Seek and Ye Shall Find Things in the Dark with an iPhone Thermal Camera

(Dave Kitabjian) #1

Originally published at:

If you’ve ever wanted to spot insulation leaks in your home or search for warm-blooded animals in total darkness, there’s finally an affordable thermal imaging camera that plugs right into your iPhone.

(Peter Lane) #2

Does it work with an iPad? iPad Pro specifically? And is there a lightning connector extender available in general, to avoid disrobing your device?

(Fearghas McKay) #3

Does it work with an iPad? iPad Pro specifically?

Which one :slight_smile:

And is there a lightning connector extender available in general, to avoid disrobing your device?

(Will M) #4

When I followed the link to the Amazon page, this was the top review shown. (It’s dated 2016, so apparently it’s been around for while.)

With the recent iOS update, you will be unable to use the device unless you register and create an account on the the iSeek website. The terms of use, which you must agree to, is a laundry list of of marketing communications and how they will use your information and images captured with the device. This simply isn’t right, period. This was not a requirement when I purchased the device and was not a requirement until a recent iOS app update. Not cool.

It does sound like overreach by the manufacturer.

(Dave Kitabjian) #5

Hi Peter!

I don’t have an iPad Pro handy, but my 5th generation iPad works fine with the thermal imager and its Seek Thermal app.

Here is a complete compatibility list:

And the Lightning port extender posted by Fearghas looks like something I might have to try out!

(Alan Forkosh) #6

The 2018 iPad Pros don’t have a Lightning port; they have a USB-C port. So unless there is a USB-C Male to Lightning female adapter, I think there is a fundamental problem.

(Dave Kitabjian) #7

Hmm, that sounds odd.

I’m running the latest (as of this moment) iOS (12.1.4) on both my iPhone and iPad and also the latest version of the Seek Thermal app (

When it launches, it encourages registering by offering the “Benefits of Registration”. It then says “By creating an account, you agree to the Terms of Use and Data Policy” which you can click and read if you are a masochist. Or, like me, you can tap “Opt-out”, which then lets you in and never bothers you again.

And to be clear, you (of course) have to grant the app access to the Location (for geotagging), Photos, Microphone, Camera Roll. And even if you opt-out of all these permission, it will still function as a thermal imager. You just can’t save photos & videos.

(Will M) #8

Thanks for that update, Dave; it makes more sense than the review at Amazon.

(Dave Kitabjian) #9

You’re welcome! This is lots of “half information” out there, and hopefully I can help cut through some of that thatch :wink:

(Hank Roberts) #10

Can you alternate a thermal and a visible-light image, tomake it easier to know for sure just what the thermal image is framing?

(Dave Kitabjian) #11

Hank, this is a great question.

They have a feature that lets you split the view so that normal camera is on the left and thermal on the right. The annoying problem is that the left side is showing the left half of the object and the right side is showing the right half of the object. The software doesn’t offer the feature you intuitively expect: to be able to see the same object through two different cameras.

If we’re lucky, they’ll read this post and a software update will be able to give us the feature we both want!


I think that not mapping colors to absolute temperatures is a poor design choice, and there are a couple disadvantages I can see right away. Without this, you will not be able to compare different photos accurately. eg, if you have a thermal image of your dog, and one of your cat, you will not be able to say that the dog’s body temp is hotter/cooler than that of the cat. You can only do so if they’re both in the same photo. Also, suppose your fireplace is actually very well insulated, and the temperature difference is only 1 degree between hottest and coldest, the camera will still try to exaggerate that difference by showing the full spectrum of white to black, which could be misleading unless you also read the temperature legend. Call me a pessimist, but I could see someone trying to scam homeowners into having unnecessary work done when they are shown these ‘fancy high tech’ images without knowing how to interpret them.

(Claude Demierre) #13

One of the best IR cam IMO is the FLIR ONE: