Many rumors suggested that the DJI Mavic 3 would come out late 2021, and they turned out to be true. The new talk of the town product by the Chinese giant offers for the first time a double camera configuration, including a Hasselblad main sensor and a useful telephoto, among other interesting characteristics, like the omnidirectional obstacle avoidance system. What no one was expecting was that DJI would change the application that flies the drone.
To take control of the DJI Mavic 3, your device should be running the DJI Fly app, a software that was designed with simplicity and intuition in mind. DJI seems to be replacing DJI Go, the former standard app for their drones, with this new application, which gives the pilot great tools to control the drone, like MasterShots or custom stick configurations, as well as some features that make editing and sharing your captured footage easier than ever before.
In this article, we will look at the compatibility and system requirements of the DJI Fly app to help you choose a device. Furthermore, we will provide you with the best tips and step-by-step guides so you can become a Mavic 3 legendary pilot.
What app does DJI Mavic 3 use? Where can I download it?
To fly the new Mavic 3, you need to install the DJI Fly app. Just be aware that in the latest releases of version 1.5, many users have reported having serious connectivity problems. Therefore, always do a little research about what is the most stable version at the moment. You don’t need to have the latest version of the app to have a great and safe flight experience.
The DJI Fly app can be downloaded from the DJI Official website of the Apple store (tap on the names to download whichever version you need):
|Note: DJI Fly app is no longer available for download in the Google Play store. Download it exclusively from the official website.|
DJI Fly app device compatibility
Nowadays, it can be confusing to know if your device can run certain software, particularly if you are using an Android phone, as there are so many devices with that operating system, each of them with its own unique technical specifications.
To avoid that awful surprise of having a new device that can’t run the latest version of the app that controls your drone, keep in mind that the DJI Fly app is compatible with Android devices running version 6.0 or better, and Apple devices with iOS 11.0 or newer.
As a general rule, DJI usually includes in their list of officially supported devices those that are two years old or newer. However, this does not mean that your 4-year-old, former top-of-the-line device will not be able to run the DJI Fly app without issues.
At the moment, I am using the latest version with two devices; a Samsung Galaxy S8, and a Samsung Galaxy Tab S4. Both my phone and tablet are more than 2 years old, but I have not encountered any problems using the DJI Fly app with either of them. In fact, it runs smoothly with both!
Below you can see a full list of the officially supported Android-based devices:
|Samsung Galaxy S21||Samsung Galaxy S20||Samsung Galaxy S10+||Samsung Galaxy S10|
|Samsung Galaxy S10||S. Galaxy Note20||S. Galaxy Note10+||Samsung Galaxy Note9|
|HUAWEI Mate40 Pro||HUAWEI Mate30 Pro||HUAWEI P40 Pro||HUAWEI P30 Pro|
|HUAWEI P30||Honor 50 Pro||Mi 11||Mi 10|
|Mi MIX 4||Redmi Note 10||OPPO Find X3||OPPO Reno 4|
|vivo NEX 3||OnePlus 9 Pro||OnePlus 9||Pixel 6|
|Pixel 4||Pixel 3 XL||–||–|
These are the officially supported Apple devices:
|iPhone 13 Pro Max||iPhone 13 Pro||iPhone 13||iPhone 13 mini|
|iPhone 12 Pro Max||iPhone 12 Pro||iPhone 12||iPhone 12 mini|
|iPhone 11 Pro Max||iPhone 11 Pro||iPhone 11||iPhone XS Max|
|iPhone XS||iPhone XR||iPhone X||iPhone 8 Plus|
|iPhone 8||iPad Pro（9.7-inch）||iPad Air2 (9.7-inch)||iPad mini4（8-inch）|
|iPad Pro (10.5-inch)||iPad Pro 2018 (11-inch)||iPad Pro (12.9-inch）||–|
There are many options supported officially, but even more devices are capable of running the DJI Fly app flawlessly that did not make it to the list.
In the DJI Forum, we can read a few comments that state that, with so many different Android phones and tablets, it would be extremely time-consuming to test them all to list them as officially supported, and that is probably the reason why the list is kind of short. One thing is for sure; we don’t need the latest generation of smartphone or tablet to run the DJI Fly app comfortably.
How do I know if my device is compatible?
If your phone is not on the list of supported devices, you may be wondering if you can use the DJI Fly app without a problem or not. To help you understand what the actual requirements of the app are, we have created these next two short sections.
Installing the latest version of the DJI Fly app is easy if you know how. Using an iOS-based device, visit the DJI Fly app section in the Apple Store to check if you can install it. If your phone can’t update to iOS 11, click or tap on this link to download the DJI Fly app for iOS 10.
Things are a bit different if you are using an Android device, as you are no longer able to download the DJI Fly app from Google’s Play Store. You will need to visit this website and download it from there.
Unfortunately, not all Android devices are compatible with the DJI Fly app. Below you can find just a few examples that are not compatible:
- Motorola: Moto Z Play, Moto G6, Moto G4, Moto G5 plus, Moto G6, Moto G7 Play, Moto G7 Optimo.
- Samsung: A3, A5, A10, J7, J7 Refine, A6+, J4+, J6, Galaxy Tab S2, Tab A 8”, Tab A 10.1”, etc.
- LG: Stylo 4, V35, K40, V20.
- Lenovo: 7 and 8.
- Sony: Xperia Z5 Compact.
- Huawei: Y5, Y6, Ascend XT2.
- Google: Pixel 3A.
For a full list of compatible devices with the DJI Fly app, visit this website.
DJI Fly App System Requirements
Things would be much easier if DJI listed the system specifications for the DJI Fly app. It would be great to know what the specific requirements are regarding CPU cores or RAM memory, but for some reason, they are avoiding it.
Do not worry though, thanks to this thread in the DJI official forum, we know that the device running DJI Fly needs to have a 64-bit operating system. 32-bit operating systems, just like computers for certain tasks, are already considered obsolete for this purpose.
Official and unofficial forums are filled with comments affirming that 3 GB of RAM memory are enough to run the app, but if you are going to buy a device specifically for flying your drone, I would recommend you to play it safe and get one with at least 4 GB. The downside, of course, is that the more RAM, the higher the price.
The world of technology is constantly changing, so don’t forget that the hardware that can run the app today may be too old in a few months, depending on the requirements of the app version. At the moment, DJI Fly’s latest release is 1.5, but if they were to launch version 2.0 in a few months, it could mean an increase in RAM memory usage, or CPU core count. Always look at the download center for an updated list of supported devices.
How to fly your Mavic 3 using the DJI Fly App (7 Step-by-Step Guides)
Now that you have downloaded the DJI Fly app, and you know if your device is compatible, it is time to get the bird flying.
First of all, you need to make sure that your drone’s firmware and controller version match to avoid any in-flight issues. Let’s have a look at how to do that.
|Note: Do not take lightly the suggestions prompted by DJI Fly app.|
Updating the firmware using the DJI Fly app
Updating the firmware of your Mavic 3 is essential, even imperative in some cases, like when it can solve worrying matters such as connectivity issues. Below is a step-by-step guide that you can follow to do it safely:
- Make sure that the drone battery level is at least at 75%, and the controller at 20%.
- Turn on the DJI Fly app.
- Power on the controller, then the aircraft by pressing the button once, and then again, holding it for about two seconds.
- Turn on the DJI Fly app.
- Ensure that the controller and the drone have been successfully linked.
- With the device connected to the Internet, the DJI Fly app will prompt a message to inform you that there is a new firmware update available.
- Tap on Install.
- Once on the firmware update page, tap again on update to start updating the firmware.
- Wait patiently until the DJI Fly app finishes updating the drone, making sure that you do not turn off the aircraft, your device, or the controller.
- When the firmware has been updated, the drone will reboot.
Calibrating the Mavic 3 compass in DJI Fly
The compass of the drone allows it to know where it is heading. Many novice pilots forget to do it, but you should calibrate it every time you change location.
Check out this quick guide to know how to do it:
- Connect your remote controller to your phone or tablet.
- Open the DJI Fly app.
- Power on the remote and then the drone, same as you did to update the firmware.
- While in camera view, tap on the three dots located on the top right corner of the screen.
- In the safety tab, scroll down until you find the sensors section.
- Then tap on calibrate, next to ‘Compass normal’.
- A new window will open; tap on start to initiate the process and follow the instructions.
Calibrating the Mavic 3 IMU in DJI Fly
The Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) is like the brain of your aircraft, so you must calibrate it whenever the app asks you to do it. Here is how:
- Connect your remote controller to your device.
- Open the DJI Fly app.
- Power on the controller and then the drone.
- While in camera view, in the safety tab, scroll down until you reach the sensors section.
- Then, next to ‘IMU normal’, tap on Calibrate.
- Tap on start to initiate the calibration process.
- Follow the on-screen instructions to calibrate the IMU (you will need to fold the drone to do so).
- Wait for the drone to restart.
As I mentioned earlier, many novice pilots make the mistake of not calibrating the drone when requested by the app, which can lead to crashes. Please, do not take lightly the suggestions prompted by DJI Fly.
Your first flight with DJI Fly app in the Mavic 3
Now that your aircraft is up-to-date and fully calibrated, it is time to fly. Here is how:
- Make sure that the flying area is obstacle-free.
- Ensure that the controller is set to normal mode.
- Check the propellers for any defects and ensure that they are fitted correctly.
- Remove the gimbal cover.
- Insert the Micro SD card into its compartment.
- Put the aircraft on the ground, on a flat surface.
- Making sure that its back faces you.
- Open the DJI Fly app.
- Tap on Go Fly.
- Select return-to-home (RTH) settings.
- Tap the take-off icon or use the combination of sticks to take-off.
- Once hovering, the on-screen take-off button becomes the landing button.
- Press and hold it to land automatically, or use the stick.
|Note: If the aircraft encounters visual problems, the compass detects interference, or the GPS signal is low, the drone will automatically enter Attitude mode. In this mode, it cannot hover or auto-brake, so pay strict attention to any on-screen warnings.|
How to Set and Use the New Advanced Return to Home
In certain scenarios, you might need to tell your drone to return home automatically. The Mavic 3 comes with the new Advanced Return to Home, which makes use of the omnidirectional obstacle avoidance system.
Follow these steps to use it:
- While in flight, tap the RTH button on the left side of the screen, or press and hold the RTH button on the remote controller.
- If there is enough ambient light for the sensors to operate, you should just wait until the drone returns to the home point.
Advanced RTH Precautions: Before starting your flights, make sure you familiarize yourself with the environment in which you will be flying and then configure the RTH accordingly. To do so:
- In the camera view, go to the upper right corner and tap on the three white dots.
- In the safety tab, scroll down until you find the Flight Protection section.
- Select the Auto RTH altitude to the height you have previously considered.
- Reset the home point if needed.
File transfer using DJI Fly’s QuickTransfer
There are three ways you can transfer files from the drone to your connected devices, all of them with their pros and cons; plug in your drone to your computer, remove the SD card, or use DJI Fly’s QuickTransfer. Let us see how you do it with the DJI Fly app:
Using QuickTransfer (wireless)
- Open DJI Fly.
- Power on your Mavic 3.
- Go to the Album section in the DJI Fly app.
- Press and hold the quick transfer button in the drone for two seconds (located underneath the SD card compartment).
- Enable Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on your device.
- A message will appear asking you to connect the aircraft.
- Tap connect.
- Tap the QuickTransfer Mode icon on your mobile device (top right in Album) to initiate file transfer.
Shortcomings of QuickTransfer:
- The drone might get very warm while transferring files, especially those that are quite heavy.
- Much slower than regular file transfer using the cable or an SD card reader.
30 Fundamental and Advanced DJI Fly Tips and Tricks
Becoming a great pilot takes time and effort. Knowing your equipment and the possibilities it offers is as important as your ability to use the controller stickers. With these tips, we will help you discover the hidden gems that the DJI Fly app offers. Let us get started.
1. Battery details
Knowing when your battery will run out of juice is imperative. For that reason, if you tap on the icon of the battery percentage, the DJI Fly app will tell you how many minutes and seconds remain until the aircraft will automatically initiate the RTH. In addition, it shows how long it will take until the drone makes a forced landing and also until the battery is fully depleted.
2. Remote control signal strength
Next to the battery details, we find the information about the RC signal. Tapping on it will say if it is weak, strong, etc. If you lost the signal, your aircraft should automatically return to home.
3. Sensor information
Let’s continue with the important information displayed on the top right of the camera view. Next to the RC signal, we find the sensor information. This information only becomes available when the aircraft has taken off. Once in the air, tapping on the icon will tell you if the sensors are operating normally.
4. Satellite information
Also in the top right corner, next to the sensor info, we can check the satellites. Once again, tapping the icon, we see a more detailed version of the information. In this case, it will tell us if the signal is strong or weak and how many satellites the aircraft is connected to.
Tapping on the minimap icon located at the bottom left corner will maximize that map. With this feature, you can relocate the RTH point. Furthermore, if you tap on the small arrow inside the minimap, the map will change to a compass.
6. Find your drone
We hope that you don’t need to use this feature ever, but just in case something happens, you should know how to find your drone. To do so, tap on the ‘Find My Drone’ button located at the bottom right corner of the map. The aircraft will start beeping and flashing, and the last known location will be shown on screen.
This system uses ADS-B technology, which allows the drone to be aware of other aircrafts nearby. For instance, if a plane passes near you, it will be shown in the map in real time, displaying its altitude. By tapping on the plane icon in the DJI Fly app map, you can select three levels of collision risk; high, medium high, and low medium.
It is recommended having AirSense enabled, so head to the Safety settings, tap on Advanced Safety Settings, and make sure that it is activated.
8. Experiment with the Mode
One of the new features included with the Mavic 3 is the Explore Mode. To turn it on, you only need to tap on the binoculars (right side of the screen), then make use of the powerful zoom. For a smoother experience, tap and hold on the zoom button. A toggle wheel will pop up, and you can use it to zoom in and out manually.
9. Manual focus
Just below the binocular icon, you will see the focus mode that the camera is currently using. By default, it says AF (autofocus), but you can change it to MF (manual focus) to take full control of the camera focus. Same as before, you can tap and hold in the focus icon for the app to display the toggle wheel.
10. Touchscreen camera
Another cool option that the DJI Fly app offers is the possibility of moving the drone camera with your finger. While in camera view, tap and hold anywhere on the screen, then move your finger in any direction. You will notice that the camera follows your finger movements.
11. Storage info
I am sure many of us have been shooting some professional videos and momentarily panic about how much storage space we had left on the SD card. To avoid this unnecessary suffering, tap on the storage icon located in the bottom right of the screen. It will tell you exactly how many hours and minutes of footage you can still record, as well as the number of pictures.
12. Full resolution saving
Whenever we take a photo or record a video, we can share it with the new DJI Fly app fast and easily. For a quick Whatsapp share, using the regular quality should be fine, but if we want to send the full resolution version, we will need to download it first.
To do that, go to the album, then tap on the image or video you want to share, then tap on the download icon located on the bottom left corner of the screen. Done!
13. Pro camera mode
Using your Mavic 3 camera in automatic mode should be fine for many scenarios. However, if you know what you are doing (or want to learn), and really want to get the most of it, you should tap on the camera icon in the bottom right corner of the screen.
By doing so, you will enable pro mode. In this camera mode, you can now control the ISO, shutter speed, and other settings that will make your images and footage pop (if done correctly).
14. Obstacle avoidance system
The new omnidirectional obstacle avoidance system is set by default to brake, which means that whenever the aircraft locates an obstacle, it will stop and hover.
However, the new Mavic 3 is able to avoid it, but for the drone to automatically do that, the flight assistance needs to be set to Bypass. Just make sure that you know what you are doing before changing this.
15. Auto return to home
As we have seen earlier in this article, one of the first things you should do when flying the drone is to check the area where you are going to be operating the aircraft. Detecting obstacles and their highest points will help you make a safe decision when setting the auto-RTH altitude.
Don’t forget that the higher this setting, the more battery it will be required for the drone to safely return home. Therefore, if the highest obstacle in the fly area is 100 ft (30 m) tall, consider setting the RTH altitude to around 115 ft (35 m).
16. Battery information
Battery balance is important because it ensures good performance. To make sure that your batteries are doing well, balance-wise, and temperature-wise, go to the settings and tap on Battery info in the Battery section. It also displays the number of charges and the serial number.
17. Advanced gimbal settings
Many users are missing some of the features that we truly liked about the DJI Go app. One of them is tripod mode, which allowed us to record super smooth footage by slowing down the aircraft.
With the Advanced Gimbal Settings, located in the control tab of the settings menu, we can tweak the pitch speed, pitch smoothness and yaw speed to create a more cinematic feeling in our recordings. Furthermore, we can vary these configurations on each of the flying modes that the remote controller offers: cine, normal, and sport.
18. Enable phone charging
Although we have come a long way in terms of battery use in our devices, we rarely have enough juice to finish the day without having to recharge them on our power banks.
When we use the DJI Fly app, the phone or tablet uses a lot of battery, this is why it is recommended to activate the Phone Charging option in the control tab of the settings menu. This is automatic on Android devices, but cannot be deactivated (a debate for another day). So, if you own an iOS device, we recommend turning this option on to avoid running out of battery while using DJI Fly.
19. Function button customization
The function button is located next to the left stick of the remote controller. By default, when you push it once it will center the gimbal, and if you push it again, it will set the camera in zenithal view.
But there are two other functions. One is to zoom in on the camera with the wheel. To do it, you have to push and hold the function button, then use the wheel to zoom in and out.
The third and last function happens when you double tap the button. The tap and double tap functions are customizable. To select which function you like the most, go to the settings menu, Control tab, and in button customization, choose the options that you like.
20. Video format
Depending on your needs, you might want to change the format in which your videos are being saved. By default, they are saved as MP4, but you can change it to MOV in the Camera tab, in the settings menu.
21. D-LOG mode
If you need to color-grade your footage for professional reasons, or simply because you enjoy it, activating D-Log mode will store your videos with a higher dynamic and color range. Go to the Camera tab in the settings menu, and select D-Log in the video section to activate it.
22. Coding format
H.264 still remains the standard coding format, but more people are switching to H.265 every day. The H.265 codec gives you between 25% and 50% better data compression at the same level of video quality, which means that your files will look as good, but their weight will be greatly reduced. The downside is that not all video players can reproduce that format.
23. Video bitrate
Not many drones have the option to change the bitrate, but the DJI Mavic 3 does. Bitrate is the amount of data transferred at any given time. In general, a constant bitrate (CBR) will give you better quality, but is not as flexible and light-weighted as a variable bitrate (VBR) file.
To change the bitrate, you need to be in normal color mode (not D-Log). The option is located in the Camera tab in the settings menu.
24. Peaking level
This setting can be found in the Camera tab of the settings menu. There are 4 options to choose from; off, low, normal, or high. When peaking level is enabled, the objects in focus will be highlighted in red. The higher the setting, the thicker the outline.
If you have not yet, you should activate the histogram. This simple tool helps you control the tonal values of your image with a graphical representation. A must-have on your display when shooting in manual mode.
26. Overexposure warning
Underneath the histogram, you can turn on the Overexposure warning. This is useful to know when your image is being overexposed, which will be displayed by zebra lines in the area. Overexposing the image results in an unrecoverable loss of information, so this is a setting to really take into consideration.
Another tool that serves you well is the several gridline options that DJI Fly offers. More specifically, we have 3 different to choose from; rule of thirds, diagonal lines, and central dot. Personally, I like to use the rule of thirds for better image composition, but they are all useful in their own way.
Some of the places we fly have strong interferences, and this can jeopardize our drone operation. In the settings menu, if we go to the transmission tab, we can manually select the frequency range on which our drone will be operating. The included graph helps us see where the signal is stable, and where it is unstable in the frequency spectrum.
29. Checking for updates manually
It will rarely occur that there is an important firmware update and it does not pop up when you start the DJI Fly app. However, it can happen, so you must know where to manually update your aircraft.
To do this, go to the About tab in the settings menu, then tap on Check for updates on either the Aircraft Firmware or FlySafe Database sections.
30. Be careful with intelligent flight modes
Shooting in any of the intelligent flight modes can make our lives so much easier, but also complicate them. As I warned you in this article, the Mavic 3 has a blind spot that can cause the drone to crash in particular situations. My advice would be to not push it to the limit, keep an eye on the obstacle warnings in DJI Fly.
31. Buy the Fly More Combo
We know that the DJI Mavic 3 is a drone intended for professional use, and for a company a few hundred dollars can make all the difference. Even though the Fly More Combo is well worth it, DJI could have done a better job packaging the Mavic 3, as we talked about on this article.
Nevertheless, the Fly More Combo offers great value, and it gives you two extra batteries (among other things) to have more fun or more work, you choose (both?).
DJI Fly common issues
Today, it is hard to see an app released without any issues, as they are complex to develop. Hence, the DJI Fly app has a few reported problems that you should know. These are:
- Not locking the white balance.
- Not zooming properly.
- Not working in full-screen mode.
- Weak signal.
- Complete signal loss.
- Video streaming stuttering.
- Unexpected freezing.
- SD card formatting all of a sudden.
- App crashes.
- Unable to connect to the internet.
- App not showing menus.
- Unresponsive buttons.
DJI Fly app alternatives for the Mavic 3
On the last day of 2021, DJI included Mini 2, Mini SE, and Air 2S in the software development kit (SDK). Many users were expecting DJI to also include the Mavic 3, but we have seen in the past that this usually happens around a year after the product has been released. This was the case with the Mavic Mini, the Mini 2, and others.
We will keep an eye on this. For now, all we can tell you is that, eventually, the Mavic 3 will be included in the SDK, and apps like Litchi, Dronelink, Drone Harmony, Pix4D, UgCS, etc. will support this drone.
The DJI Fly app is the perfect partner for the new DJI Mavic 3, even missing some of the important features that we expected to be included. Nothing that a good old firmware update can’t solve though!
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Image Credit: DJI / App Store