While most drone pilots usually opt for DJI Go 4 or the DJI Fly App as the standard flight app, many pilots are slowly starting to explore alternatives like the DJI Litchi app.
We’ve seen how Litchi compares to the various other apps before on Dronesgator, but we’ve never gone in-depth on all its features and functionalities.
In this article, we’ll explore its main features, go over how to use them, and have a look at some of its downsides, and compatible devices, amongst many other things.
Let’s get to it.
For those who don’t know, Litchi is a popular autonomous flight app for DJI drones, usually an alternative to DJI Go or DJI FLY. The app offers drone pilots the possibility of creating automated missions (using way points), intelligent flight modes, and many more features not available in standard DJI flight apps.
Honestly, it’s hands down one of the best flight control apps, if not the best. I may be biased but I absolutely love how Litchi was able to find a sweet spot between “Highly performant” and “easy to pick up”. Usually the more features and functionalities an app has the more complex it is. Yet the Litchi is extremely intuitive and is a joy to work with.
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The Litchi app is available for both Android and iOS users. Unfortunately, with all the features packed in it it’s not free. The good news however is that it’s only $24.99 for IOS users and $29.99 for android users.
While Litchi has been around for quite a few years, it hasn’t been until recently that they started to support newer DJI drone modes like the DJI Mini 2, Mini SE, or the Mavic Air 2S.
Below is the list of all the currently supported DJI drones by Litchi:
Litchi works for both Android & iOS devices, it is however more compatible with android phones. While it works mostly fine with iOS, there are many unfixed issues that plague iPhone & iPad users when using Litchi.
There is no official information about exactly which devices are compatible with Litchi, but it’s safe to assume that the requirements should be pretty close to those needed to successfully run the DJI Fly app.
Which is a phone or tablet with at least 4 GB of RAM memory, 8 core CPU, and a 64-bit operating system.
First, when starting the Litchi app for the first time after installing it on your device, you’ll have to be connected to the internet in order to register the app with DJI servers.
Registering your Litchi app with DJI servers can be done without being connected to a DJI drone. In fact, you don’t have to do anything, it’s usually done in the background, if the registration failed you will be notified with an error popup.
Note: some Internet connections may have troubles connecting to DJI servers, in such a case make sure to try a different Internet connection (home wifi, mobile data connection, a friend's connection, public wifi, etc).
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To connect using a cable (Mini, Air, Mavic, Phantom 3 Adv/Pro, Phantom 4 and Inspire series), follow these steps:
Here is an official video from Litchi explaining the USB connection process:
To connect using Wi-Fi (Phantom 3 Standard/4K, Spark), follow these steps:
And that’s pretty much it for android devices. Let’s look at the iOS process now.
The process is fairly similar to that of Android devices:
The Litchi app is an alternative to standard DJI flight apps like the GO 4 & Fly App.
The app offers the possibility of creating automated missions (using way points), intelligent flight modes, and many more features not available in standard DJI flight apps.
Let’s take a look at its features and how to use them. The Litchi features we’ll be covering are the following: FPV, waypoint, Mission hub, Follow, Orbit, and VR.
The FPV mode allows you to fly the aircraft manually using the joysticks.
You fly as you would normally do in the DJI Fly or DJI Go app. However, there are a few options that differ from those apps:
Then there is the Litchi Vue which is only available on iOS devices, it allows you to stream your drone’s video footage to a nearby device.
Follow these steps to setup Litchi Vue:
Within the Litchi Vue app, you can enable VR mode for better immersion.
Here is a video from Litchi developers themselves explaining the process:
Available in all flight modes, the VR mode immerses you into a real First Person View, the video stream appears right in front of your eyes.
You also have the ability to control the gimbal by moving your head. To enjoy this feature, you’re going to need both a VR headset and a remote controller.
There are a few settings within the VR mode, settings like:
This is one of the main selling points of Litchi App, and every advanced flight app for that matter. Waypoint mode lets you plan a path made of several waypoints that the drone can then fly autonomously.
Classic waypoint missions can be planned as well as advanced camera moves such as Selfies and Cable Cams.
In Litchi, you can enter waypoint mode by pressing the Flight Mode icon at the top left of the Litchi screen. Select "Waypoint". You can then start editing missions.
Creating your first waypoint mission is quite easy, simply follow these steps:
There are many tweaks and settings that can be made in the waypoint mode that it’d require a whole different article. These settings above however should give you a basic idea on how to conduct your first mission, if you’d like to learn more head over here, to litchi’s official manual.
Did I mention that Litchi allows you to do mission planning on PC? I can’t believe how easy this feature makes things!
The Mission Hub lets you plan waypoint missions from a desktop or laptop PC/Mac.
If you are logged in to your Litchi account, saving a mission will automatically synchronize it across all devices where you are also logged in.
In addition, Mission Hub lets you browse missions from other users around the world or publish your own missions and videos for other users to see.
Mission Hub is pretty straightforward if you have already used the Litchi Waypoints app.
Litchi’s follow me mode has a slight twist to the usual follow me mode found in other apps. Instead of selecting a subject, the drone will follow a device or a pin. The device can be the one controlling the aircraft, or a second one running the Litchi Magic Leash app (only available for Android).
Because it’s easy to crash your drone in this mode, the Litchi devs advise drone pilots to only use it in wide open areas.
To configure this mode, here are a few settings you should be aware of:
If you’d like to learn more about this mode, check out this official Litchi manual.
This is what is commonly known as Point of Interest (POI). Selecting Orbit mode, the aircraft will circle around your chosen set point. You can control or set the gimbal to automatic (like in the Follow mode).
Step 1: Launch the Litchi Drone App and connect your drone. Open the Litchi Drone App on your iOS or Android device and connect your drone. Ensure that your drone is connected to the remote controller and that the app displays the live video feed from the drone's camera.
Step 2: Choose Panorama Mode On the main screen of the Litchi App, you will see various flight modes. Select the "Panorama" mode by tapping on the icon. This will open the panorama settings menu.
Step 3: Configure Panorama Settings In the panorama settings menu, you can configure various parameters for your panorama:
Step 4: Position the Drone Before starting the panorama capture, position your drone at the desired altitude and location. Make sure the drone is hovering steadily and has a strong GPS signal.
Step 5: Start the Panorama Capture Once you have configured the panorama settings and positioned your drone, tap the "Start" button on the screen. The drone will automatically start capturing images according to the configured settings. It will rotate and tilt the camera as necessary to capture the entire panorama.
Step 6: Stop the Panorama Capture (Optional) If you need to stop the panorama capture for any reason, tap the "Stop" button on the screen. The drone will immediately halt the process and return to its normal hovering state.
Step 7: Retrieve the Images After completing the panorama capture, land your drone safely and retrieve the images from the drone's SD card. The images will be saved as individual files, ready for post-processing.
Step 8: Stitch the Images Use a panorama stitching software, such as PTGui, Microsoft Image Composite Editor (ICE), or Adobe Lightroom, to stitch the images together and create the final panoramic image. Adjust the stitching parameters as needed to ensure a seamless and visually appealing panorama.
The DJI Smart Controller can be used with the Litchi App, but with some limitations and caveats. It is important to keep the DJI Smart Controller's firmware up-to-date and install the appropriate version of the Litchi App to ensure the best possible compatibility. However, be prepared for potential performance issues and feature limitations when using the Litchi App with the DJI Smart Controller.
To use the Litchi App with the DJI Smart Controller, you will need to follow these steps:
Limitations and Caveats: While the Litchi App can be installed and used on the DJI Smart Controller, the experience may not be as seamless as using the app on a separate smartphone or tablet. There may be occasional performance issues, such as lag or reduced responsiveness, due to the hardware limitations of the DJI Smart Controller.
Additionally, certain features and functionalities of the Litchi App may not work optimally with the DJI Smart Controller, or they may require manual adjustments to settings within the app to function properly.
The Litchi Beta App is a separate version of the popular Litchi Drone App that allows users to test and experience new features, improvements, and bug fixes before they are released in the stable version of the app.
As a beta tester, you can provide valuable feedback to the Litchi development team, helping them refine and optimize the app's performance and functionality.
Key Features of the Litchi Beta App: The Litchi Beta App offers several key features that are not yet available in the stable version of the app:
How to Join the Litchi Beta Program: To become a Litchi Beta App tester, follow these steps:
For Android Users:
For iOS Users: The Litchi Beta App for iOS is available through Apple's TestFlight program. To join, follow these steps:
As we approach the end of this article, it seems only natural to ask this question. Seeing as this app costs a minimum $24 for both iOS & Android users and how many apps are similar, you might wonder if it’s worth the price.
My personal thought: it’s 100% worth every penny… but ONLY if you’re an advanced drone pilot.
Beginner drone pilots will find it filled with features they don’t even need, which might overwhelm them and do more harm than good to their learning process.