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How to Find a Lost Drone? New & Easiest Methods (2024)

By: Richard J. Gross
Updated On: January 1, 2022

A drone is a great tool to capture photos and video from the sky. However, if you lose it or it gets stolen, your problems may not end there.

Drone operators need permission to fly in many locations such as airports and stadiums, so don’t be surprised when local law enforcement asks you what’s up with your new toy! This post will explain how to find a lost drone.

With the increasing popularity and a flying range of drones, it is getting easier to lose your drone in some open fields where the line of sight is not as clear as a park.

This is dangerous as most drones are not made for direct contact with the ground and can be damaged if they crash or hit something on their way down. There are numerous ways to find your drones in different situations.

If you lost or crashed your drone in a dense forest, the best way to find it is by using a GPS tracker. The device will send its location via mobile phone and allow you to easily retrieve it from the ground even if you don’t have any signal on your phone.

You can also attach such trackers directly to drones, so they are easier to find in open fields. In other cases, it gets trickier.

Given Below are a Couple of Ways You can Use to Find a Lost Drone

Here are a few of the best ways that you can use to find your lost drones.

Return Home Button

If in case your drone is still flying but has flown out of the transmitting range, you can use the return home button to make it fly back. It will either land at its take-off point or where it lost contact with your controller, so that’s one way of finding a flying drone.

how to find a lost drone

This option is only available if the battery on your drone has not died yet and it still has enough charge to safely get itself back to you. This feature is getting more and more common nowadays because of this very reason, which makes it one of the best ways to find a lost drone.

Follow the Path of the Drone

The most commonly used way to find a lost drone is to go and find your drone by searching it in places that you flew it in. This is also one of the most difficult ways because you’ll have to go through dense forests, tall grass or bushes, and other tough areas where it might be hard for you to spot it.

You should think strategically about your next steps while trying this method so that you do not misplace yourself in an unknown area.

The best way to find a lost drone this way is by marking down its last location on your map before losing contact with it then finding out the path which you need to take in the first place. It will help if there are any roads nearby as they could act as guidelines for determining your direction easily.

However, make sure that these paths are well lit enough; otherwise, even if their bright light doesn’t reach up all the corners, at least you can see where they end.

Find the GPS Coordinates

Another useful way of finding a lost drone is to find out its GPS coordinates by tracking it. To do so, you will have to put the battery back into your controller then turn on the one that was in your device when you were flying it.

how to find a lost drone

You can locate them using an app on your smartphone. This method may be difficult if there are any obstacles between where you’re standing and where the signal is coming from because they could interfere with radio waves or cellular signals, which would result in inaccurate or no data being tracked at all.

This might sound like an easy option but keep in mind that this works best for drones with a built-in GPS tracker system; otherwise, trying to get precise locations via satellite systems won’t work unless, of course, both devices have a connection with the satellite.

Take Help from Your Drone Buddy

If you are flying more than one drone at the same time, then there might be a chance that your friend is still around to help you find the lost device.

This method works best for people who have an RC buddy or someone they fly drones with often because this person will definitely know how big of a radius their signal covers during the flight which means searching it over an exact area can reduce search times significantly.

how to find a lost drone by taking help from your friend

You just have to ask them where they last saw yours and if they tracked its location accurately. If yes, then finding it should not take too long as compared to other approaches on this list.

However, make sure that these paths are well lit enough; otherwise, even if their bright light doesn’t reach up all the corners, at least you can see where they end.

This method works well for people who have a friend nearby or someone who can be reached quickly, which means this might not always work if you are going solo and the drone is hard to locate on your own.

Use the Brand Application to Find the Drone

Another way to find a lost drone is by using the brand application. Most of these apps are installed in all kinds of drones nowadays because they can provide useful information that helps you track down your device easily.

If there’s one particular app that comes pre-installed on your device, then this option will not be so hard for you, especially if it works smoothly and quickly, which means faster search times even without any previous experience with the technology depending on how well-developed the software was made.

how to find a lost drone by brand application

You just have to download it from an app store or ask someone who has already used their products before for help regarding installing them onto other devices than what they’re originally intended for.

This might sound like an easy option but keep in mind that this method only works if the brand’s application is compatible with your device and can be installed correctly.

Use the Internet to Find Your Drone

Another way to find a lost drone is by using the internet. This method works best for people who are not in their own region, which means you can’t really use this if you’re looking for one that has gone missing at home but instead, it would be better to try out other approaches on this list first.

However, there’s still hope if yours got stolen or taken away from somewhere else because finding drones through social media networks like Facebook and Twitter could prove beneficial, especially if they have GPS trackers installed into them.

As long as the owner tags its location, then chances of tracking it down will increase even further since all posts must come with geotags enabled. Otherwise, they will remain invisible to everyone else. Plus, these cameras are usually very powerful, so they can easily cover a bigger radius than usual which means you’ll have to take less time searching it over the internet.

This method works well for people who are traveling and want to search their device faster before heading back home because finding drones through social media networks might not be possible if your friend hasn’t posted about its location yet or tagged it correctly on other platforms like Instagram, Flickr or Tumblr just to name a few.

The only downside of this approach is that most hackers use these sites as part of scams nowadays, but still, there’s no need to worry much since tracking down one lost drone will definitely beat losing two by far!

Also Read: What is Headless Mode and How they Work on Drone?

Look for Lights During the Night

If you can’t find a lost drone during daylight which means it’s probably going to be harder for you to see its lights at night. However, there are still ways of tracking down your device even if everyone else is asleep and keeps on doing so until morning comes around again.

In fact, this method works best for people who have an infrared remote control that emits invisible beams just like their cameras do when they’re in use because these signals come from one direction only, which means finding them will not take too long, especially with the help of a flashlight or some other light source since both devices must emit visible light instead of using heat lamps or something similar.

how to find a lost drone by lights

Plus, most drones also have sounds installed on them as well, so all you need to do is listen for it then follow the direction where you hear these noises coming from.

Even though this method might sound simple enough, there are still chances of losing track since some drones have very soft sounds to them, which makes it harder to tell if it’s yours or not, so keep that in mind before deciding on whether or not to try out this approach should be worth your time and effort.

Remember, hunting down a lost drone can prove difficult but nothing beats finding one quickly, especially when you need all kinds of information about their parts, including price comparisons as well!

Related: What is Night Vision Drones, Where are they used?

What to do if Your Drone is Lost for Good?

As we all know that drones need to be registered in order to fly legally, and this is especially true if you live in the US because there’s a strict policy over here which means anyone who wants to use them for commercial purposes must do so with all details filled out and submitted or else, they’ll be fined.

Just like any other item that gets lost, no matter how expensive it might get, losing drones can become very frustrating since owners will have to pay more money just to replace these devices even when the damage isn’t their fault at all because repairs are not covered by warranty anymore unless stated otherwise.

If anyone uses your drone illegally, the first suspect will be you, even if you didn’t do anything wrong at all because the government tends to assume that owners are responsible for their actions which means they can get into some serious trouble since it’s considered a criminal offense.

Plus, this is not only true when it comes to flight but also on land as well, so make sure you understand your local laws before flying drones around, especially near airports or over private property without permission!

Things to do if You Lost Your Drone

So here are some of the things that you need to do when your drone gets lost in the wild.

Report the Lost Drone to Your Local Authorities

The very first thing you must do if a drone gets lost is report it to the police. Even though most people opt out of doing so instead of preferring other methods, this process still helps prevent any criminal charges from being pressed against them.

Law enforcers know that accidents can happen anytime, anywhere, and they’ll always rule in favor of civilians as long as their intentions are good which means flying drones near airports or private property without permission will not be tolerated under any conditions whatsoever!

Follow the following steps to report your lost drones to the local police:

  • Find out if your local authorities have a dedicated website for drone owners. If so, you should be able to report it online or even through their official phone lines, which makes the process much easier than expected, especially since most people aren’t too keen on doing this themselves because they’re afraid of any consequences that might come along with reporting lost drones in public places where security cameras are installed nearby just like airports and other properties owned by private companies!
  • Make sure that all information is filled out properly before submitting anything. The last thing you want is to fill out forms without providing important data such as model number, brand name, serial numbers, etc…because law enforcers will not accept reports unless details are provided beforehand, which means additional time will be needed in order to gather all necessary information!
  • Keep a copy of your report for future reference because local authorities might need it depending on how useful the details you provided are. There’s no harm with keeping everything organized which is why filing copies away isn’t such a bad idea, especially when they can come in handy whenever drones get lost somewhere else, which means reporting them becomes easier than expected while also being convenient at the same time so keep that in mind before submitting anything online or on land!

Deregister a Drone

When a drone gets lost, it’s important to deregister this device with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), especially if you live in the US since they won’t allow owners to fly drones around unless their registration is up-to-date, which means getting rid of them becomes pretty difficult without any help whatsoever.

Doing so will prevent anything bad from happening down the line because security cameras are designed to identify registered devices only, meaning that anyone who uses an unregistered one cannot be identified by authorities even when caught on tape!

This obviously makes flying illegal much easier than expected, at least for now, until things start changing over time, but as long as you follow all local rules and regulations, then there should not be any problems popping up whenever someone wants to use drones in public areas like parks where security cameras are installed nearby!

Follow the following steps to deregister your drone:

  • You’ll need to make sure that you register your drone before even buying it. Fortunately, this process is pretty straightforward and only requires filling out an online form which means anyone can handle things on their own, especially newcomers who want to test the waters without too many complications along the way!
  • Unfortunately, deregistering a device is not as easy as registering it for obvious reasons meaning you should always keep proper documentation just in case someone tries accusing you of any wrongdoing later on down the line because law enforcers might ask for proof whenever accidents happen near airports or other private properties where security cameras are installed nearby so be prepared!
  • If needed, find out if there’s anything else required by local authorities regarding getting rid of unregistered drones. Since requirements vary from state to state, it’s best that you get in touch with both your local authorities and the FAA itself just to be on the safe side, which makes things much easier than expected, especially if there are no other issues involved. Whatsoever!
  • This way, everyone will be better off when accidents happen unexpectedly because law enforcers can easily identify who was at fault whenever such incidents occur regardless of whether an unregistered drone got lost somewhere due to technical issues or simply because someone flew it too close to an airport without realizing this until it was too late.

How not to Lose Your Drone?

Given below is a list of safety measures to avoid losing drones,

Fly in Clear Skies

how to find a lost drone fly in clear sky

The easiest thing that you can do to not lose your drone is to not fly it in cloudy weather. This is especially true if you are an amateur pilot since there’s no way to tell how good the visibility will be at any given point, which means it might end up getting lost in the fog or even raindrops.

Do not Fly at Night

Night flying is a lot more difficult because drones cannot be seen from the ground, which means that you will not know where exactly they are going. This can lead to losing them in many different ways, so it’s best if you wait until morning when visibility should be much better than during evening hours or nighttime!

Keep the Drone in Your Line of Sight while Flying

It goes without saying that your drone should always be in sight while you fly it, which is a lot easier than expected and only requires one person to watch the controls at all times! This way, there will never be any accidents or security problems, especially when flying over private properties where cameras might appear nearby. This makes catching people on tape much easier than expected.

Take Pictures Frequently

Another thing that you might want to consider is taking pictures from time to time. This way, if anything happens, you can always check the images and see where your drone ended up going, which makes it much easier than expected!

Record the Path of the Drone

As long as you record the path of your drone while flying it, there should be no problems whatsoever. This can easily be done by connecting a GPS tracker to it and marking down its location whenever something unexpected happens!

Save the Location of the Drone Frequently

And finally, it’s a good idea to save the location of your drone whenever you land it or encounter any complications during flight. This way, you will be able to return back and pick up where things went wrong without too many extra problems along the way, which can make flying much easier than expected!

Frequently Asked Questions

Will the Insurance Cover a Lost Drone?

The best answer to this question is that it depends on the details of your policy since some policies might not cover all drone-related incidents.
This means that you might want to read the fine print of your policy before buying a drone insurance plan so that there are no unpleasant surprises later on down the line!

What if I Crash My Drone?

If you are flying your drone for recreational purposes, then there should be absolutely no problems whatsoever. However, if you are flying it for commercial purposes, then there might be consequences depending on the nature of your business.

Can I Track My Drone?

Absolutely! There are many different GPS trackers on the market that you can connect to your drone in order to locate it when lost. This is especially true if you are flying it over private properties where security cameras might be able to help in your search.


If you lost your drone, don’t worry. There’s a lot of good news and bad news to take away from this article. The good is that there are several different ways to find it; the bad is that drones can be expensive if they’re not insured properly.

Regardless, we hope this article has been helpful in helping you locate your missing drone! Do you have any other questions about how to protect yourself or what could happen? Let us know by sending an email over our contact page – we’ll do whatever we can to help out as soon as possible!

Richard J. Gross

Hi, my name is Richard J. Gross and I’m a full-time Airbus pilot and commercial drone business owner. I got into drones in 2015 when I started doing aerial photography for real estate companies. I had no idea what I was getting into at the time, but it turns out that police were called on me shortly after I started flying. They didn’t like me flying my drone near people, so they asked me to come train their officers on the rules and regulations for drones. After that, I decided to start my own drone business and teach others about the safe and responsible use of drones.

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