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Can You Fly DJI Drone Without a Phone?

Your smartphone is a pretty ‘needed’ accessory when you are out for a flying session with your DJI drone. Whichever DJI drone you are flying, you need the smartphone to get a live feed of the drone camera and other necessary telemetry data on your phone screen. But, can you fly DJI drone without a phone?

Short answer, you can fly all DJI Drones without a phone just using the remote controller (RC) that comes with the drone. All the controls are on the RC to fly your drone around but you won’t get the live camera feed. Latest DJI Drones also come with a smart remote controller with a built-in screen.

In this guide, I will explain how you can fly any DJI drone without a phone using just the remote controller.

Why you need s smartphone to fly a drone?

All DJI Remote Controllers (RC) come with extendable arms to hold your smartphone or tablet. The smartphone is connected to the RC via an OTG cable and directly feeds the camera live view to your phone screen.

Your phone basically serves as an output device that displays the camera feed as well as important telemetry information like speed, altitude, etc. It also enables you to control how your drones behave by changing different settings inside the DJI Fly App.

You also need your phone to control different flight parameters and functions of the drone like setting it to follow you around or record a video while circling you 360 degrees.

The idea to utilize your existing smartphone to run the drone fly app is actually quite brilliant. Instead of putting an expensive HD screen and processor inside your remote controller (thus increasing the RC price multiple folds), the drone manufacturers just outsourced the processing and display of drone data to your expensive powerful phone that you already paid for. This made drone flying affordable for everyone.

However, in certain conditions, you would wish for an integrated built-in screen RC so that you can fly your drone independent of your phone [Read: 5 drones with a built-in screen on controller].

Can you fly DJI without phone?

A built-in screen would certainly give you more freedom to fly your drone even without a phone. But the good news is that even if you don’t have your phone handy, you can still take your drone in the air, fly it around and land just using your remote controller.

Your smartphone is just an additional accessory that makes flying more enjoyable via live view but it is not absolutely necessary. Here are 3 ways you can fly your drone even without your phone.

Fly using just the controller

While your phone act mainly as an output device that displays the drone live feed and various other parameters, the main controls of the drone are built into the remote controller. Your main input device is the remote controller.

If you only have your remote controller with you, you can still fly your DJI drone around just fine. To do that, just turn on your drone and your remote controller and let the drone connect to the RC. Once it does and you see the green light below your DJI drone, that means you can take off and fly.

Although you can fly your drone with just your remote controller, you will feel limited to just flying around. You won’t be able to take pictures or record aerial videos or do all the other fun stuff like activating follow me mode or active track mode on your drone.

A smartphone certainly makes your flying experience better but it is not necessary to fly your drone.

Fly using a tablet + remote controller

So you don’t have a phone BUT you do have a tablet. You are in luck because you can connect your tablet to your DJI remote controller just like your phone.

On the DJI Fly App page, you will find a list of compatible tablets that you can use with your drone. Just install the DJI Fly App on your table and connect it to your tablet using a compatible OTG cable. The rest of the process is similar to your phone.

If your remote controller arms are extendable as wide as the tablet width, you can hold the tablet with your RC else, you will have to be innovative to hold the RC while you fly your drone with the remote controller. The bigger size of the tablet does make it difficult to hold everything in place.

However, the bigger screen of the tablet does make it more fun to fly the drone. You can draw detailed flight paths, have a better quality picture from the camera feed, and in general, can do much more with the bigger screen.

The DJI Fly App is compatible with both iOS and Android so you can use an Android tablet as well as an iPad. The OS specifications are listed at the end of the DJI Fly App page.

Fly using a smart controller

Most new top-of-the-line DJI drones work with the DJI Smart Controller that has a built-in HD screen. A smart controller totally eliminates the need for having a smartphone to fly your DJI drone. You can just connect your drone with the smart controller and fly it away.

The Smart Controller comes preinstalled with the DJI Fly App and is ready out of the box. You don’t have to install any additional software or Apps to get it working.

Since the screen is integrated inside the remote controller body, it is much more handy compared to the clunky RC+Smartphone setup. Despite being very expensive, It offers the best flying experience.

Can you fly DJI drone without a phone – FAQs

How to fly Mavic pro without phone?

Mavic Pro can be flown with the DJI remote controller in the absence of a smartphone. It will also work with any supported tablet. However, it does not support DJI Smart Controller.

Do you need cell service to fly DJI drone?

You do not need cell service to fly a DJI drone. All you need is a DJI remote controller and a smartphone. However, with cell service, you can perform additional tasks like updating your firmware and broadcasting live from your drone.

How to fly DJI mavic mini without phone?

DJI Mavic Mini can also be flown without a phone using just the remote controller. You can connect a supported tablet with the remote controller if you want. However, it is not supported by the DJI Smart Controller because it doesn’t use OcuSync 2.0 protocol.

Can you fly Mavic 2 without phone?

Yes, you can fly DJI Mavic 2 without a phone. You can either use the simple DJI controller or the DJI Smart Controller to fly Mavic 2. You can also use a compatible tablet with a simple DJI controller to fly it.

Can you fly DJI spark without phone?

DJI Spark can be flown without a phone by using the DJI remote controller that came with it. It does not support the newer DJI Smart controller so you can’t use that.

Can you fly Mavic Air without phone?

You can fly DJI Mavic Air without a phone. You will have to use the DJI simple controller that came with your Mavic Air. However, it does not support the latest DJI Smart Controller.

What is the best phone to use with DJI Mini 2?

DJI Mini 2 can be used with any phone that supports and run the DJI Fly App. For a list of compatible devices, you can check the official DJI Fly App page.

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