Controlling Arduino with iPhone

Hi all,

first of all I apologize for having to ask this, I'm sure it's been asked and answered many times but I couldn't find what I was looking for.

I'm making a motorised camera slider. It's functional now. I control it this way:

PC - Serial - Arduino1 - NRF24 - Arduino2

One the PC side I made a small graphical interface in Matlab. Matlab then sends data through the serial port. Arduino1 reads this, then sends data through the radio (NRF24L01+). Radio is then read by Arduino2 on the slider which then moves the thing.

I would like to be able to control it this way: iPhone - Arduino2.

So I need some kind of receiver on Arduino2 side that can pick up signals sent by the iPhone. I had a look around; it seems doable with an Android and a bluetooth shield, however I haven't found what I need for an iPhone. Everything I found was through a PC, the iPhone sends wiFi to the PC and the PC then sends to the Arduino.

So my question is: is there some kind of receiver for the Arduino that could pick up signals sent from an iPhone directly?

Many thanks!

PS I'm preparing a long post describing the whole dolly project.

Bluetooth 4 will work with IOS but the first thing to do is ensure there is an iPhone app to suit, or you may have to write one.

Thanks for the info. The idea was indeed to make my own app. However I had a look around and this seems quite difficult to do. You need to pay a 100$ fee to develop an app that's not in the app store. You need a Mac to develop which I don't have. And I would have to learn the language. Finally I haven't really found someone who managed direct communication Iphone-Arduino with a BLE module; they can get two arduinos to talk via these but I haven't found someone who can make the module talk to an iPhone.

All in all this seems like a ton of work, if I go this route it will easily represent over 50% of the total work on this project.

At the moment I'll stay with the matlab interface while I finish coding all the functionalities I want. Then I'll see for other control options. I'm thinking a remote using these small TFT screens and the same nrf24 module, I have one lying around, never got to try it. Or maybe an Android app... but all these pesky photographers only have macs and iphones :D

Thanks again

While I don't know what your real objective is, and I don't understand where the photographers come into it, you seem to have properly summed up where the problems are! Also, it certainly appears that BLE is a product that has yet to reach the mainstream. I suspect that one reason is that Apple sees no need to move beyond consumer toys.

You need to pay a 100$ fee to develop an app that's not in the app store

And you can get an Android phone for $50.

You can connect an Ethernet shield to the Arduino and then connect a little WiFi pocket router like the TPLink TL WR702n (or 703n) to the Ethernet Shield. the T Router has the ability to function and an AP so you can connect to it directly from the iPhone without needing a router. If the solution needs to be small then you could use a CC3000 (WiFi) breakout board or shield e.g. from Adafruit ( That however will require a router to connect through.

On the iPhone side you could use TouchOSC ( You can create your own interface on the PC (or mac) that defines what OSC messages you want to send and receive and then upload the interface to the TouchOSC app on the iPhone. On the Arduino side you'd use the Oscuino library (

I use a Teensy 3, with WIZ820io for Ethernet connected to a TPLink WR702n for WiFi and Oscuino and Touch OSC on the iPhone. I know that works and is not just wild theory ;-)

I am looking forward to a complete description of your project!

Hi and thanks for the replies.

I'm afraid a WiFI router will kill battery life. I'll have a closer look at this solution.

Anyway I made a crappy video to show where I'm at with this project right now, it's in this topic:

Thanks again!

Yes, WiFi in general is very power hungry. Much more so than Bluetooth for example. Unfortunately Apple is rather restrictive in what they allow the maker community to do with Bluetooth.

Dwacito: I'm afraid a WiFI router will kill battery life.

This might not help you much unless you ditch the iPhone.

The plain-vanilla HC-0x Bluetooth isn't famous for being frugal either, but it is possible that the on-board LED is the real villain. If you get the module and JY-MCU backboard separately and assemble them yourself, you can omit the LED by simply not soldering the connection. This might make a a significant difference

I use the iDK app from

Now I know you said battery and Wifi problems, but ive been down this road with the Iphone.

The Bluetooth options are limited on Iphone.