I'm looking to take advantage of the older generation LEGO Mindstorms NXT robots by developing a companion app for the iPad. I'm aware that non-jailbroken iPads cannot communicate with the robot via bluetooth, but is there a way to send code from the iPad to the NXT robot through the USB port?

Is there another way to have kids write code from the iPad which makes it onto the robot without using another computer?

1 Answer 1


I'm going to guess that USB would most likely required a jailbroken iPad. The NXT uses a custom USB protocol, so you would need raw access to the USB via IOKit.

If neither Bluetooth nor USB works, then there is no alternative other than using another computer to communicate to the NXT.

  • You could implement a server somewhere which uses bluetooth to talk to the NXT (assuming NXT has no Wifi capabilities). Give this server a web interface and then use the iPad to connect to this interface. That should allow you to remotely control the NXT. LeJOS might be a good place to start should you want to pursue this. I used this approach for my (still unfinished) native Scratch to EV3 software (using EV3's WiFi capabilities with an external dongle).
    – Phil B.
    Aug 30, 2017 at 14:52
  • How close does a server need to be to connect with the bluetooth of a device? Aug 30, 2017 at 17:35
  • Bluetooth range depends on the actual location (e.g. how much interference is there?), but a typical range is about 10 meters (30 feet). Aug 30, 2017 at 18:13

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