Roombas are handy tools for many households, especially when used with a smart device. Many Roombas can connect to Wi-Fi, allowing you to control them with the iRobot HOME app on your smartphone. With the app, you can schedule cleaning jobs, keep track of progress and status, and even communicate with your Roomba via Alexa, Google Home or Siri.
BestReviews uses testing, experts and extensive research to help you make informed purchasing decisions and get the most out of the products we recommend. In this guide we’ll tell you all about downloading the iRobot HOME app and connecting Roomba to Wi-Fi.
To connect your Roomba to Wi-Fi, you need to download the iRobot HOME app onto your smartphone. The HOME app is iRobot’s control center for its Roomba vacuums and Braava mops and is available for iOS and Android. Go to your phone’s app store and search for “iRobot Home” and download it to your smartphone.
To use the app, you need to set up an account and enter contact information. If you don’t wish to do so, you can use your Roomba’s essential functions without Wi-Fi.
Next, add your Roomba. On the HOME app, choose the ≡ menu on the top left of the screen and select Add Your Product. The app starts searching for any iRobot devices nearby. If it doesn’t detect any, it asks you to scan a QR code, if one is included with your Roomba, or to select a product manually.
If you choose Select Product, you’ll first be asked if it’s a robot vacuum, a robot mop or a vacuum/mop combo. Choose Vacuum Robot, and pick your Roomba’s product series (s series, j series, i series, 600 series, etc.)
The app now guides you step-by-step, beginning with advice on where to locate your home dock.
It then asks you to choose a Wi-Fi network. The app defaults to the Wi-Fi network currently used by your smartphone. To select a different network, you’ll have to switch to it from your phone’s settings. Most Roombas work with 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi networks instead of 5 GHz networks.
The app next asks for your Wi-Fi password. Enter it in the space provided.
Now it’s time to activate your Roomba. Press and hold the “Spot” (crosshairs icon) and “Home” (house icon) buttons on your Roomba for one to two seconds. They’re right next to the large “Clean” button. This puts your Roomba into connection mode. Your Roomba emits a chime and flashes its indicator ring or a Wi-Fi symbol.
On the app, check the box that says “I Pressed the Buttons.” The app now attempts to connect with your Roomba and add it to your Wi-Fi network. This process should take less than 20 seconds.
If the app has trouble, it tries again. After the second attempt, it asks you to manually select a special Wi-Fi network generated by your Roomba to finish the process.
If you have a Roomba j7, j7+ or j7+ Combo, activation is automatic.
Last step: give your Roomba a name. A unique and easy-to-say name helps you control your Roomba with your voice if you link it to Alexa or Google Home. If you have more than one Roomba in your home, give each one a unique name to tell them apart and control them individually.
The HOME app advises you to avoid using numbers in your Roomba’s name for the best results when using voice control.
If you run into trouble connecting your Roomba to Wi-Fi, or if you notice your Roomba failing to respond, try these steps.
First, make sure your Wi-Fi is working and that your Roomba is on the correct network.
On your computer or other device, check if you’re able to visit websites or stream video. If you can’t, you might have a network problem.
Check your router or modem. Are their lights blinking unusually or dark? You might need to turn them off and back on by pressing their on-off switches or unplugging them from power.
If that doesn’t work, contact your Internet service provider.
If your Roomba’s battery has run low, it won’t be able to respond to commands. This might happen if you haven’t kept your Roomba on its home base dock in a couple of days, or if the dock’s power cord isn’t plugged into a working outlet.
A Roomba takes about one and a half to two hours to charge from empty.
If everything else is working except your Roomba’s Wi-Fi, check the iRobot HOME app.
Go to Product Settings and choose Reconnect or Change Wi-Fi. The app guides you again through the process of connecting your Roomba to your Wi-Fi network, or to a new Wi-Fi network if you desire. Make sure you have your Wi-Fi password handy.
You can reboot your Roomba from the iRobot HOME app by going to Product Settings, then choosing Reboot [your Roomba’s name]. The process should only take a couple of minutes, after which your Roomba emits a tone or melody to let you know it’s done.
You can also reboot your Roomba by holding down the big “Clean” button for 10 to 20 seconds.
Restoring your Roomba is a little more drastic. It returns your Roomba to its factory state, removing it from your iRobot account and erasing its history and other data.
To restore your Roomba using the iRobot HOME app, go to Product Settings > About [your Roomba’s name] > Remove Device from Account. If you have a mapping-capable Roomba, it gives you the option to save your maps. Tap Factory Reset [your Roomba’s name]. Your Roomba is now restored to its factory settings. Go back to the beginning and try setting up Roomba again.
Not every Roomba can connect to Wi-Fi, and you don’t need Wi-Fi to use the basic cleaning features of your Roomba. But by connecting your Roomba to Wi-Fi, you’ll be able to enjoy the full benefits of having a robot vacuum in your home.
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Jmar Gambol writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.