Track iPhones in room-assistant using Bluetooth Low Energy

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Once upon a time, tracking iPhones and iPads using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) in room-assistant was a Herculean task, thanks to Apple's MAC randomization privacy feature. But now, with a wave of a metaphorical wand, a companion app in beta opens up the enchanting world of BLE for Apple aficionados.

The allure of room-assistant

For the uninitiated, room-assistant is the reliable guardian angel of presence tracking, guiding you from one room to another. With its ability to nestle comfortably on single-board computers, particularly the Raspberry Pi Zero W, setting it up is as easy as following the breadcrumbs through the detailed guides available.

However, as is often the case in life, there's a catch. Relying on Bluetooth Classic comes with its fair share of caveats. Sharing the 2.4 GHz band with Wi-Fi and Zigbee is akin to navigating a busy dance floor, causing interference and a sluggish six-second refresh rate. In the grand scheme of things, it's like waiting for a slow dance to start every time you enter a room.

The Android advantage

While iPhone users were left in the dark, Android enthusiasts could waltz through with ease. Thanks to virtual beacons allowed by the Android operating system, apps like Beacon Simulator have been readily available, making the setup a walk in the park.

A beacon of hope for iPhone users

But fret not, Apple devotees, for the room-assistant developers have crafted a companion app to escort you to the BLE ball. Still in beta, the brave may test it out using TestFlight, Apple's app testing platform.

Beyond Bluetooth: a thermal touch

If BLE tracking isn't enough to satisfy your hunger, room-assistant also extends an invitation to two thermopile sensors – Omron D6T and Grid-EYE. These thermal maestros detect infrared energy from a distance, sensing human presence even when you're as still as a statue.

In the end, it appears that the room-assistant's realm has opened its doors to a wider audience, embracing iPhone users in its BLE tracking embrace. So, dear readers, let the dance begin.

About Liam Alexander Colman

is an experienced Home Assistant user who has been utilizing the platform for a variety of projects over an extended period. His journey began with a Raspberry Pi, which quickly grew to three Raspberry Pis and eventually a full-fledged server. Liam's current operating system of choice is Unraid, with Home Assistant comfortably running in a Docker container.
With a deep understanding of the intricacies of Home Assistant, Liam has an impressive setup, consisting of various Zigbee devices, and seamless integrations with existing products such as his Android TV box. For those interested in learning more about Liam's experience with Home Assistant, he shares his insights on how he first started using the platform and his subsequent journey.

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