The Mobile SDK, which gives developers access to a drone's core functions, now supports the DJI Mini 2, DJI Mini SE, and DJI Air 2S drones. This is currently only the case on Android, although a similar update to the iOS SDK should be en route.
The news means that popular apps like Litchi and Drone Harmony are now working on updates that will bring useful features like subject-tracking and advanced flight planning to the three drones.
Drone Harmony told us that its Android app update will land "at the end of January or beginning of February". And Litchi is working to a similar timescale, telling us that "we hope to release the update to public this month, if testing goes well which so far is promising".
When we asked Litchi about a timescale for iOS support, though, it warned us that the DJI SDK team had revealed iOS SDK support "is still being planned, with no specific release date". A Litchi spokesperson added that "unfortunately it is anyone's guess when it will be – in the past they always released both at the same time".
Still, while iPhone users have been strangely left out in the cold, the news is good for anyone who owns one of DJI's more affordable drones along with an Android phone. The older DJI Mavic Mini has long benefitted from third-party apps, and it's about time its newer siblings benefitted from the same features.
Analysis: A timely boost for the DJI Mini 2
One of the biggest missing features on the DJI Mini 2 is ActiveTrack subject-tracking, which allows more expensive DJI drones to continuously track a person or object.
The reason for its absence on the Mini 2 is because that drone lacks obstacle avoidance sensors, which can make using autonomous modes a little more tricky. But third-party apps like Litchi include 'track and follow' modes that are similar to ActiveTrack, along with other features like creating Waypoint routes for the drone to automatically fly through.
This means DJI's long-awaited Mobile SDK update is a pretty big deal for the Mini 2 in particular, along with the Mini SE, as it brings more advanced features that are usually only available on DJI's pricier drones.
It's a shame, and a little strange, that DJI hasn't yet updated its iOS SDK yet, but the new Android version suggests it's at least in the pipeline. And with rumors about a possible DJI Mini 3 still very thin on the ground, it makes the DJI Mini 2 – which we still rate as the best drone for beginners – an even more tempting proposition for anyone who's looking for their first drone.
- Check out our guide to the world's best drones
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Mark is TechRadar's Senior news editor. Having worked in tech journalism for a ludicrous 17 years, Mark is now attempting to break the world record for the number of camera bags hoarded by one person. He was previously Cameras Editor at Trusted Reviews, Acting editor on Stuff.tv, as well as Features editor and Reviews editor on Stuff magazine. As a freelancer, he's contributed to titles including The Sunday Times, FourFourTwo and Arena. And in a former life, he also won The Daily Telegraph's Young Sportswriter of the Year. But that was before he discovered the strange joys of getting up at 4am for a photo shoot in London's Square Mile.