Camera App Stability issues

connectivity

#1

Which device has the problem? Viewer or Camera: Camera.
Device Model Name: both iPhone 6 and iPhone 6+
OS Version: 12.1.2 (Build 16C101) for both cameras
AppVersion: iOS 948 (iPhone 6) and iOS 1024 (iPhone 6+)

Hi everyone!

To keep an eye on a property, I installed 2 iPhones (in waterproof boxes) with Alfred, using supervised single app mode and SimpleMDM.

The cameras go offline VERY frequently. Nearly every time I log in to view them, at least one and most of the time both are offline in Alfred.

  • The phones are connected via WiFi
  • “Find my iPhone” always shows them online when I check
  • SimpleMDM shows the phones online as well
  • The viewer app on my iPhone X shows the cameras offline
  • The web viewer shows the cameras offline

Removing the phones from the ‘single app mode’ group and re-adding them (thus forcing the Alfred app to start again) brings the cameras back online within a minute.

I’m a paying customer but this issue is making me think about looking for an alternative app as even if it was free, I need it to be reliable and stable. Physical access to the cameras takes me over an hour of driving.

Thanks in advance for any help or insights!

Jay


Build your FREE home security system by downloading Alfred:


#2

Buy Android, Get away from IOS… RUNNNN… May need to make sure “Guided Access” is enabled


#3

Thanks for responding but I’m afraid it isn’t very useful.

What is this based on? As I mentioned: the devices themselves are online, it is the Alfred app going offline. I have no other problems with any iOS devices (and I have a few). If the advice is to buy new equipment, I may as well buy a real CCTV system!

As mentioned, I am using single app mode through an MDM.

Thanks for taking the time to respond though.


#4

Hi,

Thanks for reporting the issue!

Please make sure you have set up the Guided Access as below:

And set the Auto-Lock to Never on your iOS Camera.

The issue should be fixed afterward. Let us know if you need further assistance.


#5

Hi Ricardo,

Thank you for your response but as I stated originally: I am using “Single App Mode” via an MDM, not “Guided Access”. Auto-lock was set to “never” originally when configuring the phones but I have now also forced this setting via MDM.

Additionally, if this would be related to “auto lock”, the cameras would go offline after the time-out set there or 20 minutes, not randomly after sometimes 1 hour, sometimes a day…

Thanks,
Jay


#6

I am using single app mode via an MDM??? @jchristiaens


#7

https://simplemdm.com/2016/04/14/how-to-use-ios-single-app-mode/


#8

And which MDM do you have coupled with Alfred? Airdroid perhaps? @jchristiaens


#9

All to be found in my original question:

https://a.simplemdm.com/

Airdroid is not an MDM and seems to be for Android.


#10

MAC and IOS, are systems not built for Windows or Android use. Nothing wrong with Apple products. Windows and Android work hand and hand alot better than with Apple products. Last stats I checked, ONLY %4 of the entire world uses IOS, hence why just about everything in the computer world is Windows and Android based. Don’t be surprised if Android eventually becomes the main Operating system eventually


#11

That, plus Android offers much more accessibility to backend / system settings since it’s open source (though that seems to be up to interpretation these days, especially with companies like Samsung).


#12

Dude, what does any of this have to do with my problem? Both my cameras and viewers are iOS so why does Windows or Android need to ‘work with’ it?

Alfred sells an iOS app for both of camera and viewer but it isn’t working reliably. If the reason is that this isn’t possible because of iOS, then why do they take my money and claim it works?

Some help with my problem is all I am after. Not someone’s opinion on operating systems and predictions about what will become ‘the main’ operating system.


#13

Again, what does this have to do with my problem?

If Alfred claim that this app works on iOS, why would I need to care about which OS you guys prefer?

If the required functionality needs ‘accessibility to backend / system settings’ (aka hacks, since the functionality should be used through APIs), then why try to even build an iOS version, let alone sell it?

Looks like I’m wasting my time here and will look for another app.


#14

Hi Joachim,

Sorry for what you have been experiencing. I believe Marcel and Harrison are trying to help. Please follow the troubleshooting steps below to see if the issue could be eliminated.

First of all, please visit Alfred’s App Store update Alfred to the latest version on all of your iOS devices:

Also, due to system limitations on the iOS platform, it’s not possible to wake up the Camera once it’s fallen asleep. That was why we suggested you enable Guided Access. MDM is not what we test every day, therefore we can not guarantee that it works the same as Guided Access.

Please keep us posted if you find out anything after the update. We will try out best to help you solve the problem!


#15

You asked in one of your replies – What is this based on? As I mentioned: the devices themselves are online, it is the Alfred app going offline. I have no other problems with any iOS devices (and I have a few). If the advice is to buy new equipment, I may as well buy a real CCTV system!

My humor wasn’t received about abandoning IOS and go to Android. I been using Alfred since 2015 and no real problems (Android, and Android Emulators) I can’t help you in the IOS world except for the little knowledge I have picked up from the forum.

So in short, I was making the point that you shouldn’t be holding the IOS system on such a high pedestal and expecting setups not covered by Alfred support to work properly and then get upset. IOS has a plithera of problems with google play store apps EVEN if they are MADE for IOS. This has been the case as long as I can remember. So expect your glitches and issues probably with anything that wasn’t specifically made by APPLE.

And I may not help your situation with my opinion about IOS, but guarantee that’s one less IOS user I have to help once someone reads the issues with IOS and not Android all the time. Again ha ha, hopefully received this time well. I’m sorry to get your frustrations running high, I thought “Guided Access was the golden answer”, that’s all I got for ya.

As @Ricardo mentioned, If your using the same setup as instructed for compatibility design, then you might not be having same problems that you are currently experiencing.

Update all devices is the only thing I never suggested, I kinda assumed your always updated cause you sound technically abled.


#16

Apologies for not catching the humor there - written text lends itself very badly to convey the tone of a conversation. With my question, I was obviously (I thought) talking about the subject of the thread and were you got the idea that this would solve my problem, not what your general opinion of an OS is based on.

Yeah, I think we are not really on the same wavelength here. We are not talking about unsupported apps from the Google play store here (where did you read that?) - we are talking about the official Alfred app on the Apple app store! The one I am paying for! You seem to be assuming way too many things so no wonder I don’t understand what you mean. Most of the apps on my devices are not made by Apple and work fine because they are made FOR Apple and sold on the Apple app store, JUST LIKE THE ALFRED APP.

Yeah, I get the joke but maybe it should be aimed at companies selling an app “made for” an OS you don’t like, not the company who make the OS which works fine with thousands of other apps… as I said, I do appreciate people trying to help so thanks for that.

Yeah, the devices were running the latest versions of everything when I had physical access to them last. Updates have come out since then so I will take care of that when I’m on-site next.

I’ll also look at what @Ricardo posted and apply what I can. Thanks again for taking the time.


#17

Hi Ricardo,

As a test, I’ll bring one of the cameras home and test it for a few days on my bench to compare the recommended used of guided access with the MDM solution.

Thanks for your suggestions, I will keep this thread updated with my findings.


#18

While I won’t deny that I personally prefer Android OS over iOS, please note 1) my reply was directed at @Lecram, and 2) I wasn’t expressing an opinion, I was stating a fact.

I don’t see how your device’s OS could possibly not be relevant? And if you somehow perceive an analytical contrast between the two platforms as somehow being politically incorrect, then by that logic do you get angry at your auto mechanic every time you get your engine oil changed someplace besides the OEM dealership? How about when you go to the hardware store and the clerk tells you they stock more imperial than they do metric parts?

Your conditional sentence doesn’t resolve logically. The protasis has no influence nor correlation to the apodosis; whether Alfred does or does not “claim” x works on y platform has no bearing on the degree of which you should care about what OS we personally prefer. However, the likelihood of you receiving potentially useful troubleshooting tips obviously might be impacted by our preference, simply due to variance in knowledge and insight on the respective operating systems.

Accessibility to the backend and system settings does not equate to “hacks”. This perception may be due to a false paradigm stemming from the difference between what’s referred to “jailbreaking” vs “rooting” (see 3rd paragraph here). Furthermore, I have a non-rooted device; the Android environment intrinsically gives more technically inclined end-users options such as ADB or .db editors to make tweaks and adjustments to device or application behaviors without the use of what would legally constitute as a security exploit.

Look, I get that you’re feeling frustrated, and seeing replies that didn’t directly address or solve the issue probably didn’t help your mood. But in the first place, please bear in mind that we are not the developers nor are we business affiliates to the app or platforms. We are community members volunteering our time and energy to help out fellow users like yourself. Just as @ricardo says, we’re just trying to help each other out here. That said, I’ve given it some thought and have some additional thoughts you may or may not find helpful, if you are willing to work with us.

First off, are we sure that the issue is due to the difference in operating system to begin with? I think that if that were the case, then it would logically follow that 1) we would be seeing more than just your post regarding this issue, and 2) the complaints would have a trend showing a concentration on iOS users. If you happen to have a spare Android device lying around (I have a whole box of them myself I never throw away, my wife hates my habit of holding onto them), maybe try and see if the issue persists with it at that same location. Conversely, have you tried using the iOS app from a different location and network? I’m not saying it’s impossible the iOS version of the app is at fault here, but the above may help either confirm or narrow down other potential root causes.

If the problem is with the iOS version of the app, then the follow-up may be in the dev team’s hands. However, in the event that the issue is not due to OS but it is localized to network or geo-location, there are some other things we can look into to identify the problem.

  • Based on your description, the first thing that comes to my mind is the network condition at the camera locations. I’m not sure about the Alfred app, but I know – at least for Android Marshmallow and up in California – equivalent Find My Device services poll not only wifi transmission data, but also GPS signal, mobile data, bluetooth registration, etc; FYI, this is partly why from the 6.0+ update, you’re no longer [supposed to] be able to initiate any type of P2P filesharing service without invoking the access coarse location and/or access fine location permission(s).
  • Aside from that, there’s also the connection refresh intervals and how the device or application negotiates the connection after interruptions. The differences in these could explain why the device appears online through certain services but offline through others; and based on what @ricardo advised, I’m inferring that if the device’s network connection gets interrupted for a certain duration – or at all – the connection won’t be restored without some sort of manual intervention. There are a variety of things that can be done to check network conditions, such as:
    • Using a wifi scanner at the devices’ exact locations to see if there are interfering broadcasting channels that may be causing deconstruction interference (you can change your router’s broadcasting channels to mitigate this)
    • On Android devices (not sure about iOS), you can enable developer settings and tweak device settings so that cellular data remains active regardless of wifi status, and/or enable agressive handover between the two as to hopefully prevent interruption.
    • If you have a PC available, there are certain tools and utilities (potentially available for the devices, I’ve never personally used them on devices directly before though) you can use to check connection quality and persistence, such as Wireshark.
    • If you find the above too technical and don’t want to dive into the learning curb barring as a last resort, a simpler method would be to use a PC: run cmd and enter ping [ip address] -t (replace without brackets the device’s IP) and see if it always responds back or if there are sporadic interruptions with messages similar to “connection timed out”. Note that if you are pinging from outside the local network, most of the time you will need to enable the option to allow remote access / pings through the router settings, which you can usually find by accessing https://192.168.1.1 from a browser that’s connected to the network.
    • There are also potential issues that could stem from the router’s configuration itself. Take the time to look through these; although I wouldn’t be able to advise specifically due to the wide variation of routers and their respective available settings, there are typically commonly found settings like firmware updates, QoS priority handling, 2.4 vs 5.0 broadcast configurations, MTU size, NAT filtering, RIP direction and version (if you have multiple broadcasting points), and many others. Some even have logs you can monitor to gain more insight on what’s going on with the devices’ data traffic.
    • You can also try using a tool like namebench to get the optimal DNS servers for the network location, and then update your router DNS settings. For device DNS’s, you would have to use a 3rd party app to change DNS via VPN, but I believe setting them at router-level would apply to the devices connected to it (someone correct me on that if I’m wrong please). Note: even without using any utility to scan for DNS servers, using Google DNS (8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4) almost always yields faster connections than an ISP’s default DNS servers.
    • If your network is set to DHCP through router, nowadays without going through the trouble of static assignments there’s typically a device registration table method instead, which allows your setup to remain as dynamic IP assignments but reserves certain IP addresses and only renews them to devices by matching up with their MAC adress. This would prevent issues that may popup from connection lease renewals.
    • Some routers have options you can enable like implicit beamforming or MU-MIMO that can improve device connection quality, speed, and range (there’s also HT160 compatibility for devices with the newest Intel Wifi-AC chips, but that likely won’t apply to your devices).

Apologies for the wall of text, but I’ve had my fair share of network-related issues throughout the years. If any of this potentially helps, then it would’ve been worth taking the time to write this out. If you have any questions feel free to follow-up, good luck!


#19

Moral of the story kids, Non stock offline… MDM and Find my Iphone are your culprits. The common denomenator here is both MDM and FMIP, are “alternative apps” used to circumvent the actual features of alfred for better or for worse, till death do you part IOS… Android wouldn’t have had this problem… Just say’n, lol

Removing the phones from the ‘single app mode’ group and re-adding them (thus forcing the Alfred app to start again) brings the cameras back online within a minute. (MDM BUG w/ alfed)

I’m a paying customer (Thank you for helping keep alfred FREE, ha ha ha) but this issue is making me think about looking for an alternative app as even if it was free, I need it to be reliable and stable. Physical access to the cameras takes me over an hour of driving.

Reminds me of a girl I used to date, jk, lol (app etizer)

I think the alternate apps is what got ya here, ha ha ha. Simmer… I think with Guided Access use as you mentioned you were gonna try in latest post will probably work for you. AirDroid is what I would use Android, ha ha ha… Any remote app from apple, where you control the phone like a desktop should get you what your after. That way it has nothing to do with alfred functionality.

Hope we solve this for ya… Sorry for my dry humor


#20

Oh right, does iOS have TeamViewerQS or anything similar? That wouldn’t address the issue directly but it’d definitely be better than having to drive on-site whenever an issue arises.