The DJI GO 4 app has finally received DJI’s local data mode, which keeps your drone data on your phone rather than sending it to servers. The app received an update earlier this week which activates the feature, which has been present in the DJI Fly and Pilot app for some time now.
You can play around with the new mode in the GO 4 app right now as long as you are running on version 4.3.40 on iOS. It appears that the Android app hasn’t received the update just yet.
How does it work?
Local Data Mode essentially works as a kill switch, blocking the app in use from sending data back and forth over the internet. This includes data being sent to DJI or third-party servers. The rest of the device and apps still remain connected to the internet.
When using DJI’s drone apps, data is often sent between the app and DJI or third-party service providers’ servers. This allows the app to check for software updates, firmware updates, and collect relevant location data, such as maps and geofencing restrictions. By turning Local Data Mode on you would lose all of the above functions but gain more control over your privacy.
If you want to keep getting relevant map data, you can choose to still have Local Data Mode active with an extra toggle to keep the maps up-to-date. This still blocks all the other data from being transferred between the app and servers but allows the map data to be transferred DJI’s mapping partner, Mapbox.
“For commercial and government customers who generate highly sensitive data and operate with rigorous data security protocols, Local Data Mode provides simple and effective operator-controlled assurance that no data from their flights will be transmitted over the internet.”
Brendan Schulman, Vice President of Policy and Legal Affairs at DJI
Is it secure?
To prove to the world that Local Data Mode does exactly what it says, DJI got an independent auditor to come in and tear it down. FTI Consulting, the company behind the audit found that DJI isn’t doing anything dodgy behind the scenes. You can find the full summary here.
“FTI’s assessment confirmed that when LDM was enabled, no data that was generated by the application was sent externally to infrastructure operated by any third party, including DJI. An exception to this is when the user is operating with LDM and chooses to enable the “Map-Request” feature; in this situation, FTI observed that the devices communicated with expected Mapbox4 infrastructure for the provision of maps. FTI’s assessment also confirmed that DJI employs various security best practices.”
FTI’s final findings
You can learn more about local data mode in this post we did a while back looking into it.