A Blue Iris Phone App to access the PC Blue Iris IP Camera Manager

I recently installed the Blue Iris App for Smart Phones. This App works together with a copy of Blue Iris installed on a PC. The Blue Iris phone App allows you to view and control cameras as well as to review recordings that are on the required Mother Ship PC. Its available for Android and iPhone. The App also aids access to feeds from older Foscams where browser access is blocked because plugins are unsigned, an issue for my F19804W LakeCam.

Blue Iris phone App adjunct to Blue Iris running on PC for IP camera management

Cameras & clips in the Blue Iris phone screen are arranged in strips. Swipe across to select clips or live camera feed, up & down to scroll through cameras. Cycle camera thumbnails in the top strip. Click for bigger image.

A quick review of the Blue Iris Phone App

Blue iris phone app feed snapshot

Image from the camera of one live feed, horizontal orientation. Snapped using the camera button in the Blue Iris App. Click for bigger image.

The Blue Iris App arranges live feeds and recorded clips in separate strips for each camera, a totally different look compared to the PC program. The App screen can adjust between horizontal and vertical formats. You can touch individual items to bring them up in the phone based camera App and can zoom the image with standard gestures. There is a representation of the home PC Blue Iris interface (camera layout), but the individual cameras in the image are not clickable- it is just a picture.

Screen shot of Blue Iris App running on Android phone

Moto-X phone screenshot of its own screen running the Blue Iris phone App, Vertical orientation viewing a single camera feed. Click for bigger image.

 

The Up-down sideways PTZ controls worked from the phone App for my one camera with pan & tilt capability. The camera button let me snap shots from individual camera feeds. There is a video record option, but this was not doing anything while I played with the phone at home on my local network. You can have live alerts (phone vibrates?) if the cameras trigger but I didn’t try these.

There are help pages in the Blue Iris phone App: Some have meaningful content. It has a good summary of what is happening/required in setting up the handshake between PC and App. There are other parts where the development team tech-writers generated gibberish – I had less idea about Geofencing after reading the section than when I started.

I can envisage someone in security using their phone to monitor a camera array while moving around a facility: It looks to be a good value for that. The Blue Iris phone App has more features than I need, maybe I could have used a cheaper option – but for ten bucks you have no-muss no-fuss mobile access to camera feeds, if you already have the required PC Blue Iris running.

Configuring Blue Iris for phone access with the Blue Iris App

It should take less than 10 minutes to configure the Blue Iris Mother-Ship on the PC and 5 minutes to load the detail into the $10 Blue Iris ‘phone App available for Android and iPhone. There is a wizard under the world button at the top left of the PC Blue Iris desktop screen which streamlines the process, but the ways of Wizards can be cryptic. Open port 81 in the main PC router before you start. If you can’t do that then you should not buy the App. It took me 45 minutes, not 10, to get things working with most of my time spent remembering how to get into the router and find the port-settings page. You might want to check the internal (LAN) IP address of the PC operating Blue Iris. In Windows 10: Type command prompt in the Cortana search box at the bottom of the PC Win 10 desktop – then type ipconfig at the provided command prompt. It also helps to check your external IP address before you start. You don’t need to do either but it is going to make the Wizardly demands and statements more understandable.

Configure PC Blue Iris with p-word for phone App access

Setup up credentials for remote logon in Users under the tools Cog after basic configuration settings in the Wizard under the World button.Click for bigger image.

There are various check boxes that you need to click before you can move forward in pages of the tool. That is never made clear and they are tiny boxes. When you are done there is an enigmatic request for log-in details. This is a log-on set in a PC Blue Iris tab (see the graphic). I thought those were for the PC log-on and everything worked fine while at home on the LAN, but I was locked out when I tried a remote login.

Fine tune settings for the Blue Iris remote access Phone App

I tweaked a couple of things in the Blue Iris PC to phone handshake, once I had the basic set up running.

I think the Blue Iris program authors blew past the dynamically assigned IP address issue that most home users will have doing remote access. The outside IP address (the WAN address) will likely change for anyone on cable or DSL if your router reboots or restarts. To deal with this I switched the WAN setting in the Blue Iris phone App over to my home DDNS host at No-IP. That was after I got things working and tested the standard setting away from my home. I originally set up my account at No-IP for DNS forwarding to get consistent home access to my Adirondack Cabin’s IP cameras. There was no cost to add another host in the same account. I pay around $20/year for my No-IP account but there is a free version and you can expect to be offered a discount or freebie sweetner in the setup process or regularly by email.

The standard set up gives access through Port 81. I thought opening & using Port 81 was a bit obvious and poor security, but could not change that in the Wizard. I eventually found that the dedicated tool (the Wizard under the World Icon) is modifying settings in the Web-Server tab of the tools page (under the Tools Cog Icon). I tweaked the Port on that page (and updated the details in the ‘Phone App settings).