DJI Mini 4 Pro and Air 3 – New, Improved Return to Home

The Return To Home feature on the Mini 4 Pro and Air 3 has been enhanced. The new mode Optimal utilizes the omnidirectional obstacle avoidance system to save battery time. There are also some new visual aids for a safer user experience

Return To Home is a crucial and often misunderstood safety operation for a drone. It is important to know how it works to avoid accidents, especially when running short of battery

In this video, I will show all you need to know about it

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If you prefer to watch it as a video, you will find my YouTube version at the end of this video

Three RTH situations


It is possible to manually trigger a Return To Home at any time by holding the button on the left of the remote controller

Another possibility is to tap on the H icon on the left of the screen; a choice will appear on the screen between landing or RTH

In both cases, the aircraft will immediately turn toward the Home Point’s direction and start returning home

Before using this feature make sure that the Home Point doesn’t have obstructions above, like trees or buildings. The drone should also be in a location free from obstacles above


In the Safety tab of Settings, it is possible to choose Advanced Safety Settings to specify the action to be taken in case of signal loss with the following options:

  • Descend is to be avoided, as the drone may end up in the water, on someone’s property, or over trees or bushes
  • Hover is the best choice when flying under trees or other obstacles, as the aircraft will remain in a stationary position and we can take manual control
  • Return to Home is the one I use on all other occasions

Short Battery Life

By tapping on the icon showing the percentage of battery left, we can visualize how much time we have until the battery is depleted, until forced landing, and until a Return To Home

When the battery runs below the threshold, an RTH is initiated

When a Return To Home is triggered, it is possible to abort it by tapping on the Cancel RTH icon on the left of the screen

Position of the Home Point

Where to Set the Home Point

A return to Home always brings the aircraft back to where the Home point is set. It is therefore important to make sure that the Home Point is in the correct location

After turning on the controller and the drone, the Home Point is automatically set after a certain number of satellites are connected, a voice message will confirm that it has been updated

This generally takes about one minute. I always wait for the voice message before moving away from the take-off point to ensure that the Home point will be in that position

If we fly away immediately after turning on the drone and the controller, the point will be set further away, which can confuse when returning, especially in case of low battery

Operator in Motion

If the operator moves during the flight, for example on a car, on a boat, on a bicycle, or while hiking, the home point remains in the original position

If a return home is initiated, the drone might fly in an unexpected direction, maybe even further away from the operator. This can be dangerous because of obstacles or when running short of battery

In this situation, I always update the Home Point to the position of the controller before triggering a Return To Home

The position of the home point is shown on the map by a yellow circle around an H, the remote controller by a blue dot, and the aircraft by a triangular shape

Update Home Point

It is possible to modify the Position of the home point at any time in the tab Safety of the Settings by selecting the option Update Home Point

A map appears on the screen with the position of the Home Point relative to the aircraft and to the controller

It is possible to drag the yellow circle on the map to move it manually, or it can be automatically updated to the position of the aircraft or the controller by tapping on the two icons on top of the window

In most cases, I prefer to automatically set the home point to the position of the controller

New Visual Aids

With the Mini 4 Pro and Air 3 DJI has introduced new visual aids for RTH

There is a handy icon with the letter H showing the direction of the Home Point. I can now constantly track the home point and find it very easy to bring back the aircraft manually, so I don’t use the manual RTH much anymore

A green track shows the itinerary of the aircraft during the RTH. It is useful to check for any obstacles on the way

Just before landing a shadow icon shows the exact landing position. It gets bigger when the aircraft is closer to the ground, it can be helpful in case of an uneven landing area  

We can enable or disable these visual aids in the Safety tab of Settings by opening the option AR Settings

Return To Home Modes

Two types of RTH can be chosen in the Safety tab of Settings in the option Advanced RTH


Preset is the traditional one

The Auto Return Altitude must be specified in the Safety Settings just below Advanced RTH

When a Return To Home is triggered, the aircraft will ascend to the specified height before flying toward the Home Point and then descend to land

Even though the Mini 4 Pro is equipped with omnidirectional obstacle detection, I prefer to set the Return Altitude at a height above all surrounding obstacles, but not too high, as otherwise it will take longer to ascend and redescend for landing, which could be dangerous if we are running out of battery

In most cases, I choose a height between 30 and 40 meters in a flat environment

Optimal RTH

Optimal takes advantage of the omnidirectional obstacle detection system of the Mini 3 Pro

The aircraft will find the shortest path between the position of the aircraft and the Home Point avoiding obstacles, thus saving time and battery life

The sensors struggle to detect wiry obstacles such as electric lines and bare branches, therefore some care is needed

In low-light conditions, obstacle detection is not available, so the drone will ascend to the Auto Return Altitude and fly to the Home Point, but it will not be able to avoid obstacles

If You Prefer to Watch It as a Video


I am Vittorio Caramazza, aka Vicvideopic, the founder of this website and author of all the posts. I am a videographer and photographer contributing to several stock agencies. I am an Adobe Certified Expert in Photoshop and Lightroom. I have 10 years of experience with dron videography and photography. I was struck by drone syndrome in 2013. I have owned and tested in depth the following drones: Phantom 3, Phantom 4, Phantom 4 Pro, Mavic 2 Zoom, Mavic 2 Pro, Mavic Mini, Mini 2, Air 2, Air 2s, Autel Evo Nano Plus, Mavic 3, Mini 3 Pro, Mini 3. My home has turned into a breeding ground for drones. I am the owner of two YouTube channels specializing in Videography and Photography, with a focus on drones My main channel is VicVideopic (in English): My other channel is Drone Mitico, the Italian version.: I am currently based in Sicily (Southern Italy), but I tend to move quite often. After all, this is one of the main benefits of being a digital nomad…

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