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It can be really frustrating to find out if your phone actually has an IR blaster because if so, you would be able to use it for the countless function it offers!
This question may come to mind: “How to check if my phone has an IR blaster?”. No worries, because I did research on the internet and found a reliable answer to this.
Here’s how to check if your phone has an IR blaster:
There are 3 ways to check if your phone has an IR blaster: Check its exterior top edges for any black plastic circles, check its specifications online, and download an IR checker app to make sure it has actual function capability. No iPhones have any IR blasters pre-installed.
Now that’s all the basics you need to know if your phone has an IR blaster. Now you’ll need to dive more into the details to understand how to do this properly.
Read on for more!
What Are IR Blasters?
Before we jump right into learning if your phone has an IR blaster, we need to look at what exactly are IR blasters first!
IR blasters are devices that work to emulate an infrared remote control. IR blasters can emit infrared radiation that wirelessly controls electrical appliances via their IR receivers. The IR signal that IR blasters send out can be specific functions that the electrical appliance can execute.
Here’s an example of what an IR blaster looks like:
Most IR blasters contain a Light Emitting Diode (LED) that acts as the transmitter to emit infrared light to another infrared light receiver. Receivers are mostly built-in to electronic devices that support IR.
Learn the differences between IR blasters and IR sensors here.
How Do I Know If I Have An IR Blaster On My Phone?
Now that you know what an IR blaster is, now you’re probably wondering does your phone has an IR blaster!
This is really important because it can provide a lot of convenience of controlling your IR electrical appliances with just your smartphone directly.
Here, I’ll cover 3 ways in which you can check if your smartphone has an IR blaster:
1) Inspect Your Phone’s Exterior
Firstly, you’ll need to check out the exterior of your phone. This can give you an initial hint if your phone has an IR blaster!
Because IR blasters require line of sight for most of their operations with IR devices, they are typically seen on the exterior of certain phone models.
IR blasters are usually found near the top edge of a smartphone. The IR blaster typically looks like a black plastic circle or rectangular indentation. This may be an IR blaster.
Also, just note that if you are using an iPhone, there won’t be any IR blasters present. Apple has chosen not to add any IR blaster capability to any of their phones. Not to worry though, as later on in the article, I’ll provide some workarounds if you’re using an iPhone!
If you’re using an android phone, you’re in luck as there may be a chance that your phone has IR blaster capabilities!
2) Check Your Phone’s Specifications
Next, search for the specifications of your phone online. Then check the portion where they mention what the functionalities of the phone are.
You can do this by going to GSM Arena’s website and searching your phone’s model in the top search bar.
Here’s a screenshot where the search bar shows the drop-down of the supported models in their database:
Once you hit enter on the phone model of choice, you’ll be brought to a page like this. In this case, I selected the Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G.
Then scroll down to the “COMMS” portion in red and look for “Infrared port”. If it is specified with a “Yes” beside it, then that means that there is an infrared port or rather an IR blaster in your phone!
Now I’ll show you another example: my personal phone, the Samsung S21+. When I bring up the page for my phone, the specifications have no mention of any IR capabilities.
Under the “COMMS” portion in red, as there’s no mention of Infrared ports, my phone does not have IR capability.
3) Download An IR Checker App (Android)
If you really need to check if your phone has an IR blaster in a definite way, you can use this method instead of looking it up online.
However, this method will not work on iPhones because iPhones do NOT have IR capability at all, so there’s no need to check for that.
It’s a no-frills app that does only one thing: to tell you whether your phone has an IR blaster or not.
As mentioned in the previous step, as my Samsung S21+ doesn’t have an IR blaster (according to its specs), when I tried this app, I was shown the below result:
However, if your phone has an IR blaster, you should receive this message:
If you want to know if your laptop has an IR blaster, read this article to find out:
How To Install IR Blasters On Phones?
Once you know whether your phone has an IR blaster, some of you may discover you may not have any IR blasters. (Like me!) iPhone users: listen up, this will work for you too!
No worries, I will now summarise 2 interesting methods you can use to add IR blaster capability to your phone!
1) Add A Small IR Blaster Adapter
If you want a quick solution that requires a fuss-free attachment to your phone, you can consider this option.
Almost any smartphone can be made to have IR capabilities with a small IR Blaster Adapter. Here’s a great and recommended option you should consider if you are attempting to do this!
You can find the link to this Small IR Blaster Adapter! With this adapter, you’ll be able to set up your smartphone with the app easily and get started.
2) Use A Smart Remote Hub IR Blaster With Google Home
If you don’t like carrying a small adapter around with you just to control your IR devices, you can simply opt to purchase a larger universal IR blaster and use it to link to Google Home.
Here’s how I did it:
Firstly, you’ll need to purchase a Smart Remote Hub IR/RF Blaster:
The reason why I recommend this product is because of how future-proof it is! This is because of its amazing ability to control both RF and IR devices AND has Wi-Fi functionality.
This means that as you expand the smart control of your devices in your house, you’ll just need this one device for that!
Then you’ll need to install the Broadlink app and get the device set up in an area that is within line of sight of your devices and plugged in.
Once that’s done, you need to link your Broadlink app and add your device to the Broadlink app. At this point, you can use the Broadlink app to control your IR devices already, but if you want to set it up with Google Assistant, then read on!
Then you’ll need to link your Broadlink app with Google Home via Home control.
Once that’s done, you can set routines in the Google Home main page to run certain IFTTT (IF This Then That) commands based on certain voice phrases.
How you do this is by clicking routine on the Google Home main page where you can add starters and actions for the routine. Actions will show up in Google Home here if you have done the setup for them in the Broadlink app.
If you don’t have a Google Nest Mini or Google Home device, you can simply use the Google Home app to run routines when you want to perform a specific action.
You can also check out a useful video here on how this can be done, for your education purposes:
If you’re also living in Singapore like myself, you can also consider the OUTSMART WIFI Smart IR+RF Universal Remote Controller as your IR blaster, which can control both RF and IR devices!
This saves me a lot of trouble using two separate controllers.
Can I Use My Phone As A Remote Without an IR Blaster?
Phones can be used as a remote without an IR blaster. However, the phone must be able to link up to a separate smart universal remote controller that can be controlled through the Google Home app via Wi-Fi.
Personally, I do this through the OUTSMART WIFI Smart IR+RF Universal Remote Controller, where I control using the Google Home app through routines that I preset in the Smart Life app.
For RF devices, I have to set routines to run specific functions like so:
For IR devices, depending on compatibility with the Smart Life app, I can choose to simply turn on the aircon using Google Home.
I can say the following voice commands for my Mitsubishi Electric air-conditioner:
- “Turn on Aircon”
- “Turn off Aircon”
For specific functions, I can simply say: “Set temperature to XX degrees“. However, for even more specific functions like fan speed of the air-conditioner that needed to be done through the Smart Life app directly instead.
Now that you know whether your phone has an IR blaster, how to enable IR blaster functionality on your phone, and also several workarounds, go forth and make your home smart!
I hope that you enjoy reading this article as I did research about it and shared it.
Thanks for reading, and stay smart!
Justin is the founder and author of Justjooz. He is a Nanyang Technological University (NTU) alumni and a former data analyst.
Now, Justin runs the Justjooz blog full-time, hoping to share his deep knowledge of business, tech, web3, and analytics with others.
To unwind, Justin enjoys gaming and reading.