© 2017 Insight Resources

software resources for science and technology education


Troubleshooting Guide

The iOS micro:bit app and Bluetooth

Since the BBC micro:bit employs the low energy version of Bluetooth wireless communication, the iPhone or iPad running the app must have Bluetooth low energy capability.  Unfortunately this excludes some older models.  The app has been successfully tested on iPad 4, iPad Mini, iPad Air, iPhone 4S, 5, 6.


Problems with pairing?

The method of pairing requires holding  down buttons A and B and pressing and releasing the RESET button. Normally, A and B need to be held until the message “PAIRING MODE..” begins to scroll across the LEDs.  The requirement of entering a pattern and 6-digit code ensures security in an environment where there may be several micro:bits.


A compiled HEX file contains not only your script code but also ‘runtime’ and ‘bootloader’ code. Bluetooth communication depends upon the runtime and bootloader code in micro:bit.  If the runtime or bootloader code in micro:bit is corrupted or overwritten with incompatible code, Bluetooth flashing and pairing will fail, and the only method of restoring it is to flash a suitable HEX file from a computer via a USB cable. The JavaScript Blocks Editor compiles suitable HEX files. Currently, HEX files compiled from Python scripts are not compatible with Bluetooth. From time to time the runtime and bootloader code from the website is updated, so it is good practice to create fresh HEX files by re-compiling your scripts.

Troubleshooting Checklist


1. If the micro:bit appears not to respond, check that it has power and that your iPad or iPhone has Bluetooth switched on.


2. If you can’t get access to the website and code editors, check that you have an Internet connection.


3. If flashing doesn’t work, try re-pairing (Go to ‘Connection’).


4. If re-pairing doesn’t work, try making the iPad ‘forget’ the micro:bit (See ‘micro:bits need to be forgotten’).


5. If re-pairing still doesn’t work, use a computer to go to the code editor website, compile some code with JavaScript Blocks and flash it to the micro:bit using a USB cable.  This will ensure that the micro:bit has the latest software.