There’s nothing worse than going out, flying, getting some great cinematic footage, and then getting home, pulling the SD card, and what?! What happened! Where’s that great footage? It’s nowhere to be found on the SD card. This can’t be; this just can’t be.
You go into the Fly app and bring up the storage, and there, there it is. There’s your footage. But wait, the SD card is still in your laptop or PC.
What’s going on here? Is it cached footage? How do I get my footage? Where is my footage stored? Don’t fit yourself for a dunce hat just yet. We’ve all done this.
No, that great footage is on the Mavic Air 2 (or 2S’s) internal 8 GB of storage. Whew! What a relief! It’s stored somewhere, at least. Internal storage, huh? That’s something alright, so how do I get that great footage then?
Drones have always had some form of internal storage, after all. It’s needed for the operational programming that makes flying such an aircraft possible.
The DJI Mavic Air 2 and the Air 2S both come with not only that built-in needed storage capacity but it also comes with 8 GB of internal onboard storage that you can use just like it was an SD card.
Not a whole lot of storage by our standards today, of course, but more than enough if you’re just throwing the quad up for some quick photos or short video clips. Or you forgot the SD card. This is another one we’ve all done.
Now that we know where our footage went, how do we access it? Also, how do you switch to the SD card for that expanded capacity? After all, I’m not stuck with just this 8 GB, am I?
All very good questions, ones we hope we can address for you below. We’ll begin with how to transfer that footage.
USB-C to USB Method
Perhaps you have made the mistake our fictitious pilot above has made, having collected some video footage, and found that it was stored in the internal storage on board the aircraft.
Not to the SD card. In order to get that footage from the internal storage of the aircraft we need to follow this procedure.
The USB-C to USB method is a direct connection from the Air 2/2S to your Mac or PC. It’s also the same method of connecting used with the Assistant 2 App.
This method requires a few more steps to perform than using an SD card reader, where we simply remove the card and insert it into the card reader.
However, this method does allow you to access any video/photos that might have been stored on internal storage, as well as your SD card media if an SD card is still installed in the craft.
In order to perform this process, you will need to have the original USB-C cable that came with your Air 2 or Air 2s. Or the equivalent type of data cable.
Step 1. Locate the USB-C slot on the left side of the Air 2/Air 2S and open the protective cover.
Step 2. Plug the supplied USB-C cable into the Air 2’s USB-C port.
Step 3. Turn on your Air 2/2S by single pressing the power button once, then press and hold the power button until the drone powers up. Plug the USB end of the plug into an open USB port on your Mac or PC.
Dependent on what type of system you’re using, MAC or PC, after you have completed the first 3 steps, you will then see on your Mac’s desktop, 2 new folders representing the internal storage and the SD card if still in the aircraft.
If using a PC and on how you have it set up, you should hear the audio tone your device plays when a new device is plugged in.
Here it will depend on how you have your device setup. Most have it set up where the file window opens upon plugging in the device.
If you have your system set up this way, the contents of the internal storage of the aircraft should be displayed. If you don’t have this feature setup, you can find the Drive for the Aircraft you have plugged into the device under “THIS PC”.
Click on the drive that is the aircraft, and the file contents should open in a new window.
Step 4. For Mac users, to access the internal storage, simply double-click the “Untitled” new folder. This will open a Finder window and bring you to the directory tree containing DCIM, LOST.DIR, and MISC.
Step 4. For PC users, to access the internal storage, double-click on the new drive that popped up on the My PC page. This will open the Mavic Air 2 or Air 2S’s Drive folders in File Explorer. Click the DCIM, LOST.DIR, and MISC. in the Drive’s folder.
For both MAC and PC users, the rest of the process is basically the same once gaining access to the DCIM file.
- Double-click the DCIM Directory.
- This will open the 100MEDIA directory.
- Double-click to open.
It is here that you will see your videos, listed as MP4 files or MOV files depending on the recording option chosen within the DJI Fly App and set inside the aircraft, and your photos.
At this point, you are able to copy or interact with the file(s) on your Mac or PC. You will also notice that there are two files for every file, or copies of everything.
Those files are labeled with an SRT.
Note: SRT files are backup copies of the original files that are at a lower resolution than the main files that are recorded or captured at the setting format you, the user, set up.
Switching from internal to external storage
Of course, there are going to be many times when 8 GB of storage just isn’t going to cut it. Let’s be honest, 8 GB just isn’t much storage space in the world of 4K or higher recording formats and such.
You will need to use the external SD card more often than not with its massive ability to handle SD cards up to a 256 GB limit.
There are a few ways to switch between the two storage systems.
The first method occurs when you put an SD card into the aircraft.
At that time, you will be asked through a popup menu window as to which method you want to use once the SD card has been picked up after being inserted into the craft.
If you missed the Pop-up window, pulling the SD card out and putting it back in will bring the prompt back up.
The other method is a bit more manual and involves going into the DJI Fly app’s camera menu settings.
Step 1. Tap the ellipsis in the upper right-hand corner on the DJI Fly Apps main screen. This will bring up the general Settings menu.
Step 2. At the top of this menu window, select camera. This will open the camera setting window.
Step 3. Scroll down this page till you see the storage option. It is here that you can switch manually between using the internal storage to the external storage and vice versa.
It didn’t work! Now what?
In a perfect world, these methods work 100% of the time. Ah, but oh, if we lived in a perfect world! Unfortunately, when it comes to one piece of technology talking to another, things can be very imperfect indeed.
When we find ourselves in these situations, the first thought we all have is – smash it with a hammer!
Although that method certainly releases one’s frustrations, it does not solve the problem but makes it even worse.
So, before we go all Hulk Smash on our gear, there are a few things we can check and attempt to fix the problem.
One of the first things that may block the Aircraft from being recognized when plugged in is your Firewall.
It may be actively blocking the Aircraft from connecting.
So, it’s always good to check the device’s firewall settings to make sure it’s allowing the connection to go through.
This one is very common and happens to the best of us, and even though you have authorized this aircraft in the past, it’s possible that a firmware update has re-blocked the connection.
Another reason for the DJI Mavic Air 2 or Air 2S not connecting, and this one’s harder to establish, is the USB-C cable that you’re using.
In a world where we are literally drowning in cables for all of our devices, it’s a possibility that the cord your grabbed wasn’t a data cable.
It could just be a charging cable and not a data/charging cable combo.
As hard as it is to believe in today’s cable-connected world, you may still find cables that don’t transfer data.
Another possibility when it’s a cable issue is that the cable somehow got damaged and no longer works properly. This one has caught us all at some point.
The fact is, cables do wear out; we pull on them, we yank them. They can go through a lot of abuse and can get damaged, usually without showing any outward signs of said damage.
Trying a different, or multiple different cables can help in discovering whether the cable is the issue.
EEK! This is the worst-case scenario, one that I hope wouldn’t be the case. Back around to that imperfect world thing again, this does exist as a possibility, although remote.
If you’ve done everything, and I mean everything, from trying multiple cables and devices, checking the Firewall, and other defensive measures we use with our electronics, making sure all the equipment is up to date on its firmware, and yet for some reason or another your aircraft just isn’t connecting, it’s time to make the CALL, or email or chat to DJI.
There is a possibility that the issue may be hardware related or that the experts can assist in finding what the cause is and guide you to a solution.
Be mindful, though, that this is a rare occurrence, and the problem usually lies with one of the above-mentioned causes.
A good way to verify this, however, is to try a different aircraft if you have one and see if the problem persists. This would point more to an issue with the firewall/security of the device’s system than to the aircraft itself.
Or see if the problem persists with someone else’s system that you know works with their aircraft. Many times when there is a hiccup, you just need to follow the process of elimination until you uncover the cause.
Fly Safe, Fly Always, Always Fly Safe!