Drone company DJI this week announced a new "local data mode" that breaks any internet connection between the DJI drone and a user's smartphone, which the company said will greatly enhance security and data privacy when users enable the mode (via Reuters).

The announcement comes a few weeks after the United States Army ordered its members to stop using DJI drones due to "cyber vulnerabilities," believed to be related to the drones' ability to save flight logs, photos, or videos onto a smartphone app, and then onto DJI's servers if the user chose to do so.

content DJI Spark Ocean


Brendan Schulman, vice president of policy and legal affairs at DJI, said that business and government customers in particular have since raised concerns about sensitive content -- "such as movie footage or images of critical infrastructure" -- potentially leaking out.

DJI said it does not collect images, video or flight logs from users unless they share them. But turning on the new "local data mode" will prevent accidental syncing with DJI's servers. Its drones do not rely on an internet connection to fly.

Cutting the link between the internet and DJI's controller apps that run on tablets and mobile phones will disable updates of maps, flight restrictions and other data that the controller application receives from the internet while the drone is in use, he said.

Because of the Army's memo, DJI sped up work on local data mode, which it says has been in the works for several months. When activated, the new mode blocks all internet data, so DJI apps will not update maps, geofencing information, newly-issued flight restrictions, "and may result in other performance limitations." But, even without an internet connection, the company's drones can still be piloted as normal.

While the mode will be available for everyone, DJI is focusing on "professional, commercial, government, and educational users" who might fly a DJI drone to capture critical infrastructure, commercial trade secrets, or governmental functions.

“We are pleased about how rapidly DJI’s customer base has expanded from hobbyists and personal drone pilots to include professional, commercial, government and educational users,” said Jan Gasparic, DJI head of enterprise partnership. “As more of these customers have asked for additional assurances about how their data is handled, DJI has moved to address their needs by developing local data mode to provide enhanced data management options for customers who want to use them.”

Local data mode will arrive in an update to DJI's suite of apps by the end of September. If any location has regulations that require drone pilots to fly with the most updated maps and information, the offline mode "may not be available" in those areas.

Tag: DJI

Top Rated Comments

bigenius Avatar
82 months ago
This isn't how technology works. It's either programmed to do it or not. It's not 1910 operators accidentally switching a call to a wrong person.
There's a button in the DJI app to sync flight data with DJI servers. He may be referring to accidental taps on that button.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
belvdr Avatar
82 months ago
From the press released quote seems the feed for that data is one and the same: warnings of restricted drone flight areas, not the restricted areas themselves, lol. misinterpretation occurs at times.
Because it blocks all internet data, use of local data mode means DJI apps will not update maps or geofencing information, will not notify pilots of newly-issued flight restrictions or software updates
Emphasis mine. It's not going to let you know about new TFRs or NOTAMs; however I would hope it would still alert you to permanent restrictions.

It would be nice if it had the option to only download info and disable all uploads.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Smith288 Avatar
82 months ago
But turning on the new "local data mode" will prevent accidental syncing with DJI's servers.
This isn't how technology works. It's either programmed to do it or not. It's not 1910 operators accidentally switching a call to a wrong person.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Taj Armstrong Avatar
82 months ago
So does this mean that you'll be able to fly in previously "restricted areas"? Like in northern VA, which has a 30-mile no-fly zone because of DCA?
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

apple card 1

Apple Ending Apple Card Partnership With Goldman Sachs

Tuesday November 28, 2023 3:09 pm PST by
Apple is ending its credit card partnership with Goldman Sachs, according to The Wall Street Journal. Apple plans to stop working with Goldman Sachs in the next 12 to 15 months, and it is not yet clear if Apple has established a new partnership for the Apple Card. Apple and Goldman Sachs will dissolve their entire consumer partnership, including the Apple Card and the Apple Savings account....
iOS 17

Everything New in iOS 17.2 Beta 4

Tuesday November 28, 2023 12:18 pm PST by
Apple is wrapping up development on iOS 17.2, with the update expected to come out in December. While we're getting to the end of the beta testing period, Apple is still tweaking features and adding new functionality. We've rounded up everything new in the fourth beta of iOS 17.2. Default Notification Sound Under Sounds & Haptics, there's a new "Default Alerts" section that allows you to ...
ios 17 namedrop

Police Departments and News Sites Spreading Misinformation About How iOS 17 NameDrop Feature Works

Monday November 27, 2023 5:11 pm PST by
Apple with iOS 17.1 and watchOS 10.1 introduced a new NameDrop feature that is designed to allow users to place Apple devices near one another to quickly exchange contact information. Sharing contact information is done with explicit user permission, but some news organizations and police departments have been spreading misinformation about how NameDrop functions. As noted by The Washington...
All New CarPlay Five New Features Article 2

What to Expect From All-New CarPlay, Still Listed as Coming 'Late 2023'

Tuesday November 28, 2023 7:44 am PST by
At WWDC in June 2022, Apple previewed the next generation of CarPlay, promising deeper integration with vehicle functions like A/C and FM radio, support for multiple displays across the dashboard, increased personalization, and more. Apple's website still says the first vehicles with support for the next-generation CarPlay experience will be announced in "late 2023," but it has not shared...
iOS 17

iOS 17.1.2 Update for iPhone Likely to Be Released This Week

Monday November 27, 2023 8:24 am PST by
Apple will likely release iOS 17.1.2 this week, based on mounting evidence of the software in our website's analytics logs in recent days. As a minor update, iOS 17.1.2 should be focused on bug fixes, but it's unclear exactly which issues might be addressed. Some users have continued to experience Wi-Fi issues on iOS 17.1.1, so perhaps iOS 17.1.2 will include the same fix for Wi-Fi...
Apple 5G Modem Feature Triad

Apple to Discontinue Custom 5G Modem Development, Claim Reports

Wednesday November 29, 2023 4:19 am PST by
Apple is discontinuing in-house modem development after several unsuccessful attempts to perfect its own custom 5G modem chip, according to unconfirmed reports coming out of Asia. According to the operator of news aggregator account "yeux1122" on the Naver blog, supply chain sources related to Apple's 5G modem departments claim that the company's attempts to develop its own modem have...
Apple Logo

Apple Discontinued These 5 Products This Year

Monday November 27, 2023 7:03 am PST by
As the end of 2023 nears, now is a good opportunity to look back at some of the devices and accessories that Apple discontinued throughout the year. Apple products discontinued in 2023 include the iPhone 13 mini, 13-inch MacBook Pro, MagSafe Battery Pack, MagSafe Duo Charger, and leather accessories. Also check out our lists of Apple products discontinued in 2022 and 2021. iPhone Mini ...
Google Drive

Some Google Drive Users' Files Have Mysteriously Vanished

Tuesday November 28, 2023 3:55 am PST by
Google Drive users have been warned not to disconnect their account within the Google Drive for desktop app, after a spate of reports of files going missing from the cloud service. Alarm bells began ringing last week on Google's community support site when some users reported files mysteriously disappearing from Google Drive, with some posters claiming six or more months of data had...