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I need an iPad/iPhone to program my mini remote, what's the least that will work?

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  • I need an iPad/iPhone to program my mini remote, what's the least that will work?

    I'm a Windows and Android person. It seems that if I want to tie Mini Remotes into my Hub, I'll need an iPad or an iPhone to do so, Looking for the simplest/cheapest was to do this.
    I presume I only need the wifi for this. Questions:
    > There's someone local with an (ATT&T) iPhone3 for $20 that's functional. Can I load the Insteon App on this phone without phone service using wifi (I assume the phone has it) and will that work?
    > What's the level of whatever older iPads that would work.
    This would be a good topic for a sticky. For that matter if old IPhones are cheap enough, it might be a good way to do remotes!

  • #2
    The ios insteon app require ios9, elsewhere I see: the following devices are compatible with iOS 9: iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad 4, iPad Air, iPad Air 2. iPad mini, iPad mini 2, iPad mini 3. iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus.

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    • #3
      Could you be more specific as to what you're trying to do? From my experience and the mini remote's instruction sheets the Hub isn't used with these remotes. You have to manually link each responder to the remotes button of choice. If there is a way to do this from a Hub I'd love to know since I have several inline switches that are a major pain to get to.

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      • #4
        I haven't been able to get everything together to see if I can get this to work, but what I have been told (by Insteon support) is this:
        1) The Insteon app for iPhone will allow you to program the hub to work with the mini controllers, while the Android version will not. I have an Android phone. It is a feature that appeared for iPhones 9/17 IIRC; there has been complaint elsewhere in these forums by Android people that we should have it too.
        2) I gave Insteon support access to my hub and they (after much work) associated my 8 button mini controller with the hub, which then appeared on my Insteon app on my Android cellphone. The support person then associated a button on it MC with a light....all this took forever, the support person was getting understandably antsy about all the time this had taken, so I thanked him for all his work and hung up. The associated light, alas, did not switch on/off.
        3) I found a cheap iPhone 4S on eBay with IOS9.3.5 for $35, when I comes I will see if I can get all this to work

        Support waffles on this subject: one person says one thing (MC with hubs don't work), another says it's complicated....I kept calling as my understanding of the situation developed and I could ask better questions. If a ratty old iphone does work and one can pick them up on the cheap, they may make sense as a dedicated controller, no more expensive that an MC! So far my grasp of the situation is that said iPhone must hold a charge and do wireless. Hopefully it doesn't require carrier activation, but can get by without it and do iPhone IOS upgrade and Insteon download install by its wireless.
        Last edited by sdean7855; 01-29-2019, 08:52 PM.

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        • #5
          The Hub and the Remote are both controllers so you are not really controlling the mini remote from the Hub.

          iOS simply allows you to pair your mini remote with your Insteon devices (create scenes) without the need to walk around hit all the set buttons. (You still have to put the remote into linking mode manually) There used to be an app iteration where you could see the buttons in the app but that was removed some time ago. This is probably where the confusion lies.

          After using the iOS device to create the mini remote scene you would be using the mini remote or the Hub app separately again. If you are planning on using an old phone on WiFi that will work but that is using the Hub App (Hub) to control your devices. You wouldn't go into your app to turn on a button on your remote to turn on a light. It would be cleaner to go straight to the light on the app since the mini remotes do not display any sort of status like keypad buttons do.

          Personally I find it faster to set up the mini remote manually and save the links in the Hub.

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          • #6
            Thanks Sean!.
            "iOS simply allows you to pair your mini remote with your Insteon devices (create scenes) without the need to walk around hit all the set buttons" Hurray!!
            "(You still have to put the remote into linking mode manually)". Yes, but you can only do that with the IOS version of the app. Thereafter you can use the remote without it.
            The proof is in the eating of the pudding....which I look forward to doing when I get my cheap iPhone 4S with IOS 9.3.5

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            • #7
              " Yes, but you can only do that with the IOS version of the app. Thereafter you can use the remote without it." -

              That is not true. It would be fair to say that the iOS app is the only version that lets you configure the mini remote through the phone. That is the only connection it will have with the app.

              You can pair any Insteon device manually with out the need of an app. Its how we used to do things before the Hub existed. I use three mini remotes at my house and do not use a Hub.

              This is what sets Insteon apart from everyone else. If you lose Wi-Fi/internet all the switches, scenes and links still work. ...your phone app would not work if you lost internet.

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              • #8
                SeanM, thanks for putting your oar in and clarifying things.
                You say: ...your phone app would not work if you lost internet.
                Does this mean that the Hub and/or the WiFI connected smartphone app won't work if the internet is gone? That it (and/or the Hub) don't work unless they can talk to the mothership at Isteon. That they are effectively cloud-based apps/hdwe, not standalone. Please clarify.
                And again, thanks for contributing here.
                Maybe Insteon has some real nuts & bolts docs somewhere, but all I've found it glitzy, push this button and magic happens writing

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by sdean7855 View Post
                  SeanM, thanks for putting your oar in and clarifying things.
                  You say: ...your phone app would not work if you lost internet.
                  Does this mean that the Hub and/or the WiFI connected smartphone app won't work if the internet is gone? That it (and/or the Hub) don't work unless they can talk to the mothership at Isteon. That they are effectively cloud-based apps/hdwe, not standalone. Please clarify.
                  And again, thanks for contributing here.
                  Maybe Insteon has some real nuts & bolts docs somewhere, but all I've found it glitzy, push this button and magic happens writing
                  It’s complicated and people are impatient, so the technical details aren’t what the marketing people push.

                  You can always control Insteon modules using the switches and remotes inside your home (no internet or WiFi required), since Insteon devices save controller/responder relationships locally and use their own dual-band communications network.

                  If your phone/tablet is already logged in and connected to your home WiFi and your WiFi doesn’t reboot but your internet goes down, you can still control gear through the Hub with the phone/tablet. So long as the Hub has power, it will also continue to send scheduled scene signals whether or not it can get through to the cloud service.

                  If the internet connection drops, you lose the ability to control devices via other cloud-connected devices and services (no Alexa, since she uses Amazon’s cloud service to convert your speech into actions), and you lose the ability for your phone or tablet to use Insteon’s DNS forwarding service to connect to your Hub. You can get around that second part by using a more sophisticated, Insteon-compatible controller like the ISY, just expect to pay more for the added features.

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                  • #10
                    Thanks to SeanM and Tfitz for the patience and expertise with which they responded to this question/situation. "It's complicated"...but you aregiving us answers.

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