How to Configure your iPhone as an iBeacon Transmitter

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Update: Skip this entire post and download the GemTot SDK App and easily turn your iPhone into an iBeacon transmitter with just the tap of a button. Download it here.

For a full demo on how to use the app check out Experience iBeacon technology with the GemTot SDK App.

purchase beacons

iBeacon transmitters have the capability of sending specific information to nearby devices based on location. It is a great way to transmit targeted information to users and is already being implemented in retail stores and stadiums. A cool feature of iBeacons is that iPhones can be configured to be an iBeacon transmitter.

This guide will show you how to configure your iPhone as a beacon. Any iPhone 4S or later that runs on iOS7 or later can be configured to act as an iBeacon transmitter.  You no longer need to be part of Apple’s Developer Program in order to do this. You simply need to have Xcode installed on your computer.

To learn more about beacons and to purchase PassKit’s USB “GemTot” beacons, click here.

Step 1: Visit the App Store and download the latest version of Xcode.

How to Configure your iPhone as an iBeacon Transmitter

Step 2: Download and unzip our GemTot for iOS open source app.

Step 3: Unzip the file and open the GemTotSDK.xcodeproj file. This will launch Xcode and open up the sample code you just downloaded.

How to Configure your iPhone as an iBeacon Transmitter

 

Step 4: Plug your iPhone into your computer. Go up to the header to select the active scheme. Select your iPhone from the list of devices.

How to Configure your iPhone as an iBeacon Transmitter

 

Step 5: Click on the play icon. When it’s complete, you’ll see “Build Succeeded” pop up on your computer screen. The GemTot for iOS App should automatically pull up this screen on your phone.

How to Configure your iPhone as an iBeacon Transmitter

Note: If this is your first time that you have installed code on your device you may receive a security warning. To enable your account. You must go to Settings – General – Profiles – tap on your Profile – tap on Trust button on your iPhone. After trusting it should look like this.

IMG_3108

And that’s how you configure your iPhone to be an iBeacon transmitter. We hope you found this useful. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to let us know in the comments below.

If you want to purchase beacons to test with passes, visit the GemTot Beacons page.

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  • http://mysnapcash.com Stuart

    You only mention iPhone here – Is this the same process to enable a iPad as a transmitter ?

    • Wendy Chan

      Yes, it’s the same process for an iPad. Any iPad 3 or above running on iOS7 can be configured to be an iBeacon transmitter.

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  • andy

    Hi,

    Got it working (I think), but how do I enable the receiving iPhone to receive the broadcast?

    Followed all your steps, enabled bluetooth on other iPhone (4S + IOS7) and not seeing any activity.

    Thx!

    • Wendy Chan

      Hi Andy,

      Thanks for your comment. Is the AirLocate app running in the foreground on your configured iBeacon device? If you could share your steps on our iBeacon forum http://forum.passkit.com/viewforum.php?f=34 we’ll see if we can help get the issue resolved.

      Cheers,

      Wendy

  • Doug B

    I have the same issue as Andy, but I get an error on the AirLocate app on the device I’ve designated as the iBeacon Transmitter, that says “You’re outside the region”.
    I’m lost at this point.

    • Cristina

      Yeah me too!
      I have configured an Iphone 5 to be an iBeacon but it always says to be out of region..
      Now I wanted to install an app on my Nexus 5 and see if it sees when I am close to the Iphone 5!

  • Jon M

    Thanks for the useful info. Please could you clarify: is this something that you could do with an app published in the App Store, or is it something you can only do with a ‘development device’? i.e. publish an App which would turn the iPhone or iPad it’s on into an iBeacon. I have a scenario where it would be really useful for group leaders each to have an iBeacon running on their iPhone.

    (I’m not an Apple developer yet – just looking for solutions before diving into the technology).

    • Mark Petereit

      What’s the scenario where it would be really useful for group leaders to have an iBeacon running on their iPhone? I’m not sure it would be practical, since the only time the iBeacon app would be transmitting would be when the app is the active foreground app running on their iPhone.

  • Tony Yustein

    The App broadcasts just an UUID nothing else, for other devices to see this you need an app. You can download many apps on the app store which makes it easy to listen to broadcasting iBeacons.

    Note that with iOS8 I’m experiencing detecting iBeacons, where as on iOS7 there are no problems. This is true for all the apps and passkit’s own Passcards with enabled iBeacon functionality.

  • https://www.facebook.com/xjoeabc3x Huang-Ze-Si

    Hi, I want to know how to make my iPhone4(iOS7) or iPad become a iBeacon receiver?

  • http://www.illuminz.com Abhinav

    How much is the range of device (let’s say iPad), if it is acting as Beacon ?

  • Hasham

    can i send data from Iphone to IBeacon?Like I want to Turn ON/OFF IBeacon from my Iphone/Ipad

    • Zi-long Qiu

      Hi, you can’t do that. Ibeacon is unidirectionnal (the beacon send to device only 3 informations : UUID, Major and Minor).

  • Shankar

    Hi, can I use an iPhone 4S as a Airlocate beacon. I have tried to do so, but it does not seem to work.

  • codematrix

    Great article!

  • Ahmed Askar

    Application is not working with me and i can’t find profiles from setting

    • https://passkit.com/ Wendy Chan

      Hi Ahmed, there’s an easier way to get your iPhone to broadcast an iBeacon signal! Simply download this app http://bitly.com/gemtotsdk and within a couple of taps you’re broadcasting! Hope this helps.

      • Deep

        can I use gemtotsdk on 2 iphones to test this setup and use 1 phone as transmitter and 2nd as receiver? If not, which other app can i use to test the setup?

  • Mister PAul

    Sounds great thanks!
    Does it work only in foreground with an awaken iPhone?

  • Krishna Karki

    doesn’t work