Can You Fly a Mavic Mini Without a Phone?

My Mavic Mini

People love the Mavic Mini for its small size and affordable price. It’s ideal for videographers who don’t want to pay a hefty amount on a Pro drone. It’s also great for people who don’t like to pack a big drone on a hike but rather a drone so slim you can slip it in your pocket.

Additionally, it’s compatible with most mobile phone devices, which brings us to our main question; can you fly a Mavic Mini without a phone? Yes, you can fly your Mavic Mini without a phone, but you won’t have access to DJI Fly or the features that come with it.

Let’s see how it’s done.

How to Fly Your Mavic Mini Without a Phone

We’ve all damaged our phones at some point in our lives; it happens to the best of us! What if it happens to you when you want to fly your Mavic Mini? It’s not time to give up yet; there’s a way to control the unit without using a mobile phone.

The Mavic Mini comes fully equipped with a remote controller, which comes in handy in these situations. The first thing you should do is to turn the device and the remote on and give them a few seconds to sync.

Next, you’ll use the manual sticks on the Mavic Mini to launch it. All you have to do is pull the left and right sticks down diagonally towards the middle. That way, the motor will start and if it’s ready to start, the flashing lights will turn green.

Now that you have the Mavic Mini running, you can do anything else through the remote control. If you’re flying the drone for photography purposes, you can use the manual buttons on the front of the remote control while the unit is flying.

Record Video with bumper on left and photos on the right

Precautions for Flying Your Mavic Mini Without a Phone

Even though a Mavic Mini can fly without a phone, that doesn’t mean that it’ll be the same. The lack of a mobile phone means that you won’t have access to the DJI Fly application. Consequently, you won’t be able to use intelligent flight modes.


There are some things that you’ll have to take care of. Otherwise, you may damage your drone or lose it in the air.

Fly on a Low Height

The Mavic Mini’s color easily camouflages with its surroundings. If you raise it on an extreme height, it might skip your sight and get lost. Also, it is difficult to tell which way the drone is facing. If this happens the best solution is to pitch the drone forwards and watch which way it travels to determine its orientation.

If you’re operating it with a mobile phone, you won’t face this problem because you’ll be able to control it properly and see your heading/orientation on the screen. Alternatively, without your phone, the Mavic Mini can get away easily.

Use the ‘Return to Home’ Feature

The RTH option is one of the most prominent features of the Mavic Mini. You can specify an altitude for the drone to return to. That way, it’ll be able to get back safely, rather than get lost on its way up. The last RTH altitude setting that you applied on DJI Fly app will be what it is set at. If you press and hold the RTH button on the left of the controller, the Mini will return home.

Nice to have this important feature on the remote as well as the phone!

Return to Home button on the Left

If you want to take pictures or record something, you can use the remote control. After the drone descends, you’ll see the results of your maneuver.

Try It in a Safe Place First

It’d take some time for you to get accustomed to the Mavic Mini without a phone. For the first few times, you should head to a safe place that you know well. That way, you’ll be ready to chase the drone if it decides to soar away.

After succeeding in your first tries and getting used to using the remote control, you can take your drone anywhere you’d like.

Learn the Flashing Signals

Every drone has a flashing code that flashes in colors to signal the current action. In order to learn how to fly your Mavic Mini without a phone, you should learn its flashing signals and what they indicate.


Blinking YellowWarming up/Not Connected to Satellites
Blinking GreenGood to Go
Blinking Red Low Battery
Blinking Red, Green, YellowTurning on/Performing Self Diagnostics
Blinking Red and Yellow Compass Calibration Required
Solid RedCritical error

So, you’ll know when there’s something wrong mid-flight, or when it’s ready to launch, for example.

Flying a Mavic Mini Without a Phone – Challenges You May Face

One of the challenges that’ll face you is handling the Mavic Mini’s tiny size. This size gives it privilege over similar products. However, it’s a double-edged sword. The small size means that the device will be harder to control without a phone. 

Additionally, you’ll likely find it difficult to adjust the flying altitude. The Mavic Mini will probably fly about 60 yards up and hover in its place. You’ll have to relaunch it a few times before it’s able to fly properly.

Lastly, some users complained that the Mavic Mini only flies for about 3 minutes before beeping and dropping. Afterward, it doesn’t fly higher unless you reboot it and relaunch it. In this case, you should fly it using a phone for the first time, so the app can give you proper instructions. Then, use it without a phone all you want.

Why The Mavic Mini Isn’t the Best Option for Flying Without a Phone

Despite its wide popularity, the Mavic Mini has a couple of downsides that’ll make it even more difficult for you to fly using the remote controller.

For example, it doesn’t have the option for 4K videos, which is inconvenient for videographers. As a videographer, you’re already filming blindly because of the lack of a mobile phone. So, on top of that, you may have to mix the Mavic’s 2.7K videos with 4K footage, which won’t turn out alright. The Mavic Pro and the Mavic Air, however, are good options for that.

Furthermore, the Mavic Mini doesn’t have collision sensors for its front and rear. This means that if it meets any obstacle, you won’t know about it because you’d be flying it blindly. While you can avoid this using a phone, it’ll inevitably go wrong when you use the remote controller.

Best Budget-Friendly Smart Phone & Tablet Options

We recommend that you get a phone for your Mavic Mini. Sometimes it is even nice to just have another separate device for a larger screen.

To be compatible with DJI Fly the device must have ios 10 or better for Apple users or ios 6 or better for Android users (Android users should also do a google check and make sure it is running on 64-bit, not 32.

If you don’t want to use your own phone or if you don’t have a phone, I’ve made a table below with multiple options that won’t break the bank.

My Favorite, but not budget-friendly is the iPad MinisiPad mini
Budget-friendly Android Tablet 7″ Screen ~ $70VANKYO Tablet
Budget-friendly Android Tablet 10″ Screen ~ $110VANKYO Tablet
Nokia SMartphone ~ $110Nokia 4.2
Badass Rugged Smartphone (I like this) ~ $170OUKITEL

Wrap Up

You’ll be able to fly your Mavic Mini without your phone, but it’ll be hard and full of challenges. If you’re not a good drone pilot, it’ll take a lot of time to get used to the process.

However, once you have a good grasp of it, you should be just fine!

Note: There are amazon affiliate links in this post. I have to try and make some money somehow in these tough times! All the links do is give me a slight commission for guiding you to the product. Thanks!

Dan Rodman

I'm a Mechanical Engineer who is passionate about the drone industry. I work as a project manager in Construction and have used drones for commercial purposes. Then, of course, it is my main hobby at home. FPV drones, custom builds, commercial drone industries, and everything else drone related is always of interest to me!

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