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The best drone apps for Android — enhance your flight

These apps help with airspace information, flight authorizations, and look ahead at the weather.
By

Published onMarch 22, 2024

DJI Mavic Mini review DJI Fly App Dashboard
Jonathan Feist / Android Authority

Are you excited to fly your new drone? Of course you are, but first, you’ll want to ensure you have all the tools to fly safely. That includes the latest software for the drone app to control your drone and additional tools to enhance your flight experience. Today is all about the extra apps you can install to get more out of your flight experience; these are some of the best drone apps.

Effective September 16, 2022, drone Remote ID requirements are in effect to fly within the United States. All new drones must now include Remote ID hardware, you must keep Remote ID active if available on your craft, and you have until Sept. 16, 2023, to retrofit your older airframes. Before you fly, please make sure you know the drone laws in your area.

The best drone apps

  • Google Earth is a fantastic app to find a place to fly.
  • Airmap is a leading app for airspace authorization.
  • B4UFly is the FAA’s official app, loaded with valuable information.
  • Drone Buddy Gives weather information and helps you share your favorite spots with the community. 
  • Dronecast gives you weather information. 
  • Drone Assist is an all rounder app for drones.
  • Sun Surveyor is a fun photography app that can help you decide what time of day to fly.
  • Verifly is a simple source of flight insurance. Protect your livelihood.
  • Litchi for DJI drones is a fun alternative to DJI’s Go 4 app platform.
  • Google OpenSky is a simple LAANC authorization tool.

But you need to know what you hope to accomplish before or with your flight. Perhaps you are trying to keep it legal, ensuring you can fly in a specific location; there’s an app for that. Maybe you are looking for a logging service to help track your flights; there are tools for that, or perhaps you want a weather report. Your needs will also differ depending on your drone — a camera drone has different needs than a racing drone, for example.
Run down the list to get an idea of what functions a non-manufacturer app can serve you. We hope to help you find something new and helpful.

1. Google Earth

Price: Free

As you well know, the first thing you’re going to need to do with any drone (after registering it,) is figure out a place to fly it. Google Earth is a valuable tool for this purpose as it offers detailed aerial views and terrain information helping in pre-flight planning. By exploring 3D maps and satellite imagery, users can assess terrain, obstacles, and landscape features, ensuring safe and picturesque drone flights. In addition, if you have bough your drone for photography, the app helps you to explore potential shooting locations without physically visiting them first.

Pros

  • Familiar and robust app
  • Detail location data for the entire globe

Cons

  • It’s just a map

2. Airmap

Price: Free

Airmap is one of those tools that does so much more than map a potential flight location or help you keep a log of your flight. With backing from companies like Microsoft and Qualcomm, not to mention drone players like Yuneec, Airmap is rapidly becoming the de-facto tool for commercial drone flight. Don’t let their drone mapping, geo-fencing, and flight logging commercial tools scare you off; utilizing the real-time traffic alerts in their mobile app is valuable enough. Check out Airmap for your basic needs or retail piloting business.

Pros

  • Made for hobby and commercial pilots
  • Maps, legal info, flight restrictions, and more
  • Enables LAANC authorization for airspace approval
  • The source for most other drone mapping tools

Cons

  • Feels overwhelming for new pilots

3. FAA’s B4UFly

Price: Free

Let’s keep this super simple: the FAA is the entity that enforces drone laws in the United States, and this is their app that tells you where and when you can fly. However, B4UFly is a little overbearing sometimes, telling you that you can’t fly in some places that you can. That said, the app provides one of the most detailed airport listings around, displaying the 5-mile radius of each. If in doubt, the B4UFly app is how you go to the source for legal info on drone flights in the United States. 

Pros

  • The official FAA resource for drone pilots

Cons

  • Offloads LAANC to other apps
  • Can be hard to understand

If your drone weighs 0.55lbs or more, you must register with the FAA and affix your registration number to the craft. The process is simple, but it will cost you $5 and you must be at least 13 years old. This registration will expose you to the FAA rules for drone flight, which we highly recommend you familiarize yourself with. Drone Rush can help too:

 

If you are flying for pay, or any other form of compensation, you must operate under a different set of rules and possess a commercial drone license. We call it the Part 107, it’s not too hard to get, but it will take some time to learn all the rules. We want to help you learn the rules and get your commercial license, check out our drone pilot training material.

4. Drone Buddy

Price: Free

drone buddy
Umme Aimon Shabbir / Android Authority

Drone Buddy is a handy app for discovering nearby drone-friendly locations and sharing your favorite spots with the community. It supplies wind speed data, sunshine duration information, and a no-fly zone map. However, the free version comes with limitations. For enhanced features, including hourly and daily wind forecasts, as well as expanded “where to fly” options and more, consider upgrading to the Pro version, available for $69.9 USD.

Pros

  • Enables community sharing. 
  • Gives you information about the weather, fly zones and sunshine hours. 

Cons

  • The free version has a limited number of features. 

5. Dronecast

Price: Free

drone cast
Umme Aimon Shabbir / Android Authority

DroneCast provides real-time weather forecasts, ensuring safe flying conditions by informing you about wind speed, gusts, and direction. Additionally, it keeps you updated on temperature and visibility. The app’s interactive map displays designated drone flying zones, ensuring you adhere to regulations and fly your drone safely. The free version of the application is ad-free and free to use. There is a subscription model, though. The pro version costs $2.99/month or $26.99/year.

Pros

  • Local weather conditions 
  • 7 day forecast 
  • A good map 

Cons

  • It might not be compatible with your drone 
  • Only provides weather information and map

6. Drone Assist

Price: Free

drone assist
Umme Aimon Shabbir / Android Authority

Drone Assist, developed by Altitude Angel, is a mobile app for efficient flight planning, safety checks, and control. Pros include an interactive map displaying no-fly zones, ground hazards, NOTAMS, and the ability to share flight plans to prevent conflicts. Approval services for restricted airspaces are also available, accommodating various drone models. The app is free on Android and iOS. However, it relies on an internet connection and might not be compatible with specific drone models.

Pros

  • Provides you with all the information necessary to fly your drones. 

Cons

  • Relies on internet connection and may not be compatible with you drone model. 

7. Sun Surveyor (Sun & Moon)

Price: $8.99

SunSurveyor is an application designed to assist photographers, filmmakers, and architects understand natural light. The app allows you to accurately predict the sunrise, sunset, and golden hour times for any location on Earth on any given day. Therefore, if you bought a drone to capture photos, you would need this app. This app provides information about the sun’s and moon’s positions, helping users make informed decisions for their projects and activities.

Pros

  • Fun tool for sun and moon tracking
  • Accurate photography tool

Cons

  • Paid app
  • Not specifically designed for drone photography 

8. Verifly

Price: Free

Insurance is an integral part of modern-day living. Unlike your car or house insurance, which you pay a monthly premium, Verifly does something different: insurance on demand. The idea is simple: your flights, mainly commercial operations, are either too few or too spread out and unpredictable to commit to full-time insurance coverage. Verifly allows you to log your start and finish times and then pay for what you use. It starts at around $10/hr. Hit the download buttons below to see more details on the actual coverage. Policies are underwritten by Global Aerospace, Inc.

Pros

  • On-demand options
  • Protect yourself and your equipment 

Cons

  • Prices vary based on equipment and flight details

9. Litchi for DJI drones (special consideration)

Price: $24.99

The official DJI GO, DJI GO 4, and DJI Fly apps are needed to fly favorite DJI drones. However, a few alternative apps can take control of your DJI Mavic Pro, DJI Spark, DJI Phantom series drone, and more. One of these is Litchi. Litchi for DJI Mavic / Phantom / Inspire / Spark is a robust app that maintains the same feel as the DJI apps but does things a little differently. Litchi provides you with the best DJI application and a few new treats. Therefore, it is worth your consideration. The waypoint flights and VR/FPV functionality built-in are the critical factors of the app.

Pros

  • Powerful alternative to manufacturer control apps

Cons

  • Pricey app

10. Google’s Wing Aviation OpenSky

Price: Free

Google Project Wing Open Sky drone app
Jonathan Feist / Android Authority

OpenSky is a simple app to discover airspace limitations and acquire LAANC authorization to fly in controlled airspace. The first launch of this app has very few features, as we could not see other flights in our area, drone or human-crewed aircraft, nor could we confirm that our non-LAANC registered flights in OpenSky were reporting for different apps and maps to see our flight location.
If you don’t care about the extras that apps like Airmap can provide, OpenSky is a quick tool to get you authorized to fly.

Pros

  • Relatively simple access to LAANC authorization

Cons

  • A simple app for airspace approval and little more

That’s all for today, we hope you’ve found a new app or two to enhance your flights, or get more out of the captured aerial footage after the fact. This is an early list with plenty of room to grow and mature, just like the drone market, so please hit us up in the comments if you want to discuss any other apps that you think belong here.

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