settings).

Elizabeth Ciobanu

Editor-in-Chief. Elizabeth is a full-time (homeschooling!) mom of four, and serial entrepreneur in a variety of enterprises, one of which is producing content for Droneblog. If free time existed, she would love to spend more time on hobbies such as flying a drone.

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