Having been flying drones for many years now, I have seen my share of manufacturers publish many versions of their firmware for different kinds of drones. When the time comes to update the firmware for the DJI Mavic 3, how do you do it?
Here’s how to update the firmware for the DJI Mavic 3:
- Power on the drone
- Run the DJI Assistant 2
- Log in and choose the Mavic 3
- Check for firmware updates
- Follow the instructions to update the firmware
In today’s article, I’ll walk you through updating the firmware for the Mavic 3. It can be a bit tricky the first time around, but you’ll be able to figure it out by the time you’re done reading!
If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It …
Firmware upgrades for the latest DJI masterpiece (at least as of this writing), the Mavic 3, are in full swing. I’d say they’re fast and furious even!
The Mavic 3 hit retail shelves in early November 2021.
It is difficult to say exactly which firmware version was on this particular Mavic 3, but since its release, we have seen Mavic 3 firmware updates like the 01.03.0400, 0500, and 0600.
This past summer, the highly-touted 007 update was supposed to address bug fixes and GPS issues.
The latter was really the one that many were waiting for, it seems.
Not so surprisingly, this too was almost immediately followed up with another firmware update, 01.03.0800 (the latest at the time of this article) – that addresses a supposed IMU (compass) calibration issue.
Note: A firmware update often involves updates to several pieces of hardware/software using the same firmware file.
In addition to the drone’s flight systems, we can’t forget that the Mavic 3 Controllers also will require firmware updates, usually simultaneously with the drone firmware update.
Lastly, the FlySafe database will also be updated, presumably to update airport and airspace data for no-fly zones, restrictions, etc.
The DJI Fly app for either iOS or Android should also be updated at this time. The DJI Fly app is not part of the firmware upgrades, though.
To be sure, the firmware updates apply to all of the following:
- Drone system software
- Mavic 3 Standard Controller
- Mavic 3 RC Pro Controller
- Fly Safe Database
How Updating the Mavic 3 Works
There are two proven methods of updating your Mavic 3’s firmware.
- In the DJI Fly app (must be connected to the controller and the Mavic 3)
- Using the DJI Assistant 2 for the Mavic app with a USB cable and the DJI downloads page
Note: Both methods will require a working Internet connection. Also, note that you cannot update the firmware if the remote controller is not linked to the Mavic 3.
How do you know if your firmware needs to be updated?
You will get a Notification of Firmware Upgrade.
If you set up your Mavic 3 to go flying (Mavic 3 and a linked controller are on and communicating normally), one of the first things the system software does is compare the installed firmware versions with the last known firmware upgrade version available.
You can check for available updates. The system (via the About > Safety) screens will notify you that a firmware upgrade is available to your system.
In the past, if the remote and the aircraft were not both upgraded with the latest firmware versions, depending on the drone, the apps would not be operative.
I have not confirmed this with the new DJI Fly app and Mavic 3 at this point.
DJI Fly App Method to Update Firmware
After you have connected the aircraft via your remote controller to DJI Fly, as mentioned, you will be notified on your remote device if a new firmware update is available.
To actually start updating, follow the onscreen instructions to begin the updating procedure.
Again, don’t forget that a valid Internet connection is certainly required.
You can, if you choose to, skip the upgrade entirely at this point and make your own plans to upgrade at some other time.
There are a lot of differing opinions about staying current with firmware upgrades in the UAV software world, and perhaps that should be the basis for an interesting discussion at a later date.
For now, let’s focus on making that update!
Do not attempt to power off the drone or the controller once the upgrade has started.
Remember that either of the two update methods can apply new firmware to both the drone as well as the controller.
The DJI Fly app method will update both the controller and the drone in the same step. You can just update the controller (or the aircraft) separately by using the USB-C cable, but we’ll tackle that in the next section.
When both the Mavic 3 and the controller have completed updating, the drone will beep and reboot itself with the new firmware installed. Go to the System-> About screens to check versions (or learn that new updates are available).
DJI Assistant 2 for Mavic Method to Update Firmware
Another method to update your Mavic 3 is to use the free DJI app known as DJI Assistant 2 for Mavic (link).
DJI Assistant 2 does a few different things, but we will focus on using it to make a firmware upgrade. This method will also allow you to update the Mavic 3 or the controller separately.
You’ll need an internet-connected desktop or laptop computer (running either Windows or Apple operating systems with internet browsers) and cabling (usually USB-A to USB-C and supplied out of the box with your Mavic 3) between your PC to the USB-C port on the back of the drone just above the battery and microSD slot.
- Launch DJI Assistant 2 and log in with your DJI account. You will have created that DJI account when you first activated your Mavic 3.
- Next, power on the aircraft and connect the aircraft to a computer via the USB-C port. Select DJI Mavic 3 and click on Firmware Updates on the left panel.
- The DJI Assistant will guide you to the software library where you can choose the desired update and let the PC – cable – drone connection do the work.
- Select the appropriate firmware version, and the upgrade will begin.
You will have to repeat this configuration for the Mavic 3 Controller as well, which is indeed a separate step.
To do that:
- Power on your remote controller. The controller update will work pretty much the same way except the cabling connection will be from the computer to the bottom of the Mavic 3 controller’s USB-C port. This will also apply to the newly offered compatibility with the DJI RC Pro controller.
- From the DJI Assistant 2 screen, select DJI Mavic 3 Remote Controller and click on Firmware Updates on the left panel.
- Again, select the firmware update from the list that the DJI Assistant 2 page provides for you and click the apply or update button. The firmware will then begin to download.
- When the download completes, the actual update for the remote will start automatically.
- When that finishes, there should be a beep and you can remove the cable and you should be all set to go and test out the new firmware.
- Check your versions (I write them down) on the DJI Fly app “About” screens. Don’t forget to remove the cable!
Note: Make sure you have used the exact same firmware update version for the remote upgrade that you chose for the Mavic 3 aircraft update. Using different firmware updates between the aircraft and the remote will result in issues that will most likely force you to redo the updates or perhaps see some missing functionality supplied by the DJI Fly app.
Note: The aircraft version and the remote version reported in the DJI Fly app will be different even though you are using the same Firmware Update resource.
The aircraft and the remote, after all, are using different pieces of software, both delivered via a sole firmware update and have their own version numbers.
Don’t confuse software versions between different things like aircraft and DJI apps or other third-party software from Firmware Update version identifiers (numbers).
If you enjoy the hobby or profession of drone flight, at this point, you should realize that the DJI product warranties and their respective post-sale programs like DJI Refresh are there to help solve end-user issues and solidify the public’s opinion (and sales) of their products.
When an issue arises, one of the very first questions you’ll hear is, “what firmware are you using?” It will be necessary for the DJI support teams to rule out issues resulting from older firmware versions that weren’t updated, etc.
I hope this article helps you avoid that mistake!