Use your iPhone to turn your dig­i­tal pic­ture frame on and off


If you want to man­u­al­ly turn the screen of your dig­i­tal pic­ture frame on or off, check the avail­able mem­o­ry on your SD card or just shut down the Rasp­berry Pi because you will be gone for a few weeks, doing it on your iPhone is a lot faster and more con­ve­nient than log­ging on to your frame.

In this arti­cle, I will intro­duce PiHelper, a free iOS app that lets you mon­i­tor, con­trol and man­age your Rasp­berry Pi and con­se­quent­ly your dig­i­tal pic­ture frame.

Remote Con­trol Your Pi


Although the dig­i­tal pic­ture frame does not require much user inter­ac­tion, there are times when you may want to adjust the time con­trolled on/off set­tings when, e.g., guests stay late.

The app for that is called PiHelper and was writ­ten by Qian Sha. You can down­load it from the App Store for your iPhone and iPad.

If you are a nerd, PiHelper pro­vides a direct overview of the cur­rent activ­i­ties on the Pi. You can drill down into detailed stats for CPU uti­liza­tion and mem­o­ry or view file direc­to­ries.

For some­body who val­ues con­ve­nience, you can use PiHelper as a sim­ple remote com­mand to, e.g., turn your mon­i­tor on and off.

PiHelper is very easy to set up. I will show you the com­mands that I have con­fig­ured for my use.

Set­ting up PiHelper

All you need to con­nect to your dig­i­tal pic­ture frame is your host­name (the name that you have giv­en your Rasp­berry Pi, e.g., "digitalpictureframe2018", add ".local" to your host­name, enter Port "22", the user­name (prob­a­bly "pi") and your pass­word.

Test the con­nec­tion and if it works, save it.

Tap on your instance that you have just set up.

You can add the com­mands in the top right cor­ner. Click on "Edit com­mands" and enter the com­mands that you would like to add.

Turn the mon­i­tor on or off

The two most request­ed com­mands are prob­a­bly turn­ing the screen on and off. Although the on/off times are defined in the crontab if you are using a time con­trol, you may want to over­ride them at times.

Under "Com­mand Name" call it "Mon­i­tor on" and enter the fol­low­ing line in the Cus­tom Com­mand.

sudo vcgencmd display_power 1

Save it.

Repeat the same with "Mon­i­tor off" and enter in the Cus­tom Com­mand:

sudo vcgencmd display_power 0

Save it.

Shut­down and reboot

The com­mand for Restart is

sudo reboot now

and for Shut­down

sudo shutdown now

Health mon­i­tor­ing infor­ma­tion

At the bot­tom of the screen, you can keep an eye on the cur­rent CPU and mem­o­ry uti­liza­tion, the CPU/GPU tem­per­a­ture, and the avail­able disk space.

PiHelper offers a low-cost straight­for­ward remote con­trol for con­trol­ling your dig­i­tal pic­ture frame. Did I already men­tion that it's free?