How to Change Units to Feet on DJI Fly App [gif and photos]

When you get a new drone, such as the Mavic Mini, it’s an exciting time for aspiring cinematographers or anyone wanting to perform independent research. It’s even better when the DJI Fly app allows you to edit the recording.

What isn’t great is when you are not able to properly understand your flight record because the units are different from what you’re used to. Keep reading to see the steps to take to change the units your app uses to feet, to meters, or to whatever unit you need.

Gif showing the process of changing Units to Feet on DJI Fly App

Connect Your Drone to the App

If you have just gotten your DJI drone, and are ahead of most, you’ll need to connect your drone to the DJI GO iOS app in order to follow the rest of the steps. To set up your drone with the app, you need to start by powering up the drone and transmitter.

Tap the app’s icon. Tap the tab with the name of your drone, such as PHANTOM1 or MINI2. If the camera tab is a light grey, it’s because your iOS phone or other device hasn’t been connected to the transmitter yet. Do so by connecting the lightning cable of the transmitter to the device. Once they are connected, click “next”.

At this point, you would give a name to your drone to distinguish it from others you own and make it easy to reconnect. You’ll be met with three options for control mode. Mode 2 is usually recommended because it’s the default setting.

After you get past the controls, you’ll have your first opportunity to choose your preferred unit of measurement: metric or imperial. You’ll want imperial to see feet and miles per hour.

Go through the rest of the settings to finish activating your drone. If you forgot to switch the units from metric or something happened to reset the units, continue with the following steps to reset your preference.

Go to Settings

Okay! Now that you’re connected, you need to click the three dots in the top right corner of your screen. You know, the (…). This will allow you to open the DJI iOS app’s settings. Your settings menu should open.

Go to the Control Tab

At the top of the app’s settings, you should see the following tabs:

  • Safety
  • Control
  • Camera
  • Transmission
  • About

The safety tab will allow you to set the maximum altitude and distance that your drone can go. Some of you may need to actually click the status indicator of your drone on the top left side of the screen.

The Camera app won’t allow you to change the units of measurement either, it just allows you to change things like your camera’s shutter speed, exposure value, aperture, etc.

Finally, the Transmission tab will just allow you to adjust your device’s processing speed, such as 2.4Ghz or 5.8Ghz.

The tab you want is the Control tab. So go ahead and click on it.

Go to the Units Section

Once you’re in the control tab, you should see the following from top to bottom:

  • Units
  • Gimbal Mode
  • Advanced Gimbal Settings

Don’t pay any attention to the Gimbal options. Gimbals are responsible for stabilizing your drone and capturing video footage that you can see properly from high altitudes.

These won’t have any bearing on how your flights are measured in height in distance. Back at the top, in the units section, is what you want.

Switch Chosen Unit of Measurement

In the units section, there will be three options: two metric options, one for meters and one for kilometers, and one imperial system.

Switch from your currently chosen metric unit of measurement to the imperial by tapping on the imperial option.

Now your iOS device should have updated your preference. Go back to the device’s camera home screen to make sure the changes were saved.

Warnings for Switching Units

Now that your units are what you prefer, there are a couple of things to know that can affect your saved settings and how you fly.

First, keep in mind that your app may go back to the default metric units after an app update or system error. This can be the case whether your device automatically updates the app or if you manually update it by uninstalling the app and reinstalling it, choosing the APK download option.

Second, be sure once you understand the units of measurement that you keep your drone within the restricted height and distance guidelines of your state.

Once again, you can go back to your settings in the DJI Fly app, go to the safety tab, and see what your maximum altitude and distance is set to. The units should have changed in the settings as well so that you can readjust the safety limits if you have to.

Film and Fly

Now you are free to fly (within the lawful limitations) and capture magnificent imagery, capture wildlife behaviors, shoot an epic homemade action movie, record your own music video, and perform more effective independent research.

Maybe understanding your flight speed and height isn’t too important for some of these ideas, but if you are, for example, an aspiring music video choreographer and you’re trying to get the shots right, it helps to know where the right level for the drone to be is.

That way, you’ll be able to reshoot if you have to without worrying about if the drone will be on the same level you wanted. If that doesn’t work, we could try learning the metric system.

Conclusion

DJI’s default settings are suited especially for those who are familiar with the metric system, which is everyone except the United States. So, for any American, like yourself, who has a DJI drone such as the DJI AIR2s, MINI, MINI2, etc., and cannot read Japanese, hopefully, this article helped.

Happy filming!

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!