Before you take flight with your drone, it helps to have an app downloaded and ready to go on your phone.
The app will discern no-fly zones so you can avoid entering illegal airspace and the consequences that can come with it (such as fines and potential imprisonment).
What is the top app for drone flying?
The best apps for drones include:
- UAV Forecast
- Drone Buddy
- DJI Fly
This guide will introduce you to a suite of exceptional drone apps you can rely on when flying in your own backyard, outside of your state, and sometimes even outside of your country.
No matter which drone model you own, there’s an app for you on this list, so don’t miss it!
1. B4UFLY – Best app for drone fly zones
Drone fly zones are areas of uncontrolled airspace where you can legally launch, land, and fly your drone.
These are the zones every pilot seeks, but what kind of app will allow you to find them?
B4UFLY is our top pick for locating drone fly zones during all your adventures within the United States. This app was created in a brilliant collaboration between the FAA and Aloft, once known as Kittyhawk.
The app is the first mobile app FAA has introduced and the only such app from them as of this writing. The goal of B4UFLY is to help pilots find safe swathes of the sky for drone activity. The app is designed with commercial and recreational pilots in mind.
Within the app, you can search for FAA regulatory information and drone resources to read up on any laws or aspects of drone flight you’re unclear about. That’s especially handy for beginners.
You can also find information on temporary flight restrictions and more permanent restrictions as they apply to military training routes, national parks, airports, critical infrastructure, special-use airspace, and controlled airspace.
When you see a space marked “clear,” you can fly there.
You can search for specific locations within the app and pin them.
You’re free to move a pin to any other location on the map as often as you change locales when flying. B4UFLY will tell you if it’s safe to fly for each location you search and/or pin.
If you’re a busy commercial pilot visiting multiple sites in one day, this feature of B4UFLY will prove especially useful to you!
You can use a desktop version of B4UFLY for free by clicking here. Once you’re out on the field, you can use the app, which is available to download for free from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.
2. UAV Forecast – Best weather app for drone flying
When planning a drone flight, staying abreast of the weather is integral. You’re often prohibited from using a drone in inclement weather since it’s dangerous.
Moreso, you don’t want to get caught in a downpour or other bad weather, as that can often mean the end for your drone.
After all, drones don’t handle precipitation all that well, be it rain or snow. Water damage can often render a drone irreparable. You’ll have to buy a new one and register it (well, depending on its weight).
So what’s the best app for tracking the forecast minute by minute and avoiding strong winds and pounding rains?
We like UAV Forecast.
You can get down to the nitty-gritty weather details using UAV Forecast. Admittedly, it’s a bit intimidating to open this app the first time, as you’re met with a lot of information all at once.
However, that’s a testament to how immersive and informative UAV Forecast is.
Simply input your current location using your phone’s location services (if you’re comfortable with doing so) or search.
UAV Forecast will provide you with richly detailed weather information you can’t get from the Weather.com or AccuWeather apps.
You’ll see the wind speed and direction, the chance of rain (expressed as a percentage), temperature, and other pertinent weather details broken down hour by hour.
You can preview the weather for up to seven days in advance.
If you’ve ever got caught unaware in bad weather and wrecked a drone, you won’t want to launch again without an app like UAV Forecast on your phone. You’ll be able to plan your drone trips much more efficiently.
You can check out the desktop version of UAV Forecast here to get a feel for how it works and the detailed information it provides.
The app is available for free on the Apple AppStore and the Google Play Store.
3. Dronecast – Best wind app for drone flying
The wind is a major factor when determining if you can fly a drone. Even if it’s a perfectly sunny day outside, you shouldn’t launch your drone if the winds are strong enough.
Heavy winds can make controlling your drone next to impossible, putting it at a greater risk of crashing. It’s often illegal to fly in high winds too, as they’re lumped into inclement weather categories.
What app will help you steer clear of the winds? Dronecast is a great pick.
You can learn more about the wind in your area with this app, including wind speed, gust speed, and wind direction. The forecast updates hourly for up to 48 hours out.
If you only care about certain parameters, you can customize the Dronecast app forecasts to see the most pertinent information.
This app also provides weather details like visibility by miles, the chance of precipitation by percentage, and the temperature.
You can download the Dronecast app for free on the Google Play Store or Apple App Store.
4. Drone Buddy – Best App for Drone No-Fly Zones
When operating a drone, you don’t want to get caught unawares in a no-fly zone. These are illegal areas, and you will often end up punished for venturing into them.
As we mentioned in the intro, the punishments can include hefty fines and time behind bars.
Some drones warn you if you’re too close to a no-fly zone if they have geofencing enabled. DJI drones outright stop you from entering a no-fly zone.
However, many more drone models rely on the pilot to know whether they’re entering illegal airspace.
It’s not like the skies that comprise a no-fly zone look any different than uncontrolled airspace, which is why an app comes so much in handy.
We recommend Drone Buddy.
There’s a reason this app is named what it is. It’s designed to be a pilot’s best pal, as it provides an assortment of useful information. You can read up on the latest stories, trends, and news in drones.
The Where to Fly part of the app is a collection of user-submitted data. Pilots just like you share their best spots to fly so other pilots can enjoy.
Of course, we’re talking about no-fly zones, which Drone Buddy has in spades. The app includes more than 620,000 restricted areas, from national parks to airports.
You can even customize the radius of the no-fly zone depending on your certification and authorization.
Although we suggested using Dronecast to track wind, Drone Buddy also has a wind speed forecast feature that updates hourly.
You can also review other weather data, like temperature and the chance of precipitation.
DroneBuddy is available to download for free on the Apple AppStore and the Google Play Store.
5. DJI Fly – Best app for flying DJI drones
Do you own a DJI drone? While you can use the other apps we’ve talked about, many DJI owners turn to the DJI Fly app, a free app for Android and Apple devices.
The DJI Fly app is compatible with the following DJI drones:
- Mavic Mini
- Mavic Air 2
- Mini 2
- DJI FPV
- Air 2S
- Mini SE
- Mavic 3
- Mini 3 Pro
- Mavic 3 Classic
- Mini 3
- Mini 2 SE
- Mavic 3 Pro
So what does the DJI Fly app do? All sorts of things!
Here’s an overview:
Launch firmware updates: In the About part of the app, you can check for the latest DJI firmware updates and begin the update through the app.
Change camera settings: In the Camera option, you can do the following:
- Change image size between 4:3 and 16:9 ratio
- Format storageTurn on the histogram
- Turn on the overexposure warning
- Set gridlines, including the type of gridline
- Set anti-flicker options between auto, 50Hz, and 60Hz
- Turn on video subtitles
- Turn on the cache while recording
- Turn on channel mode
Control settings: The control settings enable you to adjust aircraft options for easier flights, such as:
- Flight Mode (Sport, Position, or CineSmooth)
- Display units (imperial, metric kilometers, or metric meters)
- Gimbal Mode (FPV Mode or Follow Mode)
Advanced gimbal settings, including:
- Upward gimbal rotation
- Pitch smoothness
- Pitch speed
Find My Drone: DJI will keep track of your drone through GPS. You can track it by its last recorded GPS location if you lose it. The drone will either illuminate or produce sound so you can find it.
Safety: Within the Safety menu of the DJI Fly app, you can adjust several things, including:
- Update your Home Point
- Set the Auto RTH Altitude
- Set your max distance
- Set your max altitude
Battery: The app tells you more than how full your battery is but its operating temperature to prevent overheating.
Fly/no-fly zones: You can also rely on the DJI Fly app to determine which areas you can fly using detailed maps.
If you still have a couple of questions about drone apps, don’t worry, as we’ve got the answers!
Can I use any app for my drone?
That depends on the type of drone you own. Let’s use DJI as an example.
You’ll remember that you can use any of the above apps with a DJI drone, the DJI Fly app makes the most sense as it’s built to accommodate your specific drone make and model.
If you don’t own one of the DJI drones that work with the DJI Fly app, you can always download the DJI Mimo, Ronin, GO, or GO 4 apps.
If you don’t own a DJI drone, it doesn’t make any sense to download these apps. They’re designed for various DJI drones.
You can use any of the other apps we listed, as each is a general app not designed for any specific drone make and model.
Is the DJI Fly app available?
The DJI Fly app is a widely available app, but whether it works for your smartphone depends on its age.
You must have an Android 7.0 operating system to use the latest version of the DJI Fly app (as of this writing).
The app is compatible with these Android devices:
- Pixel 3 XL
- Pixel 4
- Pixel 6
- OnePlus 9
- OnePlus 9 Pro
- vivo NEX 3
- OPPO Reno 4
- OPPO Find X3
- Redmi Note 10
- Mi MIX 4
- Mi 10
- Mi 11
- Honor 50 Pro
- HUAWEI P30
- HUAWEI P30 Pro
- HUAWEI P40 Pro
- HUAWEI Mate30 Pro
- HUAWEI Mate40 Pro
- Samsung Galaxy Note9
- Samsung Galaxy Note10+
- Samsung Galaxy Note20
- Samsung Galaxy S10
- Samsung Galaxy S10+
- Samsung Galaxy S21
If you’re an Apple user, your device must run iOS 11.0 or above. The following phones can use the DJI Fly app:
- iPhone 11
- iPhone 11 Pro
- iPhone 11 Pro Max
- iPhone 12 Mini
- iPhone 12
- iPhone 12 Pro
- iPhone 12 Pro Max
- iPhone 13 Mini
- iPhone 13
- iPhone 13 Pro
- iPhone 13 Pro Max
- iPhone 14
- iPhone 14 Plus
- 1Phone 14 Pro
- iPhone 14 Pro Max
What app do I use for my drone?
Determining which app to use for drone flight is a tough choice indeed.
All the apps we recommended today are free, so while you don’t have to worry about cost, you should take these other considerations to heart:
- Compatibility with your drone
Flying a drone safely requires the assistance of an app that can indicate what kinds of weather conditions to expect and tell you which areas are no-fly zones.
We hope the apps we recommended today help you find the perfect accompaniment for your drone adventures!