Are you wondering if iPhones have an IR blaster built into them, or otherwise have support for infrared?
IR blasters are useful for many things, including controlling televisions for example. In fact, this is why they were standard on many Android phones for so many years.
So, does the iPhone have one, and if not, what can be done instead?
In this article, I’ll cover everything that you need to know!
Do iPhones Have IR Blasters?
Unfortunately, there aren’t currently any iPhone models that have IR blasters built into them. This even holds true for the more modern iPhone lines, such as the iPhone X, iPhone 12, iPhone 13, iPhone 14, and iPhone 14 Pro.
That being said, if this functionality is important to you, it is possible to purchase a separate IR blaster that plugs into your iPhone’s lightning port.
A popular example can be found here, and most IR blasters go for less than $20 on Amazon. So, they aren’t too expensive if you want to add one to your iPhone.
That being said, IR blasters really aren’t necessary anymore, for most use cases.
In fact, better alternatives have come out that essentially allow you to achieve the same thing!
Apps Are Available For Most Smart TVs, However
These days, apps are available for almost every smart TV, and most of them are available for free.
Instead of using infrared to connect to the TV, it instead operates over Wi-Fi. The downside of this is that both your iPhone and your television must be connected to the same Wi-Fi network in order for it to work. However, the positive is that it’s much more secure.
I still remember when I was a kid, I got my first Android phone with an IR blaster built into it. I had fun pranking friends and even changing the channel at local restaurants using the feature. However, as the owner of the television, they probably weren’t very pleased with my behavior!
Apps have a definite security advantage, while also being supported on just about every smartphone.
To find one that works for your smart TV, simply type ‘universal remote’ into the iPhone App Store. Or, if you want one that more closely resembles your television’s specific remote, consider searching for the specific brand.
For example, I have a Sony smart TV, so I searched ‘Sony Remote’ in the App Store and found several free options.
The downside of most free apps however is that they do have ads in them, which tend to pop up after a certain number of button presses.
However, if you do purchase the full version, you’ll never have to deal with a lost remote again!
If you were hoping to use an IR blaster to control other devices that aren’t connected to the internet – such as DVD players or air conditioners, purchasing an external IR blaster may be a better idea.
Can I Use My iPhone As An Infrared Camera?
Unfortunately, the answer is no.
Although your iPhone’s camera does support infrared (and uses it for features like Face ID), it is impossible for users to take infrared pictures using the native camera alone.
While there are several apps on the App Store claiming they can do this, unfortunately they are fake.
That being said, there are external infrared and thermal cameras you can buy that attach to your iPhone via the lightning port.
These typically run for hundreds of dollars, so they are only worth purchasing if you have a legitimate use case for them.
Will iPhones Include An IR Blaster In The Future?
Now begs an important question – will Apple ever choose to include an IR blaster with future iPhone models?
Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem likely.
Surely this choice was pondered at some point, and for whatever reason, Apple decided against it. And since one of the most popular use cases for an IR blaster – controlling TVs, is now obsolete, there is less reason than ever to include an IR blaster on the iPhone.
While it would certainly be a welcome addition without any downsides, it simply doesn’t seem likely to happen at this time.
Other popular smartphones – like the Google Pixel lineup do not have an IR blaster either, so this decision seems to be near-universal among manufacturers.
Even the latest Samsung Galaxy phones – which used to come with IR blasters in the past, no longer have one.
So, I wouldn’t expect one for your iPhone anytime soon!
Unfortunately, there aren’t currently any iPhone models that have an IR blaster built into them.
While you can purchase an external IR blaster that plugs into your lightning port, this is a tad inconvenient, as you’ll need to plug it in each time you want to use it.
I hope that you’ve found this article helpful, and that it’s answered all of your questions.
I’d love to hear what you’d use an IR blaster for in the comments section below. Who knows – maybe someone at Apple will read it?
In any case, here’s wishing you the best!
– James McAllister