Mobile Devices - Setup

The mobile apps (iOS / Android) and the web interface (UI3) provides remote access to cameras for users.
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varghesesa
Posts: 90
Joined: Thu Jul 11, 2019 9:52 pm

Mobile Devices - Setup

Post by varghesesa »

Introduction

This article walks you through connecting your iOS/Android devices (phones, tablets) to your Blue Iris server. It walks through all the dependencies and potential pitfalls when trying to setup your device.

If you prefer to watch the webinar associated with this article, checkout the Mobile Devices and Apps webinar.

If you are on an Android device, the Android gotchas article also has information the may help you self-correct the issue.

The Mobile Gotchas article is a list of past learnings from tickets. Good to review before creating a ticket.



Networking

There is no way for the mobile app to communicate with the Blue Iris server unless you setup your network to do so.
The Networking - Remote Access article will walk you through setting up the network correctly.


:!: Checkpoint: The BI server is setup correctly. The network is setup correctly.



Mobile app
:idea: The below sections are about setting up the mobile app to connect to the BI server. This section has three main sections.

Server settings: Settings needed for the mobile app to be able to connect to any server.
Network connectivity: Based on server settings, can the app connect to the server. If not, how to troubleshoot.
App settings: All the settings on the mobile app that allows you to customize your user experience.


Server settings

Server settings - Wizard
This section explains setting up the mobile app using the wizard. Always best to use the Wizard the first time because the wizard sets up the app but also sets up the right permissions for the app on your phone.

This section is about the Add a new server button / dialog so the mobile app can connect to the BI server.

Easiest way to setup your phone settings to connect and work well with the BI App is to use the Wizard within the Add New Server function.
FYI, the BI Mobile App can connect to multiple servers.

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The iOS Server Setup Wizard (helps configure iOS device settings)

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The Android Server Setup Wizard (helps configure Android device settings)

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The final step is to Scan the QR Code. Where is the QR Code?
The QR Code is located in one of the last pages in the Remote Access Wizard. (see below)
QR Code.png
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Server settings - Manual

FYI, you can choose to bypass the Server Wizard and go directly to the server setup page. Keep in mind the setup page only configures the settings needed to connect the mobile app to the BI server. Users should always go through the Wizard at least once so the mobile app has the correct phone privileges to work correctly. For example, you may need to allow the application to use your phone's location services if and when you activate geo-fencing. Privileges on the phone can only be set in phone Settings (manually) or through the Server Wizard.

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Lookup key (iOS) / Get IPS (Android)
The Lookup key / Get IPS key is great for having BI populate your LAN / WAN address for you.
It helps prevent fat fingering the wrong values.
It also helps when you have an ISP provider that changes your WAN address a lot.

The Lookup key can be your best friend. However, for it to work, you have to enable the functionality on the BI server. On by default.
Register IP address to assist with client app connections. Global settings -> About tab.

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Http vs Https

If you decided to add encryption, make sure to select https where appropriate. Revisit Web server settings section if stuck.

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:!: At this point, the mobile app should be setup. Time to connect to the server!


Network connectivity

:idea: This section helps you connect the mobile app to the BI server.
Update to the latest version or the latest stable version of the BI server software.
Features/functionality on the mobile app are not guaranteed to run with older versions of the server.

LAN test
Try connecting the mobile app to the server from the LAN. Hit save in Server settings page (if not done so already) -> Connect.

If successful, great! You have confirmed your mobile device has access to your BI server (license key, username, password, LAN address are all entered correctly) and you have confirmed at least some of the network requirements have been met like the BI web server is running and accessible from the LAN. You can scroll down to the WAN test.

If the mobile app spins after hitting the connect button, the app cannot talk to the BI server.

Mobile device permissions
Global settings -> Mobile devices tab
If the mobile app connects successfully to your server, your device will be listed in the Global settings -> Mobile Devices tab.

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If your device is NOT listed, then the mobile app cannot register (i.e. talk) with the BI server.

Permissions
You first need to confirm correct user permissions for the user logging into the mobile app.
You also need to confirm the mobile device has access to the server.
See permissions article.

Network
If you have other mobile devices that do connect to the server, then obviously the network must be fine and you can skip this section.
Device test
Use the UI3 interface to confirm whether the network and BI server are working correctly.

WAN test
Now you can test whether the network is setup correctly for remote access.
  • Logout of mobile app. Disconnect mobile phone from LAN/Wifi, i.e. use your cellular network.
  • Try re-connecting app to server. If successful, confirmed remote access.
  • If a problem, confirm WAN address is correct (not LAN) in the Server settings.
:idea: If the UI3 device tests above passed, the primary reason the mobile app cannot connect but the mobile browser can connect is security settings.

Android devices
Self signed certs are no longer allowed within Android, so users will need to get a properly signed certificate in order to leverage HTTPS connections. See TLS section of Android gotchas article for details.

Server settings
If you enabled encryption via STunnel or NGROK, you need to choose the correct LAN/WAN protocol, i.e. http or https.

Network
Revisit Networking article and your network setup.
Review Networking Gotchas article and try to self-correct.

Web server advanced
Review the Web Server Advanced dialog. Make sure the mobile device is not blocked via the IP address.

Encoding settings
If the web browser works fine on the WAN but the mobile app does not, the biggest difference between the browser and the app is the media player used to play the video. The mobile apps section explains generally good streaming settings for the LAN/WAN.

:!: At this point the Mobile app and your BI server can talk to each other.

Final tests

User permissions
If you can connect to the server, good time to confirm you have access to the appropriate camera groups. Revisit Camera groups section in the Permissions article -> Users tab section if the mobile app does not have access to the correct cameras.

Camera streams
This is a good time to confirm all your cameras are streaming well (no choppy video) on LAN / WAN. If not, adjust your streams.

App Settings
Now you can play with all the mobile app settings to get the experience that you want. Run through the app functionality and make sure everything is working.

The App Settings section is about all the app settings.
Home tab -> Gear icon.
These settings need to be set correctly so the app meets your needs.

Most of the setting descriptions are intuitive or can be understood by simply turning them on/off. Below I highlight the ones that raise tickets and cause confusion.

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Camera settings

In addition to App settings, you also have access to camera settings.

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Mapping:
  • Schedule : Camera settings -> Schedule -> Override global schedule for this camera
  • PTZ preset cycle : Auto-cycle patrol
  • PTZ event schedule : Camera settings -> Schedule -> Event schedule
  • DIO output 1 : Turn first output to on/off

Blue badges

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Next steps

See Mobile Gotchas article before submitting a ticket.

Mobile app - Debug logs
Support sometimes needs to know what versions of the software are running (server & app), the make/model of the phone and the debug logs.
Follow steps below when providing the logs.
  1. Go through steps to reproduce the issue.
  2. After the issue occurs, send the debug log to YOURSELF. ? -> Debug log. The debug log will provide error details, if any.
    After receiving the email, copy/paste the body of the email into a txt file.
    Create/Reply to the support ticket by attaching the txt file. The logs can be quite large. A file attachment is preferred because of the length of debug log.
  3. For iOS users only: Send a support info email from the mobile app as well. ?-> Send feedback to Support. Send the email to YOURSELF, not SUPPORT. This will clarify the software version you are currently running. The Android app already provides the support info with the debug log. iOS will do so shortly. In the interim, send the feedback email to YOURSELF, not support. Once you receive the email, copy / paste body as a reply to the support email so all the information remains together. This information is much smaller then the debug logs so pasting to body of support email is fine.
Optional video: If hard to describe, a video exhibiting the problem is ideal.

Optional temp login: A temporary login to reproduce the issue from our end is always helpful. For privacy reasons, many users set the account to only have access to one or two public facing cameras such as the front door / driveway.
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