If your drone suffers from a crash, or in fact just flies away, the ‘Find My Drone‘ feature on the DJI Fly or DJI Go 4 app might just help you recover it. Today’s post will be covering everything you need to know about using DJI’s Find My Drone feature and includes real-life scenarios, FAQs, and step-by-step instructions on how to operate the app.
Let’s take a look.
Working in a similar capacity to the find my phone feature on iPhones, find my drone uses GPS services to track the last known position of your drone. It was first launched back in 2017, shortly after the DJI Go 4 App was announced.
There are some limitations to it, however. The drone determines the position only when you’re connected to the DJI Fly or DJI Go 4 App, so, if you do crash, the drone could be further away from your last known location than you’d expect. Luckily, if the drone is still powered on after a crash, you should be able to locate it fairly easily.
Whilst find my drone is active, you’ll be able to see your position in relation to the drone’s last known position to make it easier to find.
Next, I’ll take you through five simples steps of using find my drone. Here we use Mavic Air and DJI GO 4 app to show you how to do it.
Step 1 Power on your drone and remote controller, head to the welcome screen on the DJI Go 4 App after they are connected.
Step 2 Tap the Profile menu in the bottom left-hand corner.
Step 3 Click on Find My Drone
Note: You can also get to Find My Drone by tapping on the 3 dots menu on the main flight screen -> Safety -> Find My Drone
A map will load up and you’ll see a blue dot and a blue triangle. The blue triangle represents the last known position of the drone and the blue dot is your location. Of course, it helps to be flying your drone in an area with a good GPS signal and minimal interference. You’ll also be able to see how long it’s been missing.
Step 4 Then, use the map to navigate towards the drone.
Obviously, the above is not always that simple. If your drone crashes into a forest or some long grass, it can be hard to actually see where it is.
Thankfully, DJI has thought about this and has some other handy features to help you locate the drone.
If you get near to your drone, but it’s covered by tall grass or other things, you can tap on the ‘Start Flashing and Beeping‘ button, so you will hear the beeping sound. If you are in a low-light environment, the flashing lights will also be helpful for you to locate the drone.
After you tap on Find My Drone, you’ll see some extra information about the drone on the main screen.
The signal icon shows the strength of the connection between the drone and the remote. The blue circle shows the battery level of the drone.
The H button (Number 1) opens up two options: H will center the map onto yourself (current location). The arrow centralizes the drone.
The triangle button (Number 2) is the compass heading lock. It stops the map from moving as you change your position, you may or may not find this helpful. It’s just personal preference.
The layers icon (Number 3) allows you to see both satellite and hybrid views of the map which will help you familiarize yourself with the terrain you’re in and if there are any additional footpaths not highlighted on one of the maps.
The image icon (Number 4) is located in the bottom right of the screen and will open up the camera on the drone so you can try to figure out its exact position. i.e. if it’s in a tree, or on the ground. If you’re lucky enough to be walking right in front of it, you’ll capture that too.
If you read our article on ATTI mode, you’ll know that this occurs when the drone has no GPS and means you’re in a little bit of trouble. If your drone goes into ATTI mode you won’t be able to use the RTH function and if it disconnects during this you might end up in a bit of a pickle because the last known coordinates will be inaccurate.
NOTE: This is why we always recommend flying your drone within a visual line of sight so you don’t completely lose it in these situations.
So, if your drone ever goes into ATTI mode and your signal is looking weak, we recommend doing a descent as quickly as you can if it looks like the drone’s in a reasonable place to land. This is because, once the drone is below 30ft, OPTI mode should kick in and use your VPS systems to safely land.
If your drone does disconnect automatically, head towards it as soon as possible. When a drone disconnects, it will try to Return-to-Home. However, if there’s no GPS it can’t, so it’ll land exactly where it is.
If the reason for the disconnection is that you’re too far away and there’s too much interference, the drone could reconnect as you head closer to it. So run! And you might get lucky.
If you find that your drone seems to be disconnecting a lot, you could also look into purchasing a drone signal booster. If the drone crashes into something on the way down, as long as it’s still on, it could still reconnect. If this happens you can use the steps we outlined in the last section to locate your drone. Turning on the camera and making it flash and beep could be super helpful.
If your drone doesn’t reconnect even if you’ve got fairly close to where it was flying, it’s likely switched off due to damage or the battery dying. Nevertheless, you should still be able to use some of the features to try and locate the drone.
You won’t be able to turn on the camera or see AC information, but the last known location of the drone will still be highlighted. If it’s a calm day and the drone descended at that point you could still have some luck finding it.
Head over to that last known spot and determine the direction of the wind. We recommend starting your search in that area. If your drone was fairly high when it disconnected and lost GPS it might have drifted pretty far.
If the above proves to be unsuccessful, we wrote an article a while back about steps to take if you lose your drone including reporting it to the authorities. It’s always worth posting in local neighborhood groups too in case anyone stumbles upon it one day. There have been some success stories where this has happened.
Now we’ve covered how to use the find my drone feature and situations where you might have to use it. I wanted to cover some quick-fire FAQs about using find my drone.
Do all DJI drones have the find my drone feature?
No. This feature was introduced in 2017 alongside the launch of the DJI Go 4 App and is also available on the DJI Fly app. So, if your drone uses these two apps, you’ll have the Find My Drone feature. If you use the old DJI Go App and fly older models like the Phantom 3 series and the Inspire 1 series, or the Matrice 100, 600, and 600 PRO, you won’t have access to this feature.
Will find my drone work if the drone loses power?
Yes and no. You can still use the feature, but it will only log the last known GPS coordinates at the point the drone died. You also won’t be able to turn on the camera or make it light up and beep.
Can I make my drone beep if I’m close but can’t see it?
Absolutely! This is a great feature of Find my drone and gives you a much better chance of locating it. The beep isn’t too loud though so it’s best to get as close as you can before trying it.
How can I see my position?
Just like on Google maps, your position is tracked by a blue dot. The drone’s position is the red arrow.
How do I get my map to load correctly?
Sometimes, if you’re flying your drone on a device that doesn’t have an internet connection, the map looks a little empty. This is because, without a solid internet connection, the map won’t load meaning you’ll be in trouble if you need to use find my drone and you’re in an area with no service.
If you intend on flying in remote areas like forests and mountains, you’ll need to ensure you save an offline map to your device. This is also just a good habit to get into before flying just in case.
If you are using DJI Fly App.
Connect your mobile device to the internet through wifi or data and navigate the map to the area you will fly the drone to cache it.
If you are using DJI GO 4 App.
To do this, connect your device to the internet whilst you’re still in a good service area and click the hamburger button on the main menu.
Select Offline Map
Zoom in to a good level (so you can see street names and any landmarks).
Click on Download.
Your map will now be saved for offline flying.
I hope this article has covered everything you need to know about using the Find My Drone feature on the DJI Fly or DJI Go 4 App.
Sometimes, your drone will disconnect out of the blue but hopefully, by following the above steps you have a good chance of finding it. Fortunately, I’ve only had to deal with something similar once and it was as I was flying my drone back to me. It went into ATTI mode and lost signal (I was in a valley) and landed a few hundred yards away from me.
Nevertheless, it was still in the middle of a road and I was worried a car was just going to drive over it. Thankfully it didn’t but the fear was real, so I understand your situation if you’ve lost your drone.
These days, as many drones are expensive, you may want to consider investing in some gadget insurance for it. I personally have and I’ve found it’s given me great peace of mind in case accidents happen.
If you want to do any further research on how to use the Find My Drone feature, I highly recommend the following video tutorial.
Have you ever had to use Find My Drone? What was your experience? Comment below!