DJI’s GO 4 app adds local data mode, preventing third parties from accessing flight info

DJI’s GO 4 app powers its Phantom 4 series, Mavic series, and Inspire 2 drones. A recent update for iOS revealed that Local Data mode is now available. The feature, which is already available on the Fly and Pilot apps, keeps your data strictly on your phone as opposed to sending it to DJI-controlled servers and third-party service providers.

News first broke on DJI’s intention to address cybersecurity concerns with the GO 4 app, this past September, and the notion of including Local Data mode with it was introduced. While it has been available on DJI’s Pilot App since 2017, its introduction to the GO app will enable a wider variety of users to take advantage of its privacy features. Essentially, when activated, Local Data mode acts as a ‘kill switch’ – preventing the transmission of data between the app and the Internet.

DJI drones are controlled with a flight app that’s built-in on Crystalsky and the Smart Controller, for example, or they can be installed on either a mobile device or tablet. The app communicates with DJI servers and other third-party service providers to exchange information on location, geofencing, radio frequency, firmware updates, and localized maps that display on screen.

Local Data mode halts these communications, ensuring the data remains local and the drone pilot is the only one retaining this information. Should an operator want to activate localized maps, they can select ‘Allow Map Services’ which restricts communication to an America-based map services provider called Mapbox.

As of this writing, the Android app has not received the same update. That being said, a closer look at DJI’s Pilot app for Android shows compatibility with the Phantom 4 series, the original Mavic Pro, and the Mavic 2 Enterprise series. This leaves out the Mavic 2 Pro and Zoom. However, version 4.3.40 of DJI’s GO 4 app which is compatible with both drones, includes Local Data mode. It also addresses crashing issues and promises more in-app stability.