Skydio R1 drone gains Apple Watch control, in Apple Stores


Skydio introduces a convenient new way to control its intelligent R1 autonomous drone — from the Apple Watch. The new Apple Watch Skydio app lets your drone in the sky, phone in your pocket, and manage the flight from your watch.

Skydio R1, released this year earlier, sold in Apple Stores across the US and Canada for the first time.

Skydio R1 is an autonomous drone, programmed and designed takes flight and captures subject in action, with no manual control required. The new Skydio app for Apple Watch borrows key features from the companion iPhone app and removes the need keeping your phone in hand after takeoff.

For example, you can launch R1 from the Skydio app on iPhone then use the Apple Watch app swipe through people recognizes for tracking. The watch app cannot show a live preview of what R1 captures and the phone still needs to be nearby, but the watch present snapshots of people within the field of view for following (or it will recommend moving in front of the camera if no one is in sight).

After you take off, use the new app viewing Skydio R1’s remaining battery percentage, change flight modes, and end the flight from the Apple Watch. You can even use the Digital Crown on Apple Watch to easily rotate Skydio R1 during flight.

Skydio R1 Autonomous Drone

Skydio R1 includes a variety of modes for controls how it captures video and moves around you during flight. I tested Skydio R1 control from my Apple Watch during an outdoor bike ride and found the new watch app very useful. For cycling specifically, mounting the iPhone still is useful having a live viewfinder of what Skydio is capturing, but putting the iPhone in your pocket or a bag making the experience more immersive as if you are running or hiking.

Skydio R1 really is good keeping up with you around sharp turning avoids obstacles such as trees and quickly changes flight modes from the watch without using the phone really convenient. The simplest example just is by switching the modes of how Skydio R1 flies around you: in front, behind, or beside you — and how close to you it flies?

The autonomous drone has a variety of other flight options too like a rocket, has a blast off effect captures an aerial shot, orbit hovers around you at multiple angles and tripod stays in a fixed location and tracking your movements.


The video captures looks great at a 4K resolution where the built-in USB-C port makes transfer video to new MacBooks, really convenient. Skydio R1 limits a 16-minute battery life per flight, changes batteries between flights and takes back off are not difficult.

Skydio R1 retails for $1999 with availability in select Apple Stores starting today. The new Skydio app for Apple Watch launches today.

Stay tuned to 9to5Mac’s sister-site DroneDJ for more on Skydio R1 soon.