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how to fly a drone with your phone

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Smartphones and drones is a match made in technology heaven. After flying my first drone with nothing but a controller, I got a fancy new drone with cool autonomous flying features that could be controlled through a phone app. First things first, I had to learn how to connect my drone to my phone. I did some research and found that for just about every single drone brand, the process is exactly the same.

The general steps for connecting your drone to your phone are:

  1. Download the mobile app for your particular drone brand and model.
  2. Power on your drone
  3. Go to your phone’s WiFi settings and connect to your drone’s WiFi network
  4. Go into your drone’s mobile app and follow the setup, calibration and configuration procedures
  5. Start flying!

Some of the most popular drone brands are listed below with their mobile apps and brand specific connection steps.

[This post may contain affiliate links to recommended products. That means if you purchase something I recommend through my link, I may receive a small commission. It doesn’t cost you anything extra and helps me pay for all the coffee I drink writing these blog posts. So help a brother out if you can!]

Do you need to connect your drone to your phone?

It entirely depends on what drone you have. Some drones are meant to be controlled entirely with a phone. Some allow for both a phone and controller, and some just require a controller.

Unless you built your drone from scratch, chances are good that your drone has a compatible mobile app that pairs your phone with your drone.

The most common reasons to use a phone connected to your drone are:

  • First person view camera: This allows you to see what the drone sees as you fly around. This doesn’t always mean you control the drone with your phone, some drones will have a controller with a clip for your phone to provide a viewing screen.
  • GPS controls: A lot of the modern drones have autonomous flying capabilities like active tracking, draw a flight path, or even just return to home. All of this is extremely easy to control with a touch screen phone.
  • Flight controls: Some drones allow for the use of your phone as an actual controller. With on screen controls overlayed on the first person video, you can fly your drone without having a separate bulky controller.
  • Diagnostic data and setup: Another key feature of most drone apps is the ability to setup and configure your drone with your phone as well as pull diagnostic data.

The most common scenarios are wanting to connect your drone camera to your phone or wanting to control your drone with your phone.

How do I connect my drone camera to my phone?

First of all, does your drone have a camera? Seriously I had to ask.

drone camera connect to phone

If your drone came with a camera, your drone almost definitely has a mobile app. Check your drone’s manual or look below to see if your drone brand is covered in this article. Download your drone’s mobile app.

Then after powering on your drone, go to your phone’s WiFi settings and connect to your drone’s WiFi network.

After successfully connecting, go into your drone’s mobile app and complete any setup and configuration steps.

After that is all complete, you should be able to see the live video stream from your drone. You can now fly with confidence as you see what the drone sees. Some drone apps also allow for video recording, autonomous flying modes and more. Explore all the features and functionality your particular drone app has to offer.

How do I control my drone with my phone?

Depending on your particular drone, controlling your drone with your phone could mean different things. For DJI drones, your phone is used for the live video streaming, recording and autonomous flying. For Parrot drones, you also control the drones flights with onscreen “joysticks”.

You will have to download your drone’s mobile app first, power on your drone and connect to its WiFi network with your phone.

If you have a DJI or similar drone that requires the use of the phone in tandem with a controller, you may have to plug your phone into the controller as well.

Flying your drone with just your phone is cool but getting used to onscreen controls can take awhile. Also, remember that you are limited in range by the WiFi signal produced by your drone. A radio controller will give you a much longer range.

How to connect drone to Android phone?

If you are on an Android device, you can connect your drone by:

  1. Go to Play Store and download your drone’s respective app
  2. Power on your drone
  3. Go to Settings > Network & Internet > WiFi
  4. Select your drone’s WiFi network and connect with the passphrase provided with your drone’s manual
  5. Go into the mobile app and complete any setup, calibration and configuration steps
  6. Get to flying!

How to connect drone to iPhone?

If you are on an iPhone, you can connect your drone by:

  1. Go to App Store and download your drone’s respective app
  2. Power on your drone
  3. Go to Settings > WiFi
  4. Select your drone’s WiFi network and connect with the passphrase provided with your drone’s manual
  5. Go into the mobile app and complete any setup, calibration and configuration steps
  6. Have fun flying!

Can you use drone without WiFi?

Absolutely! But you need to have a drone with a radio controller. As long as you have a controller like the Taranis QX7, you can fly a drone all you want without WiFi because your controller uses radio waves.

taranis qx7 transmitter

WiFi is only necessary to connect your phone to your drone. This is necessary for most autonomous flying functionality as well as streaming video from your drone for a first person flying experience and video recording.

Some drones are controlled exclusively through mobile apps so WiFi is required.

There is a distinction worth noting though. When you are connecting to your drone through WiFi, it has NOTHING to do with your home internet or anything like that. You are actually connecting directly to your drone’s WiFi.

You can be in the middle of nowhere. Access to internet is not necessary for flying your drone. It sounds confusing but it is really simple. Think of your drone’s WiFi just as a way to connect to your drone wirelessly. It has absolutely zero to do with internet or phone service or anything like that.

How do I connect my remote to my drone?

So you want to fly without Wifi and only want to use a remote controller, you still need to connect your remote to your drone.

Every drone and controller have their own specific set up process. Some require the use of a mobile app and some require some combination of button pressing and holding to pair the remote with the drone.

Reference your manual to see how your particular drone and remote setup works. You can also reference the almighty Google with a search like “how to pair [insert your remote brand and model] to [insert your drone brand and model]”.

How to connect Parrot drone to phone?

If you are trying to connect your Parrot drone to your phone, you need to:

  1. Download the FreeFlight Pro app on Android or iPhone
  2. Turn on your drone
  3. Go to your phone’s WiFi settings and connect to your Parrot drone’s wifi network with the passphrase provided with your drone
  4. Go into the FreeFlight Pro app and complete any setup, calibration and configuration steps
  5. Start flying!

How to connect Hubsan drone to phone?

If you are trying to connect your Hubsan drone to your phone, you need to:

  1. Download the X Hubsan app on Android or iPhone
  2. Turn on your drone
  3. Go to your phone’s WiFi settings and connect to your Hubsan drone’s wifi network with the passphrase provided with your drone
  4. Go into the X Hubsan app and complete any setup, calibration and configuration steps
  5. Start flying!

How to connect DJI drone to phone?

If you are trying to connect your DJI drone to your phone, you need to:

  1. Download the correct mobile app for your particular DJI drone model
    1. For the Mavic series, Spark and Phantom 4, download the DJI Go 4 app on Android or iPhone
    2. For the Phantom 3, Matrice series and Osmo series, download the DJI Go app on Android or iPhone
    3. For the Ronin series, download the DJI Ronin app on Android or iPhone
    4. For DJI enterprise drones, download the DJI Pilot app for Android or iPhone
    5. For the Mavic Mini and Mavic Air 2, download the DJI Fly app for Android or iPhone
  2. Turn on your drone
  3. Go to your phone’s WiFi settings and connect to your DJI drone’s wifi network with the passphrase provided with your drone
  4. Go into the DJI app and complete any setup, calibration and configuration steps
  5. Start flying!

How to connect Syma drone to phone?

If you are trying to connect your Syma drone to your phone, you need to:

  1. Download the Syma FPV app on Android or iPhone
  2. Turn on your drone
  3. Go to your phone’s WiFi settings and connect to your Syma drone’s wifi network with the passphrase provided with your drone
  4. Go into the Syma FPV app and complete any setup, calibration and configuration steps
  5. Start flying!

How to connect Snaptain drone to phone?

If you are trying to connect your Snaptain drone to your phone, you need to:

  1. Download the Snaptain Era app on Android or iPhone
  2. Turn on your drone
  3. Go to your phone’s WiFi settings and connect to your Snaptain drone’s wifi network with the passphrase provided with your drone
  4. Go into the Snaptain Era app and complete any setup, calibration and configuration steps
  5. Start flying!

How to connect any drone to phone?

If you are trying to connect a drone from a different manufacturer than those listed above to your phone, you need to:

  1. Read the manual and download the respective app on Android or iPhone
  2. Turn on your drone
  3. Go to your phone’s WiFi settings and connect to your drone’s wifi network with the passphrase provided with your drone
  4. Go into the app and complete any setup, calibration and configuration steps
  5. Start flying!

Troubleshooting

troubleshooting how to connect drone to phone

My drone won’t connect to WiFi

If you are having trouble connecting to your drone’s WiFi, there a couple things you can try.

If your drone has a WiFi switch on board, try toggling it off and back on.

If your drone’s WiFi network is not showing up on your phone, try turning your drone off and back on again.

If you are having trouble connecting your drone’s WiFi, try “forgetting” the network or restarting your phone.

Hopefully one of these solutions will work for you. If not, contact support for your particular drone to see if they can help connect your drone to your phone.

My drone won’t connect to phone

If you are successfully connected to your drone’s WiFi but you can’t see to get the mobile app to connect to the drone, there are few things worth trying.

Make sure you are turning everything on and connecting things in the correct order per your manual’s guidance.

Some of these mobile apps are finicky and reinstalling the app will resolve the issue.

If you are still having trouble connecting your drone to your phone, contact support to see if they can help resolve your issue.

Connecting your drone to your phone is EASY!

So fortunately, the process of connecting your drone to your phone is pretty similar across drone manufacturers. Unfortunately, they all have different apps with varying levels of quality and support. And keeping mobile apps bug-free is super difficult as each phone model behaves differently and operating system versions change so frequently.

If you have a relatively up to date phone, a quality drone like the Mavic Air 2 , and you make sure to have the latest version of your drone’s mobile app downloaded, you should have no problems connecting your drone to your phone and enjoying all the features and functionality that your drone has to offer!

So now that you got your drone connected to your phone, it is time to learn how to fly! Check out this ultimate Drone Flying 101 course by Pilot Institute when you are ready!

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