Best drone for iPhone users [Insider buyers guide]

There are plenty of iPhone users that want to purchase a drone. Luckily, the drone ecosystem is mature enough to have very well developed apps for iPhone users and android users. Sticking with a reputable drone manufacturer who has been around for a long time will be one of the best ways for you to ensure that your drone flying experience is positive.

The best drones for iPhone users include any drone manufactured by DJI, Autel, Skydio, Hubsan and Ruko. These drone manufacturers have proven themselves to be able to deliver a world-class experience on the Apple operating system for iPhones.

This article will go through all of the considerations you need to make to find the best drone for iPhone users.

We need to consider the manufacturer and the level of authority and trustworthiness they have built up with the Apple user base.

Drone from any one of these manufacturers

Drones became very popular in the mid-2000s, and the manufacturers decided that smartphones would become the perfect screen to accompany their live stream first-person view.

Since then, smartphones have been attached to remote drone controls to provide the live video stream and on-screen display metrics for flying safely.

Here are all manufacturers that have become very trusted in the drone space since consumer drones were first sold to the general public.

ManufacturerLink to AppsFlagship Drones
DJILink to Fly App
Link to GS Pro (iPad) App
Link to GO4 App
Link to DJI GO App
Link to DJI Pilot App
Mavic Air 3
Mavic Mini 2
AutelLink to AppEvo Lite
Evo Nano
Evo 2
SkydioLink to App Sydio 2

Each manufacturer has requirements for the operating system age and the device you run their App.

As drone manufacturers produce more sophisticated applications to run their drones, they require more and more hardware and computing power.

Here are the products recommended by DJI and Autel, the two leading manufacturers of drones for consumers and hobbyists.

Apple products recommended by DJI

DJI have a very specific requirement for connecting your drone to an iPhone.

The current requirements are to have the most up-to-date phone running iOS 11.0 or above. Some other manufacturers only require iOS nine or eight and above, but these tend to be much cheaper drones.

The trend seems to be that the more respected and mature manufacturers require much more up-to-date software and hardware to get the most out of flying their drones.

Get Apps here

Requires iOS 11.0 or above    iPhone 13 Pro Max, iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 12 Pro Max, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 11 Pro Max, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XS, iPhone XR, iPhone X, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone 8 (Older phones click here)

Apple products recommended by Autel

Get App here

Requires iPadOS 11.0 or laterRequires iOS 11.0 or later.

Now let’s take a look at all of the best drones for iPhone users, and I have included some subcategories to help you decide what drone is best for you. Many different manufacturers make sure that their drones are highly compatible with the Apple ecosystem, but, in my experience, these drones are the best.

Best beginner drone for iPhone

The best beginner drone for an iPhone combines affordability with powerful features.

My first drone was the DJI Mavic air. I was amazed that such a wide range of powerful features could be packed into a drone that I could carry daily.

Since the DJI Mavic Air, DJI’s drones have gotten much bigger, and I struggle to carry some of them throughout my day. The DJI Mavic mini is perfect because it is small, powerful, and affordable for people looking to get into the drone market.

Mavic Mini 2

Despite its small size, the DJI mini 2 comes with various sophisticated flight features and software. It boasts intelligent flying features, including a smart return to home, automated takeoff, accurate hovering, and all of the famous DJI flight modes.

The DJI app works perfectly with the iPhone, and it is incredibly powerful.

The following are some of the features:

  • Drone with a weight of 249 grammes
  • Level 5 wind resistance 
  • ultra-clear 4K video 
  • a huge range of clever settings and rapid shoots 
  • 10-kilometre video transmission range
  • Flight time is limited to up to 31 minutes.

The DJI small two is lightweight, weighing less than 249 grammes, making it suitable for travel and avoiding some of the red tape necessary in some countries. Drones weighing less than 250 grammes can be flown without a licence in some places.

Best photography drones for iPhone

Camera drones are getting more and more powerful year on year.

Certainly, the best photography drones for iPhone are the most up-to-date drones that have been released. Nonetheless, some older models can also boast impressive footage capabilities, including 4K and 60 frames per second recording.

The DJI Mavic air three is by far the best drone for photography at the moment for iPhones.

Mavic Air 3

Two cameras are fitted to the DJI Mavic air 3.

The first is a zoom camera, while the second is a Hasselblad 4/3 CMOS camera. The zoom camera’s hybrid zoom is 28x (optical and digital zoom).

Because the drone includes omnidirectional object detection, you can almost always expect collision-free flying.

Even if there are roadblocks, an advanced return to home means it will return home, compute the best route back to its original location, and avoid obstacles.

The features of this drone include:

  • 46 minutes of flight time
  • 15 km video transmission range
  • extreme precision positioning technology
  • 4/3 CMOS Camera
  • 5.1 K Pro Res
  • Two cameras

Once again, this drone comes with DJI’s highly rated flight app for iPhones that is getting better and better every year, along with the hardware supplied by the drones.

Best non-DJI drones for iPhone

Not everyone is keen on buying a drone from DJI.

Most people cite privacy reasons and working conditions for Chinese workers when they talk about their aversion to buying DJI drones. If you want to find out more about the best drones not made in China, check out my seven awesome options in the article.

Best drone not made in China

Autel has been proving itself as a powerhouse in the consumer drone market. The Evo lite and nano are fantastic competitors to DJI drones.

The App also works especially well with Apple devices.

Evo Lite

The Evo lite features a 1 inch CMOS image sensor and powerful moonlight algorithms, allowing you to capture great footage even in low-light situations. It can capture 30 frames per second and has a 6K resolution.

You can track fast-moving subjects with excellent autofocus that locks in within milliseconds. It has automated flying modes, such as rocket, fade away, and orbit, to shoot stunning footage rapidly.

The drone also has ultra-wide-angle object avoidance, ensuring that your drone is as safe as possible when flying.

The drone can fly for up to 40 minutes at a time.

Evo 2

Autel’s flagship drone is the EVO 2. You’ll be attempting to stretch your budget to try to purchase one once you realise how strong this drone is.

This drone series has pioneered unique payloads for professional photographers and provides outstanding image quality.

They have drones that can fly for up to 40 minutes and shoot footage in 8K resolution.

The Evo 2 Pro (for more information and a great package deal, go here!) has a spectacular 6K video resolution with a Sony generation CMOS sensor for excellent low-light performance. Stunning photos may be taken during the golden and blue hours.

This drone also has a 360° obstacle avoidance technology, which keeps your drone safe while allowing it to follow objects in a complex 3D environment.

Best follow me drone for iPhone

Sometimes you want your drone flight to be fun. I like the follow-me features on a range of drones but have often found that the follow me algorithms cannot follow me through complex environments.

Complex environments such as overhanging branches and other tricky overhanging obstacles can easily cause a drone to crash. Skydio is a company that has been working tirelessly to make a drone that is as easy to use as pushing a single button and walking away.

Skydio 2

This drone was created to fly as independently as possible.

The drone appears to be a wonderful alternative for individuals wishing to get into the autonomous drone game seriously, with a starting price of US$1349.

It features sophisticated flying artificial intelligence and can avoid obstacles from all sides. Six 4K cameras are used for navigation, allowing it to observe everything in every direction with remarkable detail. These cameras are what build the groundwork for the amazing automatic flying capabilities.

This drone is ideal for action sports over trees and other obstacles since it has increased artificial intelligence and obstacle avoidance, allowing it to track and follow you in even the most difficult environments. Making it ideal for concentrating on something other than operating the drone.

The drone can be flown using the beacon, App, or controller, giving you a full drone piloting experience if you want one.

iPhone drone buying guide

If you are purchasing a drone and you will be using your iPhone or iPad as the primary display, you need to make some important considerations.

The compatibility and future proof runway you have with your current device and the screen size are very important considerations because of the continual upgrading of the drone apps and the ease at which you can see the on-screen information for monitoring your drone flight.

Compatibility

What is the current age of your device and the operating system?

Unfortunately, we live in an age where devices and software get updated regularly. If you have a relatively old iPhone, it may not run the software required for flying your drone.

Also, if you have not updated your iPhone in the last two years, the drone software will likely not be able to run on your phone shortly.

It can be very expensive to purchase a new iPhone to run a drone, and there are plenty of cheaper android alternatives you could use as a dedicated device for running your drone.

If you currently have an up-to-date iPhone, you’ll be in a good position for operating nearly any drone on the market.

Remote or direct connection

Often drone manufacturers allow you to fly the drone using a connection to the remote control, or you can often fly drones directly from the smartphone using a Wi-Fi connection.

You can see the phone’s connection to the drone using both options in the gifs below.

Remote control connection

If you want to use your iPhone with the remote control, you need to make sure that the remote control fits into the remote control holder.

I have found that my smart devices cannot fit into the holder when they have a protective case outside.

Some thin protective cases can be squeezed into the holder whilst thicker ones must be removed. The constant removal of the case can be a pain, so it is important to check whether or not your iPhone will fit with your current modifications.

Wi-Fi connection

Directly connecting your iPhone to the drone using Wi-Fi is another way to control the drone.

My preference is to use the remote control as it gives you a much longer distance of collectivity. However, I have used a direct Wi-Fi connection for flights that do not require me to move far away from my current location.

Great for selfies, dronies and other self-photography missions.

Directly connecting your iPhone to the drone means that you do not have to carry the remote control with you, and it makes it much easier to get flying as soon as possible.

Screen size

I have found that the screen size of my drone is a big determiner of home well I can manage and operate my drone.

If you have an iPhone with a very small screen, it may be difficult to see all of the on-screen display items.

The screen can get very busy as it will show you all of these things:

  • timer – depending on the type of on-screen display you have purchased and installed, this could be “flight time” or “on time”.
  • Battery charge – one of the most significant characteristics of an on-screen display is reading the current charge status from the battery.
  • Radio signal strength – the RSS is a percentage representation of the radio signal strength. This number will alert you when you need to go closer to the remote control due to range issues.
  • Warnings – you can set up alerts on several on-screen displays to notify you when critical flight values are reached.
  • GPS – GPS data is critical because it allows you to obtain altitude data and your drone’s location. You can also acquire the drone’s top speed, as well as a recording of the takeoff and landing points. This data is crucial, and the fact that the home point is recorded has saved my life several times. It’s extremely simple to do.
  • Flight mode – if you are a pilot who regularly switches between flight modes, this could be the perfect readout to make sure that you are always in the flight mode you expect.

Cables

If you connect your smartphone directly to the remote control, you will need to connect it using cables.

An important consideration in the Apple ecosystem is the availability of these cables. They can become very expensive, and you need to make sure that plenty of third-party cables are available for you to connect your phone to your remote.

When I purchased my drone from DJI, it came with all the necessary connection cables.

However, the cables are quite regularly used and can be damaged very easily just through typical wear and tear. If you are travelling with your drone, you should ensure that you can get hold of a few more cables just in case they break.

Maturity of App

The longer the drone company has been around, the better the App.

If you are using your drone for activities through which you earn money, I would recommend sticking with the top manufacturers of drones. These top companies include:

  • DJI
  • Autel
  • Parrot

The more users you have of a drone application, the quicker it gets developed and the more resources the manufacturers have for troubleshooting bugs and solving other issues.

The final word

This article has been over everything you need to know about the best drone for iPhone users.

Be sure to pay particular attention to the buyer’s guide section of this article to ensure that you end up buying the perfect drone for yourself and you don’t end up with buyer’s remorse.

The Author

Dr Andrew Stapleton is a writer and YouTuber with a PhD in science. His drone footage has been featured on TV and he has written and/or produced videos for Science Alert, COSMOS magazine, and Australia's Science Channel among others. He has been a drone pilot for many years and has flown many types of drones. His favourite is still the DJI Mavic Air for the portability and functionality packed into a small and portable drone!