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Oct 29, 2015, 10:33 AM
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Technical Question: Can DJI force a firmware or software upgrade?

This is a technical question about existing systems.

* Is there any way that DJI can force a firmware or software upgrade? Say my system is up and running. Say I don't want any more upgrades. Is there anyway that DJI can force the upgrade?

* Can I just make sure I never have an internet connection, to prevent checking for upgrades. OR, if there are upgrades, prohibit DJI from forcing me to update my drones?

This is purely academic in nature. Just looking to see if there is anything built in, that allows DJI to make changes and force them on consumer. Like if the FAA says 400' limit and DJI decides to force that limit, on existing consumers. One of the reasons I ask, is because when I fired up my P3P, I saw (see) notices that say "firmware upgrade required" but in reality, at least now, it's not really required, since I've just ignored the warning. But that got me wondering if they could force it, if they wanted to. Obviously, the software is or was communicating with the internet, to even know an upgrade was available. That makes me wonder if there is any backdoor that could force the upgrade, if they wanted to.

I can envision ways of forcing it but don't know if they have such capability. One way would be with a status on the criticality of an upgrade. I'm pretty sure, if I just make sure there is no internet, that it can't be one now. But if there are some modes that require internet, that might allow them to check again and change status, assuming capability even exists.

Just curious.
Last edited by MikeMSD; Oct 29, 2015 at 10:40 AM.
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Oct 29, 2015, 11:11 AM
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No, DJI Phantom and the like have no connection to the internet. If you never plug it into an internet-enabled computer and run their software, there is no chance it ever being updated.

Now, if you want to use the included software from time to time... that is doable, but a bit more tricky. If you block the DJI software application from connecting to the internet in your firewall, or turn on airplane mode on your device before you connect it, it can't "phone home" so to speak to look for updates. You can also block all of DJI's update servers in your 'hosts' file but that's a little more work. A little analyzation of where they check for updates will be required in order to block it.

If they want to, they can make this process a real pain in the butt and prevent you from being able to use their software if you don't have an internet connection, if you haven't updated firmware in X amount of days or months time (in which then you may need to try evading by setting back the computer clock). I don't believe they're doing this now, but it's just a example.

People have been using the above methods to pirate software successfully for years (because it can't receive updates or it'll break the crack) and I have no doubt they'd work fine here.

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