Surprise DJI Mavic 3 update adds all the features it should have had at launch

The DJI Mavic 3 drone in flight on a blue background
(Image credit: DJI)

A big, surprise DJI Mavic 3 firmware update has delivered a long list of new features to the flagship drone – most of which it should have had at launch.

Rather than adding new functionality, the new features fill some glaring holes. The Mavic 3's firmware update includes shooting modes like FocusTrack, MasterShots, and Timelapse, all of which are already available on its more affordable drones.

The reason the firmware update is a surprise is because DJI had previously announced that it wouldn't arrive until January 22. But a new update for the drone (v01.00.0400) and DJI Fly App (v1.5.4) landed today, giving Mavic 3 owners these unexpected, albeit necessary, pre-Christmas treats.

In addition to those aforementioned, entry-level skills, the update brings a raw-only photo mode, some reduced noise when shooting ProRes on the Mavic 3 Cine version, and reduced vibration of the aircraft arms "in some scenarios", although it's unclear how this is accomplished through firmware.

The remaining improvements are more like post-launch fixes, including improvements to the Return-to-Home (RTH) performance, obstacle avoidance, and hovering stability. And, yes, there are some bug fixes that address, for instance, the occasional appearance of abnormal colors in some situations and a problem that meant some computers couldn't connect via USB.

This update doesn't fix all of the DJI Mavic 3's issues. DJI told us it "will continue to refine in future firmware updates" the intelligent flight modes, like MasterShots. Also, other missing features, like QuickTransfer, QuickShots, and Panorama mode, "will be made available through firmware updates in January 2022".

To update the firmware on your DJI Mavic 3, you can download the v1.5.4 version of the DJI Fly app from the DJI website, then install Aircraft Firmware v01.00.0400 to access the new features. Alternatively, you can use the DJI Assistant 2 app for Mac/Windows, which you can download from the same place.

Analysis: A welcome fix for an increasingly common problem

The DJI Mavic 3 drone in flight on a blue background

(Image credit: DJI)

It's pretty clear that the DJI Mavic 3 was rushed out for the end-of-year shopping season before it was fully cooked – and while this early firmware fix does promise to fill most of its feature gaps, it is another example of an increasingly problem in tech.

Not long ago, firmware updates were mainly used to fix bugs and smooth out minor software wrinkles. But we're increasingly seeing flagship products launch with the promise of major features in a later firmware update. The Nikon Z9, for example, won't be able to shoot 8K/60p video until 2022, while Canon has also belatedly added major autofocus upgrades to cameras like the Canon EOS R6.

The DJI Mavic 3 was far from unusable at launch – we gave the drone a four-star rating in our original review, because its Four Thirds camera is still a major leap forward for folding drones, despite the missing software features. DJI also have a pretty good track record at delivering updates, so we were happy to recommend it to early adopters, despite those caveats.

But we'll be keen to test it again with these updates, and the ones promised in January, to see it deserves a different rating, because the missing features are collectively a pretty big part of the flying experience, particularly for beginners who may want to lean on its automated flying modes.

Mark Wilson
Senior news editor

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 both TechRadar and Trusted Reviews, Acting editor on, 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.