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How to Fly Your Drone with Smart Devices

29 Mar 2021 Developer News
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Traditional drones have always relied on a dedicated controller for flying. But thanks to advancing technology, manufacturers are finding innovative ways of allowing you to control your quad using just a smart device.

Because of this, drones and smartphones have become the hottest couple as far as technology is concerned! By downloading the appropriate drone app, you’ll be in a position to connect your phone to your drone and enjoy playing with your toy. 

So, how do you fly your drone with a smart device?

Why Fly a Drone Using Your Phone?

The answer will actually depend on the type of drone you have. While some drones are designed to be controlled exclusively with a controller, some can also be controlled with a phone alone, and others utilize both a controller and a smart device. 

If you bought your drone from a renowned manufacturer, chances are there is a compatible mobile app through which you can pair the drone with a smart device like a phone or tablet. Generally, some of the reasons that may make you want to control your quad using a phone include:

First Person Viewing

This is an exciting way of getting yourself immersed in the drone flying experience. It enables you to enjoy real-time views of the drone’s camera footage directly on your phone screen. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be able to control the drone from the phone.

Some quads will have a mount on the controller where you can attach your phone for viewing but flight management is done from the physical controls.

GPS Controls

Most of the latest drones being rolled out today come with autonomous flight functions such as drawing a flight plan, active tracking, and even return to home. These functions are far easier to manage when using a phone’s touchscreen.

Flight Controls

Some drones will also let you use your smartphone as the primary controller. This means you get screen controls overlayed on the FPV, allowing you to control the drone without needing a separate controller.

Diagnostic Data and Setup

Another essential feature you can access from the drone app is the ability to configure and set up your quad from the phone’s screen. It also offers you easy access to various diagnostic data that you may need.

How Do You Connect Your Drone to Your Phone?

Firstly, you want to check whether your drone has a camera (which is almost a guarantee in today’s drone models). If it does, then it’s highly likely that there is a mobile app for the drone. Luckily, the process of connecting your phone to a drone is more or less the same for the different quadcopter brands in the market.

To do this, you want to follow the steps below:

  • Download your quad’s mobile app
  • Make sure your drone is powered on then go to the WIFI settings on your phone. Search for your drone’s WIFI network on the available devices and connect
  • With the two devices successfully paired, return to your quad’s mobile application and complete any relevant configuration and setup procedures
  • After this, you should be in a position to view the real-time video stream of your drone’s camera on the phone’s screen. This allows you to fly comfortably without the controller. Some models enable you to record videos, access autonomous flying modes, and more interesting features that you can see on the app.

How Do You Control Your Drone from Your Phone?

Depending on the manufacturer of your drone, flying the quad from your phone may mean different things. For instance, if you have a DJI drone, you can use your phone for live video sharing, autonomous flying, and recording.

For Parrot devices, you can use on screen joysticks on your phone to manage the drone’s flight. Meanwhile, for Upair One drone, read this review.

The first thing to do is to download the relevant drone app before you connect the two devices via a WIFI network. Some DJI drones will only let you use your phone alongside the dedicated controller to manage the flight, so you will have to mount your phone on the controller first.

Controlling your drone using just your phone is a great alternative to carrying a bulky and heavy controller all the time. However, it takes a while to get used to this new way of flying and the control range is also limited by the strength of the WIFI signal.


Luckily, the process of pairing your smart device with your drone is pretty much the same across different drone brands. The only caveat is that each brand has its app, hence the level of quality and support tends to vary.

So, if you’d like to put your controller aside and enjoy flying your drone with your phone for a change, this guide tells you all you need to know!

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