How to control your Roomba with Siri

Even though the iRobot line of smart vacuums doesn’t support Apple HomeKit, there is a way to control your iRobot Roomba with Siri. It’s not as simple as downloading an app and pushing a button, but it’s not overly complex either.

If you’re in a tinkering mood, then you’re going to have a blast, and in about 5 minutes, you should be able to command your Roomba using Siri on your iPhone, iPad, Mac or even HomePod.

Control Roomba with siri

Use iOS shortcuts

The iRobot app now supports iOS shortcuts out of the box, which makes controlling your Roomba smart vacuums effortless. Here’s how to control your Roomba with Siri using shortcuts:

1) Download the iRobot app for free from the App Store and open it.

2) Open the Apple Shortcuts app on your iPhone or iPad. It comes pre-installed on all recent iPhones and iPads, and you can find it by swiping down on the Home Screen and searching for Shortcuts.

3) Tap the plus button from the upper right of the Shortcuts tab.

Start building a shortcut on iPhone

4) Type iRobot in the search bar at the bottom of the screen.

5) You will see a handful of actions like Clean everywhere, Resume robot, Pause robot, and Send robot home. Pick one for now. We are going with Clean everywhere. Later you can create more shortcuts for the remaining actions.

iRobot shortcut actions

6) Optionally, you can tap robot in blue color and pick the specific smart vacuum. Once done, tap the tiny arrow and set the cleaning mode.

7) This shortcut will be automatically named Clean everywhere, which is suitable. But if you want to change it, tap the name from the top and pick Rename. You can set it to Start Roomba or Start cleaning or something like that.

Customize your iRobot shortcut

8) Finally, tap Done to finish building this shortcut and save it.

Roomba shortcut built on iPhone

From now on, you can simply call Siri and say Clean everywhere, and your Roomba will start vacuuming! Besides voice, you can also quickly run the shortcut using other methods such as triggering it from your iPhone Home Screen.

Siri will only work with the exact phrase you created

By default, Siri will only start/pause/etc. the robot based on the name of the shortcut you have created. So you have to make sure you tell Siri the exact name of the shortcut every time you want to run it.

You can also customize the phrase you want to use to control the Roomba. So instead of saying “Start Roomba” to start the robot, you can rename the shortcut to be called “clean the house”, which is actually what I use. Instead of having to say “pause Roomba”, you can rename that shortcut to be called “pause the cleaning”. You may repeat these steps for each shortcut.

An alternative method is to duplicate your shortcuts. In essence, you could have multiple identical shortcuts that have different names. They would all do the same thing, but they would trigger Siri using different key phrases.

For instance, you can duplicate the “Start Roomba” shortcut a couple of times. You could name one duplicate “clean the house” and the other duplicate “start the robot.” This way, it gives you a little bit of flexibility in the way you ask Siri to command the robot. In the end, you will always have to tell Siri one exact shortcut name for this to work.

Finally, it must be noted that starting your Roomba with a Siri voice command always works flawlessly from your iPhone or iPad, however, it can be a little shaky if you try to enable this from your HomePod. It probably won’t come as a surprise to anyone using HomePod for home automation, but in my experience, this shortcut is unreliable when enabled with a HomePod. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it will tell you there is a problem. This is not an issue with the shortcut though. This is an issue with HomeKit, which you don’t really have any control over.