DJI Go App: A Step-by-Step Guide

In this written post and video tutorial I do a complete walk through of the DJI Go App.

I go over every single menu, setting and button to help you better understand this incredibly powerful yet complex app. Whether you have a DJI Mavic Pro, DJI Phantom, or a DJI Inspire, this tutorial is for you.

For example, do you know the answers to the following questions?

  • Do you know how to change the sensitivity of your control sticks?
  • Know how to fix live video feed lagging issues?
  • Are you taking advantage of the Configuration 1, 2 and 3 settings?
  • Do you know what IMU is and why it’s an important setting to keep your eye on?
  • Why the ‘EV’ setting can be helpful for setting exposure?
  • Do you know what the ‘Video Caption’ setting does?
  • Why should you ‘Enable Hardware Decoding’?
  • Are you taking advantage of your C1 and C2 buttons?
  • Do you know why ‘Cache Map Data’ is helpful for devices that have no cell service?


Down below I talk about the answer to each one of these questions and so many more.

After making your way through this post I guarantee you’ll learn something and feel more confident as a drone pilot!

So pick your preference of either watching the video tutorial or the written post.


Quick note though…because the DJI Go App is so packed with settings and features, both the video and post are very long…you have been warned 😉


What is the DJI Go App?

The DJI Go app let’s you connect a smart device like a tablet or phone to a DJI Mavic Pro, DJI Phantom, or a DJI Inspire‘s remote controller so that you can get so much more out of your flying experience.

Once you connect the app you can then see what your drone’s camera is seeing, tweak camera settings, review imagery you’ve captured, adjust control movements to your preference, engage Intelligent Flight modes and so much more.

I’ve created this tutorial using a DJI Phantom 4 so if you have another DJI drone, or a different app version some menus and settings might look slightly different but rest assured the main features, functions and concepts are the same.

So let’s get started!



This menu provides an overview of how everything is working on the drone. To enter into this menu, click on Ready to Go at the top of the screen.

If you see that your settings say “Normal” and you don’t see anything that is colored red, then that likely means the drone is functioning properly and is ready to fly.

Aircraft Status-DJI Go App Drone

One very important setting you want to check is the Compass since it is responsible for letting the drone know where it is in the world.

It’s widely recommended that you always calibrate the drone’s compass at any new flight location.

This is because the compass is very sensitive to electromagnetic interference, which can lead to compass data problems that will likely result in poor flight performance or even flight failure.

Therefore regularly calibrating your drone’s compass when you fly in new locations will help maintain optimal performance.


To do a Compass Calibration click on Calibrate and follow the on-screen instructions.

Calibrate Compass-DJI Go App Drone

Check out the following link to see a video of how I calibrate the drone’s compass (it’s at the beginning of the tutorial).

Important notes regarding calibrating the compass:

  • Don’t calibrate the compass near any strong magnetic interference from sources such a magnetite, parking structures, and subterranean metal structures.
  • Don’t calibrate the compass in near any large metal objects.
  • Don’t calibrate the compass indoors.
Remote Controller Mode
Master Stick Mode 2 - DJI Go App drone

I have my controller set to Mode 2 which means the left stick controls throttle and yaw, and the right stick controls tilt and movement.

For more info on how the sticks/remote controller settings work check out my tutorial How to Fly a Drone: The Ultimate Guide

Mode 2 is the most popular controller configuration outside of Asia and how most people in the states learn how to fly a drone.

Once you set your controller mode you don’t have to worry about it since the drone will remember the setting for future flights.




This is where you’ll find the settings for marking the Home Point, enabling multiple flights modes, turning beginner mode on/off and setting max altitude & distance.

Main Controller Settings-DJI Go App Drone

Home Point

Home Point setting with the arrow = this sets the current position of the drone as the home point.

Home Point setting with the little guy = this sets the home point to the location of the controller.

This is handy if you are controlling the drone from a moving object like a boat or car.


Multiple Flight Modes

Positioning mode (P-MODE)
This mode means all the drone’s sensors are enable which will result in a more sticky but stable flight.

So when you let go of the sticks the drone will automatically brake, then hover and stay in place thanks to GPS.

Attitude or ATTI mode (A-MODE)
In A-Mode mode the drone’s sensors are disabled which will result in a more squirrely flight because wind and air currents can move around the drone.

Basically put, there is no “automatic brake” to stop your drone so you have to move the sticks in the opposite direction to stop it.

Many experienced pilots like to film in ATTI mode so they that can get the smoothest movements possible since auto braking is disabled.

Sport mode (S-Mode)
In S-Mode you unleash the full potential of your drone which allows you to go full speed while still allowing your aircraft to connect to GPS satellites.

Keep in mind the obstacle avoidance technology is disabled in this mode.

Return to Home Altitude

This is an important setting because if the drone gets disconnected with the controller then you have control over how it will respond altitude wise.

I have mine set to 60 meters, which is about 200ft. I do this because that altitude is well above any trees or buildings in the areas where I usually fly.

But be sure to set this altitude to something that is much higher than any surrounding obstacles in the area.

Beginner Mode

This mode is great if you are new to flying. Basically it disables many of the advanced features and then it automatically sets an altitude, distance and speed limit on your drone so if you are flying in a big wide open space there isn’t much to think about.

This also is a great mode to practice in because you can work your way up to the more advanced settings the more comfortable you get with flying.

Max Flight Altitude

This determines how high your drone can go. To follow the rules here in the U.S. I have mine set to 120 meters, which is about 400ft.

Click here to read more about the drone rules.


Max Distance

This setting determines how far your drone can go from the remote controller.

You can set this to a ridiculous amount like a few miles but again here in the U.S. the FAA’s rules state that you must keep your drone within line-of-sight, which means you need to be able to see it.


Advanced Settings
Gain & Expo Settings-DJI Go App Drone

The options in this menu basically allow you to fine tune how the drone moves. This can result in smoother pan and yaw movements.

The best illustration for this is to think about how someone plays a musical instrument like a guitar. The adjustments made in these menus allow you to “tune” your drone (guitar) depending on how you like to fly (play).


Gain & Expo Tuning

This determines how fast the stick inputs are translated into movement on the drone. Entering in a slower value will then mean you need to move the sticks even more before the drone will react.

Gain & Expo Tuning: EXP
EXP stands for Exponential Curve and it allows you to ease into controller movements.


Gain & Expo Settings - EXP-DJI Go App Drone


Stay tuned for a full tutorial on EXP settings! To be notified of when it is released, sign up for my drone newsletter!


Gain & Expo Tuning: Sensitivity
The section determines how sensitive your controls will be

Gain & Expo Settings - Sensitivity-DJI Go App Drone

Attitude = How quick your drone will react and level out.

Brake = How quick your drone will stop in GPS mode. A lower value means a slower and smoother brake.

Yaw Point End = The maximum stick input for yawing. A lower value means a slower yaw.

Gain & Expo Tuning: Gain
This menu determines how the drone will react to external forces such as air pressure and wind.

Gain & Expo Settings - Gain-DJI Go App Drone

Tweaking these settings will change the flight dynamics, which may result in undesired oscillation and/or wobble.

These settings are for advanced flyers that usually come from the world of building their own uav’s where tweaking these settings is necessary.

So you probably don’t want to change these settings unless you understand them.

More helpful info on this entire menu can be found here.


Sensors: IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit)
Gain & Expo Settings - IMU-DJI Go App Drone

This system includes the 3-axis accelerometer, a 3-axis angular velocity and a barometric altimeter which all work together to help keep the drone in it’s current position when flying.

If you have issues with weird flying, drifting or signal and compass errors then try fixing the issue by going through an IMU Calibration.

Just make sure you are on a level surface and you don’t move the drone or have it on a table can be bumped.


Sensors > Compass

This setting checks for compass problems or interference issues. This is also where you can calibrate the compass.

RC Signal Lost

This is one of the fail safes that is built into the drone so that if the controller gets disconnected from the drone the aircarft can either:

  • Return-to-Home which means the drone will fly back to the home point
  • Hover in place
  • Automatically land right where it is at


I have mine set to fly back to the home point so that it comes back right to the spot I took off from.

Be mindful that signal loss can happen for various reasons like when the drone flies too far, the controller loses power or the signal is blocked.

This is why I always make sure my home point is accurately set before takeoff.

Smart Return Home:

This handy feature let’s you know when you should think about bringing the drone back home based on the remaining battery life.

The status bar for this is found on the main screen. It’s that green, yellow and red bar that runs the width of the screen found near the top of the screen.

The further the drone gets from its home point, the more the bar will move to the left in the yellow and red zone.

Hot tip: be mindful of flying against the wind as that will require more battery power and you don’t want to wait until the last minute to bring your drone back.

Turn on Front LEDs

This option lets you turn off the front red LED lights.

This can be helpful if you are flying in low light since the red lights can easily enter the camera’s frame.



Long banner part 107



This is where you make changes to the settings that keep your drone airborne.

Visual Navigation Settings-DJI Go App Drone


Enable Visual Sensing System

This will turn on the obstacle avoidance sensors to help prevent your drone from hitting any objects that the sensors detect in the drone’s path.

Hot tip: The obstacle sensors stop working after you hit a speed of 22mph (35kph).


Enable Vision Positioning

This helps keep the drone steady when GPS signals are weak or when you’re flying indoors.


Active Track: Enable Backwards Flying

This will let you’re drone automatically fly backwards in the Active track intelligent mode if you’re subject reverses directions.

I recommend you only enable this setting if you are flying high or if you have the newest DJI Phantom 4 Pro since it has obstacle avoidance sensors in the back of the drone.


Advanced Vision Sensors

This gives you a status update of the navigation sensors. They should all read as “Normal”.



This is where you make changes to the controller settings.

Remote Controller Settings-DJI Go App Drone


Gimbal Wheel Speed

This just depends how sensitive you want the physical gimbal control wheel to be.

This is located on the top left hand side of the remote controller.

Gimbal Wheel Speed-DJI Go App Drone
Remote Controller Calibration

If you’re having remote controller issues try calibrating it with this setting. Just know the drone will have to be off in order to do this.


Stick Mode

This changes the way the sticks control the drone. Again I have mine set to Mode 2 which is the most popular mode outside of Asia.

Master Stick Mode 2-DJI Go App Drone


Button Customization

This is a super handy setting. Under this menu you can assign a command to the Custom 1 and Custom 2 buttons without having to dive deep into the menu.

Button Customization-DJI Go App Drone

I have my buttons set to:

  • C1 = camera forward/down
  • C2 = advanced video settings


Linking Remote Controller

If your remote gets disconnected from your drone for some reason or you buy a replacement controller this is the menu where you can connect them together.



This menu determines the quality and range of your live feed transmission.

Image Transmission Settings-DJI Go App Drone

Most of the time I leave mine on Auto mode but if you have a choppy live video signal you can try changing the settings here using the Custom button.

Select Channel
Selecting a different channel mode may improve your live feed results, just look at how stable/unstable each channel is and chose one accordingly.

Transmission Quality
This determines how crisp and clear the image is going to be.

Be mindful though that the higher you push the quality of the image, the lower in distance the signal will travel.



This where you can get info related to your battery such as the energy per charge, temperature, the remaining power as seen in milliamps hours.

You can also see the flight time of the battery, how many times you’ve charged it and you can see the capacity of the battery which decreases the more you use and charge it.

Aircraft Battery-DJI Go App Drone
Critically low and low battery warnings

These are super helpful settings because they will give you warnings when your battery is getting low.

I like having my set to 10% and 30%.

Advanced setting > Time to discharge
Aircraft Battery Time to Discharge-DJI Go App Drone

Since these are smart batteries, you can have them set to automatically begin the discharge process.

This will help improve the life of the battery when you are not using them. I have my discharge time set to 3 days.




This menu let’s you control how the camera’s gimbal will function.

Gimbal Settings-DJI Go App Drone
Gimbal Mode

You have 2 options:

  • Follow = This mode means the camera will always be stable and maintain the horizon. This is the setting I personally use.
  • FPV (First Person View) = This is handy if you want to orient yourself with the movement of the drone. So when the drone tilts to the side, so will the camera. This can give you the feeling that you are flying.
Advanced Settings

This menu allows you to set up 3 different configurations for how you want the gimbal to function.

Gimbal Settings - Advanced Settings-DJI Go App Drone

I highly recommend you play with each setting to fully understand how they work.

Essentially I like to have a setting move fast, normal and slow:


  • Configuration 1 = I set mine to the default movement speed.
  • Configuration 2 = I set mine so the gimbal has a fast movement speed. I primarily use this setting when I am shooting stills so I can whip the camera into place without missing any magical moments.


  • Configuration 3 = I set mine so the gimbal has a slower movement speed. I like to use them when I am filming so that my pans are silky smooth.
Centering Camera

This button will pop the camera into place horizontally or straight down.

If you remember I setup a shortcut for this feature using the Custom Buttons, which are found under the Configuration Menu.

Enable Upwards Gimbal Tilt Limit

Switching this on will allow the camera to tilt up beyond the 30˚ limit. Keep in mind that you will see the propellers in your shots though.


Adjust Gimbal Roll

This allows you to correct the tilt of the gimbal if something is off.

Adjust Gimbal Roll-DJI Go App Drone

This is handy if you need to temporary fix the orientation of your gimbal if you are out flying since you can fix it remotely without having to bring the drone back for a landing.

Gimbal Auto Calibration

Use this setting if you have any issues with the gimbal being crooked or the motor is constantly running.

Just note you cannot perform this while the drone is in the air because you have to have it on a level surface.

I usually perform a gimbal calibration if I am transporting my drone over long distances since there is a chance something got off due to all the banging around.



This section provide various setting options for cache, live streaming and info about the drone.

General Settings-DJI Go App Drone


Enable Hardware Decoding

If you have lag issues and freezing problems with the live video feed try turning this on because it can help with the image transmission.

Basically this helps with the processing power that is required to decode the live video feed.

So if you are using an older or slow smart device turn this on because it can also help reduce overheating on the device since it wont have to work as hard to decode the live video feed that’s coming in from the drone.


Select Live Broadcast Platform

This is where you can share a live video stream of what your drone’s camera is seeing straight to Facebook, WeiBo or YouTube.

Live Broadcast Platform-DJI Go App Drone
Cache Map in Background

This is super handy! If you don’t have a smart device that can connected to the internet when you are out flying then turn this option on and load up your map data using WiFi before you leave home.

The DJI Go app will then save the map data so when you get to the location you are flying at you can see all the map infomation.


GEO System

This gives you helpful information on flight regulations and restrictions in the area.


General Settings > Video Cache

The settings here will determine how cached files are handled.

Video Cache-DJI Go App Drone

The DJI Go app saves low resolution photos and videos (proxy files) inside the app so you can quickly review the imagery that you capture.

This of course takes up space on your smart device so you want to properly manage the settings.


Cache During Video Shooting

If you are experiencing lagging live feed issues or you have an older smart device or a device that doesn’t have a lot of free space on it, then try turning off this off to improve results.


Largest Video Cache Capacity

Set this based on how much free space you can dedicate to the storage of proxy files within the DJI Go app.

I leave my video cache capacity set to 2GB.



7 must have apps for drone pilots
Clear Cache Automatically

Leaving this checked will allow the DJI Go App to clear out the cache when you pass the limit you set in the setting above.


Flight Log

Includes data about all your flights



This is where you can name your device and find out the model and serial numbers on the aircraft.




This area contains all the settings for adjusting how your imagery will look and what format it will be recorded in.


Gimbal Indicator
This line runs top to bottom and gives you an idea of how much more your camera can point down or up.


Video/Photo Switch
Switches the camera mode between Photo and Video.


Camera Shutter/Record Button
Takes a picture in photo mode or start/stops recording when in video mode.


Play button
Let’s you review the imagery you’ve captured.


Quick Menu
Adjust the camera settings.


Manual Camera Settings-DJI Go App Drone


Auto Mode
This is a great mode for beginners because the camera will automatically set the ISO and shutter (and aperture on some drones) for you.


Manual Mode
A more advanced mode that requires you to set the ISO, shutter (and aperture on some drones).


This setting adjusts the camera’s sensitivity to light.

The higher the ISO number the more sensitive the camera is to light. But this also means you’ll have more noise/grain in your image.


Shutter Speed
The amount of time your camera’s shutter is open, which can freeze motion or suggest motion.


This controls the amount of light traveling through the lens and how blurry your foreground and background are going to be.

This option is usually only found on higher-end drone cameras.


EV (exposure compensation value)
When you are in manual mode you can see how far you are from the auto setting recommendation.

I find this to be helpful when I am trying to figure out what my settings should be when I am in manual mode.

Video Setting Mode (toggle must be switched to video mode to see these settings)
Video Camera Settings-DJI Go App Drone


Video Size
This is where you adjust the image size and frame rate you wish to record.


Video Format
This determines which video container format your videos will record in.

I personally use .MOV just because Apple developed this format and I use Apple products.

If you’re really curious learn more about the subtle differences between MOV and MP4 here.


This is the where you select which display system format you want.

  • PAL is the most common format used in Europe and parts of Asia.
  • NTSC is the most common format used in most of the Americas and Canada.

Learn more about the differences between PAL and NSTC here.


White Balance
This has to do with the colorcast of your imagery and if set properly you can correct shades of yellow, red or blue.

This is what makes your imagery look natural, more warm (orange-ish) or more cool (blue-ish).

Ideally, you want whites to appear white, so you adjust the white balance to help the camera figure that out.

Just use one of the presets like Sunny, Cloudy, etc… and match it to the weather/lighting conditions you are flying in.


This is where you can adjust the sharpness, contrast and saturation of the imagery you are capturing.

If you do any post-production editing on your computer then it is highly recommended that you shoot your imagery with flat settings.

For more on this check out this post on drone video tips or drone photography tips.


This determines how your camera will process and render its imagery.

I have mine set to D-Log or None when in the Video Mode (it just depends on the shooting scenario) and I have it set to None in when in Picture Mode.

This is because I like my original media to be “flat” or “unedited” since do my editing on the computer.

Photo Setting Mode (toggle must be switched to photo mode to see these settings)
Photo Camera settings-DJI Go App Drone


Single Shot = snaps one picture at a time


HDR Shot (High Dynamic Range)

HDR images are created when the camera takes 2 or more photos with different exposure settings and then merges them together.

An HDR image will give you a photo with more information in the highlights (so the white pixels aren’t blown out) and more information in the shadows (so the dark pixels aren’t crushed too much).

This is known as having a wide dynamic range and can result in a punchier, more dynamic JPEG image.

If you own post-editing software then I highly recommend you try the AEB option discussed below for creating HDR images, instead of this option because the results in my opinion are much better.


This will take a series of images back to back and can be helpful if you are trying to capture a specific action and don’t want to miss it.

Photo shooting modes DJI Go App Drone


AEB (Automatic Exposure Bracketing)

This setting is similar to the HDR setting above but it gives you more control over your final HDR image.

AEB is helpful when you want to create a photo that has a lot of variation in the scene between the bright and dark areas.

With AEB enabled the camera will choose an exposure and then take a picture, then it will immediately take one shot that is a little overexposed and that is a little underexposed.

You’ll then be left with 3 RAW images of the same scene that you can load into either Photoshop or Lightroom and combine them together into a single HDR image.

This is my favorite way to create HDR images.


Timed Shot

This mode allows you to shoot with a timed delay, which could be helpful if you are trying to take a selfie and need time to put the controller down or run into place.


Image Size

This is the aspect ratio for capturing photos. I keep mine set to the default 4:3 setting.


Image Format

RAW is considered a lossless format because the files are uncompressed.

This means that you’ll get every bit of the photo’s image data with little to no processing right from the camera’s sensor.

This then gives you lots of room to play with in post like when it comes to editing and you want to rescue or restore detail in the highlights and shadows.

It’s important to note that RAW files are much bigger than JPEG files and they can take a little bit longer to write to the memory card.

That is why I highly recommend you don’t get the cheapest memory cards and instead get one with fast read/write speeds. I own 5 of these cards and absolutely love them.

RAW is the setting I shooting in.


On the flipside, JPEGs are considered a finishing format because the files are much smaller and compressed.

This means that they have already lost data related to the image so you will have little wiggle room to do any serious editing or detail recovery.



This mode will let you capture your images in both the RAW and JPEG format.

The advantage to this is you can have large original RAW files and smaller JPEG files.

Just note when shooting in this mode, you’ll take up more room on your memory card and it will take a bit longer to write the image to the card since it is recording 2 different files at once.


This is graph shows the overall brightness of a scene. You can read more about it what a histogram is here.


Histogram-DJI Go App Drone


Over Exposure Warning
This will overlay “Zebra Lines” onto of your image which lets you know where your image is over exposed and where the pixel data is completely lost.

Zebra lines can help you get a properly exposed image because you just set the cameras settings until you don’t see a lot of Zebra Lines.

This works best when you are out doors and you can’t fully see your screen due to the glare and it being too bright outside.

Note: the zebra lines just provide you with a frame of reference and will not be recorded onto the images you capture.


3D noise Reduction
This option helps reduce the amount of noise when shooting. It can be helpful in low light situations.

However, some people report that it can create compression artifacts into images when used in bright settings so experiment with this setting to get the best results.


Video caption
This setting will store flight data and synchronize it with the video as a subtitle file.

So if you play your video with a player that supports this feature you can get the data of your flight automatically overlaid on the image.


This setting should match the broadcast frequency of the country you will be displaying your videos in (NSTC or PAL).

I’m based in the USA (NTSC) so that means mine is set to 60 Hertz. If you’re using PAL this should read 50 Hertz.


File Index
This refers to how the files will be numbered on your memory card. I use Reset but this is really just a personal organizational preference.

  • Reset: Use this setting if you want the memory card to start counting images at 1 after its been formatted.
  • Continuous: Use this setting if you want the number to keep going forever even if you insert a new memory card in.

This might be helpful if you are trying to keep track of imagery for a project.


This will overlay grid lines on top of your live feed to help you with composing your imagery for capture.

Note: the lines will not be recorded onto the images.


Format SD Card
This will completely erase your memory card. I like to perform a reformat on my card before every shoot, after of course I’ve backed up my images from the previous shoot.

Reset Camera Settings
This will put all the camera settings back to their default state.






Auto Takeoff

This button will automatically launch your drone 4ft up in the air where it will then hover in place.

Auto Takeoff-DJI Go App Drone


Go Home (auto land)

This button will automatically bring your drone back to its Home Point and land.

DJI’s Intelligent Flight Modes

This is where you have access to DJI intelligent flight modes which offer various smart flying features that utilize impressive artificial intelligence technology.

Check out a video that shows a few of the DJI Intelligent Flight Modes in action.

Intelligent Flight Modes-DJI Go App Drone

Active Track
In this setting your drone will automatically recognize subjects like people, bikes, cars or boats and then follow them.

This can be helpful since it allows you to focus on controlling just the camera, not piloting the drone.

Tap Fly
All you have to do is tap a point on your screen and the drone will automatically fly along that route, allowing you to focus on controlling just the camera.

Point of Interest
This is where you can set a specific building, object or location as the Point of Interest and the aircraft will continuously circle or orbit around it.

Way Points
Here you can set multiple GPS points, or Waypoints, and the aircraft will automatically fly to them while you focus on controlling the camera.

Follow Me Mode
In Follow Me mode, the aircraft will automatically follow you.

Home Lock
This setting fixes your controls to be relative to the Home Point.

This allows you to easily pull back on the control stick to bring the aircraft back home, or push forward to fly farther away, no matter which way it is facing.

This is a super handy feature if you loose sight of your drone and want to bring it back closer to you.

Course Lock
In this mode the drone will only fly in a straight line (or course) even if the orientation of the nose (the front of the drone) is facing a different direction.

By activating Course Lock, the controls will be set to be relative to your aircraft’s current path.

This easy navigation allows you to fly the drone in straight lines while you control the camera.




Click the box on the bottom right hand side of the screen to make the map go full screen.


Maps-DJI Go App Drone
Warning Space Setting

This is the dialogue box where you can select what warnings you wanted displayed for the various Airspace Classes, nearby airports, heliports, etc…

Center Map

This will center the map and show you where your drone and controller’s position is.


Compass Icon

This will orient the map so that north is facing up on the screen.


Map Viewing Modes

Here you have 3 viewing options for how the map will be displayed.


  • Standard = Shows you an illustrative map with names of streets, highways, etc…
  • Satellite = Will show you just a picture of the surrounding area with no street or highway names.
  • Hybrid = Will show you a blend of the two. You will have street and highway names overlaid on top of the satellite view. This is the one I personally use.
Maps-DJI Go App Drone




Telemetry is a two-way data stream that sends data about your aircraft’s flight down to the display/controller.

This information is located along the bottom left-hand side row of the screen.

Telemetry-DJI Go App Drone


D = your controller’s distance from the aircraft


H = Show you the height based off the takeoff point


H.S. = This displays the horizontal speed of the drone


V.S. = This displays the vertical speed of the drone which is how fast or slow your aircraft is climbing and ascending


VPS = This is the distance to the ground based on the little cameras and sonar sensors underneath the drone. This is most helpful when your drone isn’t connected to GPS satellites.


Radar display = This shows you which way your drone is facing in relation to North.

Why is the radar display helpful? Because if you lose sight of your drone yet you know which way north is, you can have a better idea of which direction you need to point the stick in order to bring it back.

31 Essential Tips For Creating Epic Drone Videos #fromwhereidrone


Are you still with me?! 😉 Man, that was a doozy and probably the longest post I’ve written yet.

But I sure hope it was helpful to you and that you feel like you have a better understanding of what all the menus and buttons do inside of the DJI Go app.

If I missed something or if you need something explained even more in-depth then please leave a comment down below and I will help you out!

…if you enjoyed this post could you please do me a HUGE favor?

Lastly, if you enjoyed this post could you please do me a HUGE favor and give it a thumbs up and share it on social media for me? Just click the big social media icons at the very top or very bottom of this page.

This blog is simply a hobby and labor of love and your support truly does help in keeping this website going!

Thanks so much!

Have a question or comment? Feel free to contact me directly at or just drop a comment down below.


About this site

Dirk Dallas, also known online as @dirka, is the founder and curator of From Where I Drone, a blog dedicated to inspiring and teaching drone pilots how to capture better aerial photos and videos.


How To Fly A Drone?

Do you want to learn  how to fly a drone?

Do you know the difference between yaw, throttle, pitch and roll? Do you want to improve your drone flying skills?

Then check out either the video above or the read the post below to learn everything you need to know about how to fly a drone.

In both the video above and post below I walk you through the most basic and essential steps for flying a drone and I include some of my favorite exercises for mastering the art of flying.


Flying using control sticks

The first thing you need to do before flying is understand how the drone controls work for yaw, throttle, pitch and roll. These aviation terms come from the old fixed-wing aircraft days.

It’s important to note, that I am using Mode 2 for my controller which is the most common setup outside of Asia. So if your controller is set to Mode 1, Mode 3 or Mode 4 the control sticks will work differently.

Left stick
The left control stick allows the drone to climb and descend and also rotates the drone on its axis both left and right. The official aviation terms for these controls are “Yaw” and “Throttle”.

  • Yaw rotates the drone around its center either clockwise or counterclockwise.
  • Throttle controls how much lift your drone is creating which allows it to ascend and descend.
drone remote controls yaw roll pitch throttle

Right control stick
The right control stick moves the drone forward and backwards and also moves the drone left and right. The official aviation terms for these controls is “Roll” and “Pitch”.

  • Roll controls the right and left movement of your drone.
  • Pitch controls the forward and backward movement of your drone.


Trainer drone and stimulators


If you are looking to practice without spending lots of money on a drone or if you are a nervous about crashing your expensive drone, you might want to consider practicing with either my favorite trainer drone like the SYMA X1 or check out a flight simulator like Heli-X (you’ll need a special controller that plugs into your computer for a flight simulator to work).

If you happen to already own a DJI drone, then you should practice controlling the sticks while using the remote controller and the built-in flight simulator that comes with the DJI GO app.

Before you fly

drone checklist


You should always walk yourself through a drone flight checklist before you take-off just to make sure you’re good to fly. You’re welcome to download this free drone flight checklist here that I’ve put together for subscribers to my newsletter.

It’s also a good idea to review the drone rules before starting.

Starting up + calibrating

First, I like to power on the remote controller (R/C transmitter) and my flying app.

If you’re new to flying and you’re using a DJI drone then check out this tutorial I created: DJI GO App: A Step-by-Step Guide Through Every Menu & Button

Once the controller are powered then I turn my drone.

Before you fly you should consider calibrating your drone. It’s important to do this if you’ve never flown before or if you have change locations since the last time you took your drone up.

drone calibration

Most of the higher drones have an internal GPS and compass that allow the drone to hover in place and they also tell the drone it’s heading which is which way it’s facing. So you want to make sure that these are accurately set, so the drone knows exactly where on earth it is.

Let me walk you through the calibration process. For this demo I am using a DJI Phantom but most manufacturers follow a similar process like the one I’m about to explain.

drone calibrate

With the Phantom, click on the top menu and then click on the calibrate button, once you select that, follow the prompts on the screen. The first thing you do is bring the drone level and then spin all the way around, some of us call this the calibration dance (so you may look a little silly but you don’t want to forget this important step).

drone calibrate facing down

After that first spin, follow the prompts on the screen and point the drone so it’s facing down. Then you’re going to spin around again. Once you do that, the menu should disappear and you can then see that the drone is ready to fly.

safe to fly drone


Your first flight

Now on to your first flight. Make sure your drone is on a flat surface and the front of the drone is facing away from you so that you don’t get confused with the orientation.

starting up phantom drone

Turning on the motors
To get your drone up in the air, turn on the motors by pressing both the right and left sticks down and towards the middle. The motors will then start to spin and then wait for your next input.

The left control stick
Then slowly press the left stick up and the drone will start to lift up into the air. I usually like to get about 10 feet in the air and then have it hover in place for just a few moments to make sure everything is working just right.

To keep the drone from climbing higher in elevation, return the left stick to the neutral position and the drone will just hold in place, thanks to GPS.

  • Throttle
    Now with your drone hovering in the air, press the left stick up and the drone will rise. When you pull the left stick down, the drone will go lower. When you return the stick to the neutral position the drone will just hover in place.
  • Yawing
    When you push the left stick to the left the drone will begin to twist to the left and rotate, when you push it to the right, the drone will twist to the right.


The right control stick
Now with the right control stick, push it up and the drone will begin to move forward, if you want to bring it back move the right stick down.

If you want to fly it left, move the right stick to the left, if you want to fly it to the right move the right stick to the right.

These are the basic movements of how to fly your drone.

When you’re ready to fully land, slowly bring the left control stick all the way down for a nice smooth landing. Once your drone is on the ground, pull the left stick all the way down and hold it there for about three seconds until the motors turn off.

Make sure you fully understand how to land your drone before taking off. My very first drone crash was because I only kinda had an idea of how to land. Looking back I wish I was better prepared!

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Exercises to help you get the hang of flying

You all know the saying, ‘Practice makes perfect’, so if you want to master flying then you’re absolutely going to have to practice, a lot!

Below are some of my favorite exercises that you can practice so that you become more comfortable with flying your drone.
The Simple Box

how to fly the box with a drone

One of the easiest maneuvers to fly is the box because this helps you get more comfortable with the right stick. The right stick basically lets you move forward, left, right and back without having to worry about elevation or orientation.

Practice this by pushing the right stick up to fly forward, then left to fly left, then back to fly back, and then finally right to fly right.

Try flying the box both clockwise and counterclockwise. Once you are comfortable flying in a box you can move on.


The 180

drone exercise how to fly a 180

For this exercise you’re going to fly out, then do a 180 and fly back. This will help you start to understand how the drone flies when you change orientation, so it’s important to note that whenever the front of the drone is facing you, the controls are flipped.

To start this exercise, push the right stick up to move the drone forward, then using the left stick turn the drone around.

Then use the right stick by pushing it forward to bring the drone back to you. You should do this multiple times to make sure you feel comfortable with this maneuver.



The Box With Yaw

drone exercise how to fly a box with yaw

This next exercise is the box with yaw, which is similar to the first exercise but this time we will be changing the orientation of the drone as we draw the box. Remember yaw just means you are rotating around the vertical axis.

To start this exercise, fly forward then stop, then turn 90 degrees to the left and move forward then stop, then turn 90 degrees to the left again and move forward then stop, then for the final move and to complete the box turn 90 degrees to the left and move forward then stop.

It’s super important to get comfortable with this exercise because you are flying the drone in the direction that it is facing, no matter which way you turn.

This will likely be hard at first but you’ll want to practice it enough times so that it just becomes second nature. Get comfortable flying the box with yaw both clockwise and counterclockwise before moving on.


The Circle

drone exercise how to fly a circle

This next exercise is called the circle and it’s more of an intermediate exercise because it requires you to use both sticks at the same time.

To start this one, move your right stick forward and then at the same time use your left stick to keep the drone slowly twisting or yawing to the left, practice this several times.

Then try flying the circle in the opposite direction just to get comfortable with using two sticks at once.

Practice flying tighter and more accurate circles to get better at this maneuver.


Figure Eight

drone exercise how to fly a figure eight

After mastering the circle it’s time to move onto the figure eight. This one is hard so keep practicing it until you get it right. Once you master this move you can fly pretty much any flight plan comfortably.

What you’ll do is fly the drone in a figure eight by flying in one clockwise circle and one counterclockwise circle with a transition in the middle.

Start off by making a big figure eight and then try to master this move by making smaller figure eights as you get more comfortable with this maneuver.

Practice varying both the speed and size of your figure eights to improve your sense of 3D space.


The Orbit

drone exercise how to fly in an orbit

The last exercise is the orbit, which is essentially flying in a circle while staying focused on a subject.

What you want to do is select a subject and then fly a circle around that subject while keeping your drone facing the subject the entire time.

Once you’re ready, fly your drone using the right stick while turning the drone slowly with the left stick (yawing). Make your moves slow and big until you get the hang of it.

If you’re doing the orbit right then your drone should be moving in a nice smooth circle around a subject.

As you get comfortable with the orbit I suggest you try it even faster and then maybe even add in some elevation to get an even more interesting shot.



I hope this post helps you feel more comfortable with flying a drone! Once you have mastered these flying exercises you can focus on the really fun stuff like being creative with capturing epic photos and videos.

With that being said if you are looking for tips on how to take better drone photos then check out this post here and if you are looking for tips on how to capture better drone video footage then check out this post here.

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Thank you!

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About the author
Dirk Dallas, also known as @dirka online, is the founder and curator of From Where I Drone, a blog dedicated teaching drone pilots how to capture better aerial photos and videos.