Discussion of robot vacuum cleaners that can be controlled with a companion iOS app

Hardware & Accessories

Hi guys,

I want to talk about a thing that could be a good solution for us fullblind person. I just thought about robot vacuums. Maybe you ask me: "Hey guy, why do you post this here on applevis?" The answer is easy. Most of the robot vacuums works with smartphone app on IOS. I just ask me: "hm... are this apps accessible with Voiceover? I read about robot vacuums which only works with this apps. For example you can create time plans or gets push messages on the app. Have someone expirience with vacuum robots? I just play with the idea to test the robot vacuum from neato which works also with Amazon Echo.
I hope you find this topic also interessting like me.
I'm glad for your answers.



Submitted by aaron ramirez on Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The older connected is always either running in eco or turbo; There is no middle ground.
Seeing Justin's posts, I'm really wishing I would have gone with the D5 rather than the older connected model, but at the same time I love my little robot so I don't think I'd send it back anyway. I'm hoping workarounds can be found for the issues that are present.
@bonerobot: Yeah, I was originally going to post on Applevis as well when I started searching, but I just assumed there hadn't been enough interest on the topic since I've never seen anyone post about any kind of smart appliance on here.

Submitted by Peter Holdstock on Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Hi. I thought I would post this as soon as possible as it sounds like a few people on here are about to make the decision as to which robot to buy. I'm pleased to say that today the roomba app has been updated and accessibility has been improved slightly although it was good in the first place and there are a couple of very small issues outstanding but do not impact the use of the app. Also, while I haven't read the article yet, apparently Irobot have announced today that Alexa support will be coming to roomba in the second quarter of this year. It also sounds like they have some quite big developments coming for their robots.

A quick update for my first impressions of the Roomba 980. My Roomba was delivered yesterday. I was able to set it up and connect to Wi-Fi without sighted assistance. Before the robot arrived, I watched some unboxing and setting up YouTube videos. I don't know if I could have set it up without first learning a little bit about the process on YouTube. I named the Roomba Rosie in the app. naming your robot doesn't have any real purpose, but I thought it was cute. Although I thought Rosie would have some battery charge when she arrived, her battery was nearly flat. I did a short charge and a 30 minute or so vacuum. I was able to access the vacuum settings and view the history with VoiceOver. The app had a few minor VoiceOver issues but was still 100% useable. The issues were more with efficiency than usability. For example, the owner's manual in the app would be easier to use with heading navigation or if the table of contents had links. Finally, I really like the notifications, but the one I got was due to Rosie being stuck on a ledge or drop off . She got stuck there three or four times during her back and forth cleaning, but when Rosie came back to that spot for what I think was edge cleaning, she didn't get stuck. I hope she learned her lesson. Smile. I will post more of my impressions after getting comfortable using Rosie.

Submitted by bonerobot on Friday, March 17, 2017

nice to read the first impressions from Roomba 980. I just thought about to order me one but it's a liittle bit expensive for me. Beside of that I'm so good with the support person of Neato. But I'm glad to read that you get conortable with your 980.
Some hours ago I wrote with a support person from Neato on Twitter again. He told me that Alexa-support will be coming soon for the bodvac d5. Yesterday I talked to the european support of Neato and they confirmed me that the Bodvac d5 is screenless and only with an app usable.

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Friday, March 17, 2017

Oh wow, very cool. I like that. If you do get a BotFac neato d5 can you do a review maybe?

Submitted by bonerobot on Friday, March 17, 2017

In the next days Aaron will bring an interesting podcast about his expirience and a audio demonstration of his Bodvac connected.
Of course if I order me in the future the Bodvac d5 I can describe my expirience like the other users.

Submitted by Justin on Saturday, March 18, 2017

I can safely say so far the D5 is working well. Connecting it to your home wifi is extremely simple. I'd say however that if you cannot see the LEDs that are on the robot, then you'll have to guess how long to hold the multi-function button and the right bumper for. It's 10 seconds to reset the robot so you can connect to the network. Once you get it and turn it on for the first time it is in pairing mode for one hour. Then you follow the instructions in the app. I'm not sure how well it'll work on phone data, as I haven't tested that feature yet. From reading the user guide it says the app will work on phone data, so I'm looking forward to seeing what it does.

Submitted by bonerobot on Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Hi there,

Since the last post more than two weeks was gone.
Have someone new expierience with a robot vacuum like the Roomba or Neato bodvac. I just rember that someone wants to release a little podcast to give some impressions of his Bodvac Connected?

Submitted by Rod on Wednesday, April 5, 2017

In reply to by bonerobot

Yes, I have had plenty of time to get comfortable using the Roomba 980. Thanks for reminding me to post my impressions. I Love it! I use it every day, and the app works really well for me. However, the app has a very few minor issues. For example, I forgot to empty the bin yesterday, when I opened the app at my workplace today to vacuum, It said "Aspen clean unavailable 320 dimmed button." you flick to the right and VoiceOver says "Capital O button."When you double tap that button, VoiceOver lets me know in clear language that the bin needs to be emptied before cleaning can be done. It also gives nice trouble shooting tips. All this is easy to navigate and the information is accessible, but the buttons could have better labels. Other issues with the app are just as minor. I love the push notifications. She lets me know when she is done or if she has any issues. There is even a locate Rosie feature if she gets stuck while you are not at home and have trouble finding her.
As far as Rosie's cleaning is concerned, I had to use one of the Bluetooth beacons to prevent Rosie from getting stuck on a step and had to tidy-up some wires by our bed stand table. All in all I had very few modifications to our home to get Rosie to work well. We have a one-story home and Rosie cleans the whole house except for the small entrance by the carport door. It is a step down from the rest of the house. I just place Rosie down there every few days and press the clean button. She cleans that area in about 15 minutes. My wife felt the need to dust mop or vacuum every day before getting Rosie. We have a German Shepherd who lives in the house with us. Since getting Rosie, my wife has only vacuumed once. It was before she mopped. There was a little dog fur behind open doors and such, but Rosie exceeded our expectations of her cleaning ability. She really does a great job!
I don't really miss the lasers on the Neato like I thought I would. I haven't had the need to vacuum at night in complete darkness. Rosie has had no issues cleaning during the day with the lights off with just the natural light coming through the windows even with the blinds closed. I work during the day, so I prefer her to vacuum when I am not at home.
I think the Neato is a great product as well and may be a better choice for some folks, but I am very happy I went with the Roomba.

Submitted by Justin on Wednesday, April 5, 2017

I can safely say the neato app works very well. The only downside is when the robot gets stuck and gives an error, there is no way of clearing the error. The only way is to find the robot, and hit the start button to resume cleaning. This is on the neato Botvac connected D5.
Other than that everything is very clearly labeled, and very concise. From what i've read online laser navigation is superior to camera navigation, because it doesn't need ambient lighting to see where it is going. The only two robot manufacturers that use lasers on their robots are neato and Xiaomi. The Xiaomi is good, except everything is in Chinese. However if you are fluent in it and can understand it and possibly read what the app is telling you on the Mi robot vac, then good to go.

Submitted by Peter Holdstock on Wednesday, April 5, 2017

I'm also really happy with my roomba 980 after having it for about four weeks. Even people who were cynical about how well the robot would clean have commented that it actually probably does a better job than they would. I've been amazed how well he gets into corners that I really wouldn't think something that size and shape would fit but the side Brushes really seem to do the job well. The other thing I've been impressed with his how easy the robot is to maintain. He will even without any sighted assistance I was able to easily find where to remove the filter bin and all other removable components and the price of getting any spares seems to have dropped dramatically since I got my first robot vacuum many years ago. The roomba Will be working with Amazon Alexa over the next couple of months so I'm looking forward to that.

Submitted by Falco on Monday, May 8, 2017


Is there already a podcast about the neato connect?
because I maybe want to buy the neato D5 connect. I think it is the most accessible cleaning robot on the market.
I read that there is someone on this forum who uses that type of cleaning robot. Can he or she give me the pro's an con's to choose this type of cleaning robot?


Submitted by Raul on Monday, May 8, 2017

Just wanted to let you know that like a month ago Xiaomi released an english translation for the Mi Robot Vacuum. You still have to choose Mainland CHina as your country, but the menus and voice prompts are fully translated

Submitted by Justin on Friday, May 12, 2017

The Xiaomi robot is the cheapest one in the list of robots so far. Unfortunately, it is not as powerful as the neat/roombas are. if I'm right, the xiaomi is somewhere around $200 or so.
I've got the D5, and yeah, it's very usable with VO. The roomba seems very usable as well, but I didn't feel like spending $800+. The pros for the neat is that it has laser guided navigation over the cameras that other robots have. More suction than there competitors. The ability of getting out of tight spaces. Roomba have this too. The neats have always had the "D" shape that really seems to help them in getting into corners.
Honestly, the only con I can think of is the fact that sometimes it gets stuck going over large lips on the floor. However, most/all of the robots will probably get stuck on them some time or another.

Submitted by Raul on Friday, May 12, 2017

The Xiaomi also has laser distance sensor, and 1800 pa of suction, no idea about the neato. Price is around 300 to 350

Submitted by Falco on Saturday, May 20, 2017


I bought the neato D5. It works very good but there is one problem. When the robot is cleaning and I click "pause" in the app. The button to let the robot ride to the dock to charge is always grey. Does some one know this problem? Is there a way to push a button on the robot to let him go to the dock?


Submitted by Justin on Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Yes, the neato app is very usable with VO. Now if they'd just release software updates for the D3 and D5 connected robots. It's been 10 months since they've put anything out for them. I love the neato robots, but they've got there quirks. They're quite loud when they run, louder then I'd like them to be. The mapping functionality is great; love the laser navigation side. I bought an Ecovacs robotic vac last week, but it appears they've sent the wrong robot, because it doesn't map the rooms, it moves randomly, not methodically. Anyway, I'll stick with neato for a while, until probably late fall.

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Sunday, April 14, 2019

Question so how is the vacuume mention here are working? What about the samsung which has camera works well. It is that accessible?

Submitted by steve t on Monday, April 15, 2019

I have had neato d7 for about 6 months. I can confirm the following: I was able to set it up entirely independently - I have no vision so did have to guess at whether the lights were blinking in readiness for initial pairing with my phone but you also do get some sound feedback from the neato. It works particularly well with Alexa - "ask neato to clean the house" for example is a typical kind of command. The only issues I've had are where the neato goes offline or where it's been knocked off its base station.

I've found the company to be responsive. for example, it will now make a sound to help you locate it if it gets stuck somewhere or has stopped for what-ever reason.

The app needs a bit of work but with regard to the major functions it's certainly usable; with alexa or google home it's just fine.

Once it's finished cleaning it returns to its base for charging; on its initial run it will map the floor area - you can visually create no-go areas which would need assistance for some of us, or you can position the magnetic strip provided to indicate an area that you don't want it to go in to. you can buy more strips if you need to.

Apart from it being usable it's actually an excellent vacuum. it handles a range of different flooring and will auto-adjust, including negotiating ledges and areas wehre the carpet begins and other materials stop for example.

Submitted by Justin on Monday, April 15, 2019

I've had a couple neatos in the past; a neato D5 which i've had for like 2 years now, and the original XV11 which didn't last and wasn't good. THe D5 is in my basement, and gets used occasionally. I also have the Roborock S5 robot vac, which is probably one of my fav robot vacs. There are some issues with the app, like not being able to click on the robots name from the home screen, you have to go into profile, tap on messages and tap on a message to bring up the robot panel, not perfect but it'll do. The No go lines, or what it calls "zone cleaning" will never work for us blinkies, but if you have a sighted partner/friend/ect to help ya, I'm sure you can make it work if you choose to do so. There's a mopping feature, but again the barriers in the app will not be accessible because you actually have to draw on a map where the carpet is. so the robot if used without barriers in mop mode will not know that "hey there's carpet there, I shouldn't go there." It'll just continue on going and get your carpet damp if mopping. So best thing I'd say if you're looking for a vac that also does mopping, either watch it like a hawk, or go with the ecovacs Osmo 900 which supposedly will avoid carpet if in mop mode. Whereas this will just get carpets damp, so if this one gets on carpet you'll have to either move it off carpet or put a physical barriers up to keep off carpets.

Submitted by snowyowl on Monday, April 15, 2019


I have a Roomba 960 got this before I found out about the 800 series.

I must admit I love my roomba. It handles carpet and hard floor pritty good.

It can also return to the docking station when its low on charge and at the end of the cleaning cycle.

I have also heard if its low on charge in the middle of a cleaning cycle it can return to the dock, recharge and then return to where it was cleaning when it was low before.

Good luck with your Roomba.

Funnily enough I named mine Rosie too after my mum.


Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Monday, April 15, 2019

Anyone knows anything about the Samsung POWERbot R7065 Robot Vacuum, Wi-Fi Connectivity, Intelligent Mapping, Ideal for Carpets, Hard Floors, and Pet

Submitted by Bruce Harrell on Monday, April 15, 2019


I have a Roomba I7+. The good news is that it recharges itself whenever it needs it, it empties itself (yes, I said it empties itself) whenever its needs it, and it does a great job cleaning all floors, carpeted and tile. My wife is very very happy with the I7+.

We don't bother with any apps. All we have to do is push a big button in the center of the top of the robot, and off it goes to clean the entire house, under the bed, under the table and chairs, everywhere it can reach. When it's finished, it goes back to its barn, empties itself, and recharges itself.

The only bad news is that the I7+ is expensive -- nearly $1,000, but iRobot built it to last, and they have great support. Once a month or so we do a few minutes of maintenance. The debris bag where it empties itself into hasn't filled up yet, and we've been using the aI7+ since last September!

Hope this helps.


Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Hey, any experience with the Eufy 30C? I've got the first one they did, the 11, but it appears to have had a stroke. I'm now looking for a new one which means this thread is most fortuitous...

The Eufy Home app looks pretty accessible with a similar set up to an amazon echo. My main question, I guess, is the cleaning effectiveness if anyone knows.

I believe it uses magnetic strips to block off areas. I'd imagine the mapping thing might be a little inaccessible for us anyway in an IOS app.

I'm especially asking about this because I'm super tight and can't afford to splurge £500 + on being lazy. I just don't think I could look myself in the mirror... Oh, hang on...

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Question. I just got a shark s87 robot vacuum which works well with lady A and the app is OK. Found a nice deal on July 15 of this year. I just safe $200. My Question is about Magnetic Strip Adhesive to prevent the robot from going where I do not want. Are there Magnetic Strip that will hold and not be move by Bella the cat? Are there any Magnetic Strip with Strong Self Adhesive that works with the shark vacuum?

Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Google it. Mass production units should have plenty of info out there. Also, as I've just had my own knuckles wrapped for it, this is starting to get a little off topic as you are talking about a non-apple device. I know it would be nice to have a forum to discuss all tech for the blind and visually impaired, unfortunately that falls outside the remit of AppleVIS, which is quite understandable.

Submitted by Justin on Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Does the shark robot vacuums work with magnetic strips in the first place? In reguards to the Eufy, from what I know they work well from reviews... I'd say get something a little more expensive than the 30C, maybe look at 360S6, I think it's about $100 more, you'd have to look on amazon for this, and see what you think. The 360 robots are pretty budget friendly, and do a good job with laser navigation. I've got something similar to it, the roborock S5 robot and the Mi Home app works quite well with VO. The only thing that doesn't work at all is the no go lines, or the zone cleaning... I'd just hit the spot button and have do that. Other then that, the app works. Other thing, you can't get a gauge on your battery level, but since the robot talks it'll let you know when it needs to charge. However the battery life on the roborock is 2.5 hours, so you can probably do your whole place on one charge and have juice to spare.

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Friday, October 11, 2019

I have the shark and works well with the app. The app is good but due to iOS 13 has some bugs. Also works well with Alexa.