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Best Apps for DJI Drones in 2024 (that make a difference)

Updated in 2024 by Paul Posea
best apps for dji drones

Have you finally got your hands on your favorite DJI drone that had been on the wishlist for a while?

If so, there is a good chance that you are already on the quest to find the perfect companion app for your drone. Good for you as you are on the right track!

DJI has gone beyond the bounds in creating an unbeatable position in the drone market. Along with their extraordinary drones, the manufacturers have also developed control system apps as well.

But your options don’t end there. Most DJI drones are compatible with a variety of third-party apps as well. These alternatives have also gained popularity in recent years. They offer some outstanding features that are used to operate DJI drones.

In this article, I'll introduce you to the top apps for DJI drones in 2024. Whether you're flying for fun or professionally, these apps will make your experience smoother and more creative. Let's dive in and discover the best app to enhance your drone adventures!

What are the best Apps for DJI Drones?

A large part of this post will be about the best apps for DJI drones — both created by manufacturers and third parties. Here’s everything you need to know about them.

Some of the best apps for DJI drones include DJI GO 4, DJI Fly, Autopilot, Litchi, and UGCS. These apps help in making the most out of your drone experience by offering unique varieties of flight features and shooting modes — all simply from the access of your smartphone.

DJI GO 4: This is my go-to app. It's super easy to use and has loads of features like live streaming, keeping track of your flight, and really cool camera controls. It works with most DJI drones and is great for both newbies and pros.

DJI Fly: If you're new to drones, this app is a great start. It's really simple, has helpful guides on how to fly, and works with the newest DJI drones like the Mavic Mini and Mavic Air 2.

Litchi: This one's for the creative folks. It has advanced stuff like flying to specific points, following objects, and even VR. It works with lots of DJI drones and is awesome for planning smooth flights.

Autopilot: For the experts out there, Autopilot is amazing. It has complex flight modes and automatic shooting options, perfect for professional photos and videos.

So, these are the apps that I think really stand out for DJI drones. Each one has something special, depending on what you need.

Best Apps for DJI Drones (Detailed Review)

1. DJI GO 4

DJI GO 4

I've been using the DJI GO 4 app for my drone flights, and it's been quite the game-changer. Let me share some insights and scenarios that highlight what you can do with this app, mixing in a bit of my own experience.

A D V A N T A G E S

  • User-Friendly Interface
  • Comprehensive Feature Set
  • Reliable Performance

D I S A D V A N T A G E S

  • Limited complex flight modes for experienced users
  • Compatibility Issues with newer models

Features

  • Live Streaming: Imagine sharing a live feed of a concert or a sports event from above. I did something similar at a local beach event, and the live aerial view was a hit among my friends.
  • Flight Data Logging: This feature is great for reviewing your flights. It's like having a flight diary that helps you improve your piloting skills over time.
  • Advanced Camera Controls: Whether you're capturing the golden hues of a sunrise or the intricate patterns of a cityscape, these controls let you tweak every aspect of your shot for that perfect image.
  • Intelligent Flight Modes: I used ActiveTrack during a hiking trip, and it flawlessly followed me through the trail. 
  • Real-Time Map and Telemetry: It's reassuring to always know where your drone is, especially in unfamiliar or crowded areas.

Pricing & Accessibility:

Being free, it's a great choice for DJI drone owners looking for a cost-effective solution.

Recommended for Specific DJI Drone Series

  • Mavic Series: Ideal for capturing stunning landscapes and urban scenes.
  • Phantom Series: Great for those into more professional drone filmmaking.
  • Inspire Series: Perfect for advanced users who need finer control over their drone's capabilities.

Overall, the DJI GO 4 app has significantly enhanced how I use my drone, from planning flights to capturing and sharing incredible footage. It's like having a versatile co-pilot that helps you explore the full potential of your drone.

2. DJI Fly

DJI Fly

This app is a testament to DJI's commitment to making drone flying more accessible, especially for those who are new to this hobby. 

It's not as feature-rich as the DJI GO 4, but it strikes a perfect balance between functionality and user-friendliness. It's particularly well-suited for the newer, compact DJI drone models (Mavic Mini, Mavic Air Series, and DJI FPV).

A great part of this app focuses on providing integrated access to SkyPixel. It is a social media platform that allows users to share their pictures and video masterpieces captured from your drone, all across the world. You can not only browse or post, but can also save your favorite photography spots near you to explore later on.

It also features three unique modes that are special for the Mavic Mini and Mavic Air Series. These include Position Mode for stable shots, Sport Mode for speedious shots, and CineSmooth mode for cinematic footage.

Plus, it also provides live reports of the flights which include aircraft status, RTH altitude, Max Altitude, and Max Distance.

A D V A N T A G E S

  • User-Friendly Design: This app is a boon for newcomers to drone flying. Its straightforward design makes the learning curve much gentler.
  • Educational Content: The in-app tutorials are well-crafted. They're an excellent resource for anyone starting out with drones.
  • Lightweight and Efficient: It's less resource-intensive than more complex apps, which I found beneficial during long flying sessions.

D I S A D V A N T A G E S

  • Limited Advanced Features: For professional pilots or those seeking in-depth flight planning and complex camera controls, this app might feel a bit limiting.
  • Device Compatibility: In my experience, and from feedback I've gathered, there are occasional compatibility issues with certain smartphone models.

Features

  • Intuitive User Interface: The simplicity of the interface is remarkable. It's streamlined and easy to navigate, which I found very helpful during test flights.
  • Flight Tutorials: The step-by-step guides are excellent.
  • Advanced Camera and Flight Settings: While these are simpler than those in DJI GO 4, they still offer a good range of control for both camera and flight, which I found sufficient for most casual flying scenarios.
  • Flight Recording: Being able to record and review flight paths is a great feature.
  • Integrated Flight Safety Features: The safety features, including geofencing and real-time airspace information, are crucial. 

Pricing

The app is free, making it an accessible option for all DJI drone users, particularly those just starting out.

Recommended for Specific DJI Drone Series

  • Mavic Mini and Mini 2: The app integrates seamlessly with these models.
  • Mavic Air 2: It complements the capabilities of the Mavic Air 2 very well.
  • DJI Mini SE: For those using the entry-level Mini SE, this app provides a simplified yet effective flying experience.

In conclusion, the DJI Fly app is an excellent choice for drone enthusiasts who are new to the scene or prefer a more straightforward flying experience. It's user-friendly, packed with essential features, and free, making it a great starting point for anyone venturing into the world of drone flying.

3. Autopilot

Autopilot

This app is a powerhouse for drone pilots and filmmakers who need that extra level of control and precision. It's packed with advanced features, making it a go-to choice for complex cinematic shots and detailed surveying tasks. 

While it's not the easiest for beginners and comes with a price tag, for pros who need top-tier control and customization, Autopilot is a standout option. It's particularly effective with high-end DJI drones, allowing you to fully tap into the capabilities of their professional gear.

A D V A N T A G E S

  • Advanced Functionality: It's a treasure trove of features for professional pilots and filmmakers.
  • Customizable Options: The customization possibilities for both flight and camera settings are extensive and very useful in my professional projects.
  • High Precision and Control: For tasks that require exact movements and specific camera angles, this app is ideal.

D I S A D V A N T A G E S

  • Steep Learning Curve: Its complexity can be daunting for newcomers to advanced drone operation.
  • Price: The cost of $29.99 might be a barrier for hobbyists or casual users.
  • Device Performance: The app's advanced features demand a lot from mobile devices, which could be an issue on older models.

Features

  • Complex Flight Modes: The advanced modes like Follow, Orbit, Waypoint, and Focus are fantastic for dynamic shooting. I've used these for intricate aerial cinematography with great success.
  • Automated Shooting Options: This feature allows for pre-set camera movements and flight paths. It's a game-changer for capturing cinematic shots with consistency.
  • Flight Planning: Being able to plan flights with detailed waypoints and actions is invaluable for complex projects. I've found this feature particularly useful for surveying and mapping tasks.
  • Precision Flight Control: Let's say that you are going up on a hill with your drone connected to this app, as well as in the Follow Me mode. Now, Autopilot comes with a built-in barometer. Along with following you, your drone will also adjust its height. By doing this, your focal object will remain the pivot of your shot.
  • Airspace:Airspace is another cool feature that this app offers. It will allow you to spectate another drone from your app. 
  • Real-Time Telemetry and Map Overlay: The detailed flight data and live map enhance situational awareness, a must-have for safe and precise operations.
  • Screen Recording: You can even record your screen during mission planning and flights. This is helpful in the learning process and you can always go back to your older mission setups whenever needed.

Pricing

Autopilot is a paid app, priced at $29.99. It's a significant investment but offers great value for professional use.

Recommended for Specific DJI Drone Series

  • Phantom Series: It shines with the Phantom 4 series, providing precise control for professional filming.
  • Mavic Series: Works well with various Mavic models, including Mavic Pro and Mavic 2, enhancing their versatility for advanced users.
  • Inspire Series: Perfectly suited for Inspire 1 and 2, leveraging their advanced camera systems for high-end cinematography.

In summary, from my extensive use and testing, Autopilot is a top-tier alternative app for professional drone pilots and filmmakers. Its range of advanced features and precise control capabilities make it a worthy investment for those looking to push the boundaries of what's possible with drone technology. While it's not the most beginner-friendly and comes with a cost, the value it brings to professional drone operations is undeniable.

4. Litchi

Litchi

Many people are looking for good customizability but do not have the luxury (or inclination!) to invest a lot of learning time in apps like Autopilot. If that’s the case for you as well, I think Litchi will be a better alternative for you.

With this app, there are so many extraordinary things that I need to highlight. You’ll find a walkthrough video below.

As I mentioned earlier, Litchi is particularly easier to navigate. While it doesn’t offer as wide a horizon of customization as Autopilot, it still has numerous other features. Allow me to put some light on them.

A D V A N T A G E S

  • Creative Flight Options: The variety of flight modes and camera controls opens up a world of creative possibilities.
  • User Interface: Despite its many features, the interface remains relatively intuitive, which I found user-friendly.
  • Versatility: It's suitable for a wide range of applications, from casual photography to professional filming.

D I S A D V A N T A G E S

  • Complexity for Beginners: New drone pilots might find the advanced features a bit overwhelming at first.
  • Device Compatibility: There have been some reports of issues with specific smartphone models.
  • Price: As a paid app, it might not be the first choice for casual users.

Features 

  • Image stability: It has features that allow automatic gimbal adjustments of the object of interest. You can also smoothen out your shots further using Orbit, Track, and Focus. 
  • Waypoint Navigation: Setting up intricate flight paths with multiple waypoints is straightforward. I've used this for detailed aerial surveys and cinematic sequences.
    Interestingly, it will also pinpoint the best gimbal angles for the route of your flight. You can stick to the automation, or can even override the controls manually so that they fit your needs.
  • Tracking Modes: The follow me, orbit, and waypoint modes are fantastic for dynamic shooting. These are surprisingly useful if you’re looking for a steadier shot and don’t trust your flight skills as much.
  • VR Support: You can put your phone in a VR case and have an FPV like experience with DJI drones. Being shaded on your face helps  in sunny days where you can’t see much on the phone.
  • Desktop mode: Litchi comes with a desktop program as well. This allows you to plan your flight from your PC/Mac way more easily rather than having to fiddle through your mobile screen. Once your mission is saved, you can access it from your phone too.
  • Record screen: Litchi allows you to screen record your in-app activities, just the way Autopilot does. Plus, it also creates a readable flight log so that you can have a post-flight analysis.
  • Panorama and Time-lapse: Creating panoramic shots and time-lapse videos is easy and produces professional-quality results.
  • Advanced Camera Controls: The detailed settings are perfect for professional-grade photography and videography, offering a level of control that I appreciate in my work.

Pricing & Value:

Litchi is a paid app, priced at $24.99 for Android and $22.99 for iOS. The investment is justified by the features it offers.

Recommended for Specific DJI Drone Series

  • Mavic Series: It works well with various Mavic models, enhancing their capabilities.
  • Phantom Series: Ideal for Phantom 3 and 4, especially for leveraging their advanced camera features
  • Inspire Series: Compatible with Inspire 1 and 2, it enhances their potential for professional filming.
  • Spark: It brings enhanced control and creative options to the DJI Spark.

In conclusion, from my extensive testing and experience, Litchi stands out as a highly versatile and feature-rich app for DJI drone pilots. Its ability to cater to both creative and professional needs makes it a top choice for those serious about drone photography and videography. The investment in Litchi is well worth it for the advanced capabilities and creative freedom it offers.

5. UGCS (Universal Ground Control Software)

UGCS

UGCS is a professional-grade ground control software for DJI drones. It's tailored for advanced users and is particularly useful in commercial settings like surveying, construction, and agriculture.

Like Litchi, UGCS also has both desktop and Android versions. The mobile version is only the tip of the iceberg, designed to create instant access to your drone. While you can use it as a stand-alone app for your DJI drone, UGCS is a powerful flight planning software when combined with the desktop version as well..

UGCS stands out for its comprehensive flight planning capabilities and the ability to manage multiple drones simultaneously, making it a top choice in professional circles. While its complexity and cost might deter casual users, for professionals who need detailed mission planning and execution, UGCS is unmatched in its functionalities. 

Its compatibility with a range of DJI drones makes it a versatile tool in various professional workflows.

A D V A N T A G E S

  • Comprehensive Flight Planning: UGCS offers some of the most extensive tools for mission planning, surpassing many other drone apps.
  • Professional Applications: It's specifically designed for industrial and commercial use, providing essential functionalities for these sectors.
  • Multi-Drone Management: The capability to manage multiple drones is invaluable for complex operations and is a unique feature of UGCS.

D I S A D V A N T A G E S

  • Complexity and Learning Curve: It's not beginner-friendly and requires a significant amount of time to master.
  • Price: As a professional-grade tool, it comes with a higher price tag, which may not be suitable for hobbyists.
  • Hardware Requirements: Optimal performance demands robust computing power, which might require additional hardware investment.

Features 

  • Advanced Flight Planning: The ability to pre-plan complex flight routes with customizable waypoints is a game-changer. I've seen it used effectively in detailed surveying missions.
    It features outstanding intelligent modes including Waypoints, Circle, Perimeter, and Area Scan tools. These modes, together, allow for one of the most versatile photography and videography settings.
  • Photogrammetry Tool: This is ideal for creating 3D models and maps, crucial in industries like construction and surveying.
  • Telemetry Data Logging: The detailed flight data recording is invaluable for analysis and ensuring compliance in commercial operations.
  • Other tools: It also provides drone survey planning tools, facade scan tools and post-flight analytic tools.
  • Multi-Drone Control: Managing multiple drones simultaneously is a standout feature, especially useful in large-scale operations like agricultural monitoring.
  • 3D mission planning: It’s similar to the Google Earth interface, where you can plan your flight from a much more realistic perspective. Plus, you can view different angles and look out for terrains and buildings.
  • Terrain Following: The software's ability to adjust flight paths based on terrain data ensures safety and accuracy, a feature I found impressive in varied landscapes.

Pricing & Value:

UGCS has various pricing plans, including a free version with limited features and more advanced paid versions. The pricing, such as $65, $600, and $2000, depends on the specific needs and scale of operations.

Recommended for Specific DJI Drone Series

  • Phantom Series: Particularly effective with the Phantom 4 in professional surveying and mapping.
  • Mavic Series: Enhances the capabilities of Mavic Pro and other models for commercial use.
  • Inspire Series: Ideal for Inspire 1 and 2, especially in professional cinematography and 3D mapping.
  • Matrice Series: Perfectly suited for the Matrice range, commonly used in industrial applications.

In summary, from my extensive experience and testing, UGCS is a top-tier software for professional drone operations. Its range of advanced features and ability to handle complex, large-scale missions make it a valuable asset in professional settings. While it requires a significant investment in both time and money, the functionalities and efficiencies it brings to commercial drone operations are unparalleled.

Is there an alternative to the DJI Fly app?

Having tested various drone apps beyond the popular DJI Fly, I've found that each offers unique features catering to different needs. Here's a quick rundown of my experiences with some notable alternatives:

Autopilot: This app is a step up for those who need more than what DJI Fly offers. Its complex flight modes and precision controls are perfect for advanced pilots. I particularly enjoyed its automated shooting options for capturing intricate shots.

Litchi: Litchi is a fantastic choice for creative flying. Its waypoint navigation and VR support really stand out. The advanced camera controls allowed me to capture some stunning panoramic shots and time-lapses.

UGCS (Universal Ground Control Software): For professional-grade flight planning, UGCS is unmatched. Managing multiple drones and navigating complex terrain was seamless. It's an ideal tool for commercial applications like surveying and mapping.

AirMap: Flying in regulated airspaces can be challenging, but AirMap made it easier with its real-time airspace information. It's a must-have for staying compliant and safe, especially in busy or restricted areas.

Hover: Hover is great for pre-flight checks. Its weather updates, no-fly zone maps, and flight logs provided me with essential information to ensure safe and informed flying sessions.

Each of these apps enhanced my drone flying experience in different ways. Whether you're into hobbyist flying, professional filmmaking, or commercial operations, these alternatives to the DJI Fly app offer valuable functionalities to suit various needs. From advanced flight planning to airspace safety, they truly expand what you can achieve with your DJI drone.

Do you need an app to fly a DJI drone?

Having explored a lot about various apps compatible with DJI drones, a key question comes up, do you really need a DJI alternative app to fly your drone?

While it's not absolutely necessary to have an app to fly a DJI drone, I highly recommend it. The reason is simple: these apps, including DJI alternative apps, significantly enhance your flying experience. Flying without an app means you're missing out on smart flight modes and crucial safety features, like the Return To Home function.

No matter how skilled you are as a pilot, there's always a chance of making a mistake. These apps, especially DJI alternative apps, help reduce those errors, leading to safer and more efficient flights. What's more, you can even use multiple apps simultaneously to access the best features each has to offer. So, in my view, using a DJI alternative app can really take your drone flying to the next level.

Are drone apps free?

Not every drone app comes for free. While you can start with no-cost options like DJI GO 4, DJI Fly, and DroneDeploy, which are great for getting your feet wet, you'll find that prices start to vary as you look for more feature-rich apps. For instance, apps like Litchi and Autopilot will cost you under $30. I found these to be a good balance between cost and functionality.

Then, there are the higher-end apps. Some of these can cost up to $2000, offering a suite of advanced features. But here's my take: if you're just starting out or flying drones as a hobby, you might not need to invest in these expensive apps. When I felt ready to move beyond the basics, apps like Autopilot and Litchi were perfect for stepping up my game without breaking the bank.

Remember, drone apps don't have to be super fancy or expensive, especially if you're not flying professionally. If you're an expert or a professional pilot, then it might make sense to look at the higher-priced apps. But for most enthusiasts, the less expensive or free apps should cover all your needs.

Can you use any app to fly a drone?

There are many drone apps available in the market. Here’s how you can know which one will work for your drone.

As a general rule, to fly a drone, the app needs to be compatible with the drone model. Every action taken in the app is translated in such a way that it is understood by the drone. Thus it is highly important to make sure that the app you use corresponds with the model.

Once the compatibility matches, you can link your drone to that particular app. Here are few alternative apps that sometimes work better than DJI official app. 

You must note that not all apps will offer this compatibility. Drone apps are specific in this regard, therefore, it is always a good idea to cross-check before investing in one.

Conclusion 

Wrapping up, I hope this guide helps you find the perfect app for your DJI drone. Whether you're a beginner or a pro, there's something for everyone. Remember, while apps like DJI GO 4 and DJI Fly are free and great for starters, exploring paid apps like Litchi or Autopilot can really up your game. 

They offer advanced features that can transform your flying experience. But don't worry if you're just starting out or flying for fun – the free apps will serve you well. Think of these apps as tools to unlock your drone's full potential, making your flying safer, more efficient, and a lot more fun. So go ahead, try them out, and see how they can enhance your drone adventures!

faq what should you look for in a drone

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section we'll answer all questions related to the above article:

Do I need to pay for the DJI Fly app?

No, the DJI Fly app is free. You can download it from the App Store or Google Play without any cost.

Is there one app that works for all drones?

No, there isn't a universal app for all drones. Each brand usually has its own app, like DJI's apps for their drones.

What's a drone mobile app?

A drone mobile app lets you control your drone from your smartphone, view the camera feed, and access flight data and settings.

Do I have to use the drone maker's app to fly?

It's recommended but not required. Manufacturer apps offer full features, but third-party apps can be used for additional functionalities.

Is an app necessary to fly a drone?

Not always. Basic drones can be flown with just a controller, but for advanced features like live streaming or flight data, an app is needed.

author-paul-posea-picture
Hi, I'm Paul.
A big drone enthusiast, reviewing, comparing and writing about drones since 2015. I'm all about helping people enjoy and even monetize their hobby.

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paul posea
Paul Posea
Hi, I'm a long-time drone reviewer and I hope my articles and comparisons on this site as well as Dronesgator's youtube channel are of as much help as possible.
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