When DJI announced the Mavic Mini, its 249-gram drone that doesn't require registration (unless used for commercial purposes), the general public was disappointed with the fact that it was missing some important features. One of those was the inability to unlock GEO Zones. Right in time for the New Year, DJI has released its latest firmware update, v01.00.0400, which also includes two important safety features.

The latest firmware update for v1.0.4, or later, of the iOS and Android version of the DJI Fly app now allows you to unlock GEO Zones. DJI also added in a feature that prevents you from taking off when the GPS signal is weak (GPS <8) and the environment light is too weak to safely operate the aircraft. This feature has been missing from all previous firmware updates, including those created for the DJI GO app, and will hopefully be implemented there, as well, going forward.

Another pertinent safety update is the requirement for compass calibration before takeoff if environment light is not sufficient or if the compass experiences magnetic interference. The latter is a leading cause of flyaways. The Mavic Mini is an entry-level drone that appeals to beginners who are especially susceptible to losing a drone. Anyone who remembers the disaster that took place in Las Vegas, when a drone flew off and landed on an airport runway, will appreciate this feature. To properly calibrate a compass, make sure you do so in an area absent of any magnetic interference.

A few other new features in the firmware update include:

  • Adjusted flight altitude and distance in payload mode.
  • Added warning prompt for battery cycles.
  • Reduced noise during self-diagnostics after powering on.
  • Fixed issue: linking was abnormal in some regions.

DJI has also noted that 'the update may reset various main controller settings, such as the RTH altitude and the maximum flight distance, to default settings. Before updating, take note of your preferred DJI Fly settings, and readjust them after the update.' If the update fails, it is recommended that users restart the aircraft, remote controller, and DJI Fly or DJI Assistant 2 for Mavic, and retry.

Red Zones are Restricted Zones. Users will be prompted with a warning and the flight won't be authorized. Anyone who believes they have permission to operate in a Restricted Zone has to contact flysafe@dji.com or go through the Online Unlocking portal on DJI's Fly Safe site.

When it comes to GEO Zones, unlocking a low-risk area requires a few taps or clicks. High-risk zones require prior approval, along with proof of credentials, and can't be accessed within the Fly app. Basically, don't attempt to unlock a high-risk or Red Zone, especially in close proximity to an airport, unless you know what you're doing. Information, and other safety tips, can be found on DJI's Fly Safe portal.