Looking for a thermal imaging app for your phone or tablet?
You’ve come to the right place.
Most thermal imaging apps work with small thermal imaging cameras that attach to your phone’s USB port. The camera then uses your phone’s screen as the interface to display thermal images.
Other thermal imaging apps do not need a companion thermal imaging device. They apply a thermal filter to your phone’s standard camera image, making it easier to look for objects in the dark.
A thermal imaging app is not as good as using a standalone thermal imager. But if you want a thermal imaging app mostly for fun, adventure (ghost hunting, anyone?), or basic DIY projects, then a thermal imaging app may be a better – and cheaper – choice.
What’s In This Guide?
In this guide, we recommend the best thermal imaging apps for both Android and iOS. As we mentioned, some of these apps require a companion thermal imager device, while others rely on just your phone’s camera.
We’ll note which ones need a separate device and point you to where you can order it.
If you prefer a capable standalone thermal imager, take a look at our reviews of the best thermal cameras. We’ve included a couple of smartphone thermal cameras, but a majority of our top picks are handheld cameras.
And if you are looking for a cheaper alternative to thermal imaging, consider night vision devices.
The Best Android Thermal Imaging Apps
The Seek Thermal app requires the companion Seek Thermal Compact IR camera.
You can choose the Compact, Compact XR, or Compact Pro depending on your budget and the quality o image you want.
The Compact is excellent for essential home maintenance and hobbies. Compact XR provides a long detection range that's perfect for hunting and other outdoor application. Compact Pro offers the best image resolution.
The app itself is available for both iPhone and Android and is compatible with virtually all moderns smartphones.
- Available for iOS and Android.
- Completely free.
- Wide smartphone compatibility.
- It Requires location access.
- The interface could be better.
The Seek Thermal app turns your smartphone into a thermal imager, allowing you to view and capture infrared images.
When you insert the Seek Thermal Compact camera, the app starts automatically. If it doesn't, you can also launch it manually.
The image quality will depend on the kind of camera you got. If the image appears noisy and fuzzy, it's probably the camera's limitation; don't blame the app.
Some of the functions and features available in the app include capturing and sharing thermal images, palette selection, spot temperature measurement, and adjustable emissivity.
The Seek Thermal app is compatible with most smartphones running Android 4.3 and later and iOS 8.0 and later.
You can see the full list of compatible devices that the manufacturer has tested the app and camera with on their website.
For certain smartphones such as HTC and Sony, USB port design and location issues may cause issues when using the app.
For these smartphones, the manufacturer recommends using the Seek Thermal Compact camera with an adapter.
App performance is decent. We haven't seen many users complaining about crashes or freezing. What could be better is the interface.
It's a bit clunky and outdated, with features like emissivity being tedious to access.
You'll need to spend some time playing around with the app to figure out how everything works.
One major complaint from Android users is the location permission that the app requires. The company doesn't clearly explain (beyond the boilerplate statement that they need location information to improve service delivery) why they need your location.
Other permissions like storage, camera, and audio are understandable.
Overall, Seek Thermal is a good app that requires further improvement, especially in ease of u
2. Best Resolution: HTI Image
The Hti Image app works with the HT-301 smartphone thermal camera.
The HT-301 thermal camera offers a 384 x 288 resolution, adjustable manual focus, and a host of other features available through the Android app.
Apart from a few issues, the app is easy to use and works great with Android phones (Android 6 and later). Unfortunately, the manufacturer doesn't offer an iPhone app for now.
- Easy to use the app.
- High-quality thermal images and video.
- The app is entirely free.
- High-resolution photos and video.
- High refresh rate
- No iOS app.
- Some features like rotation and video recording are buggy.
- No direct app store download for Android 10 phones.
- The camera is pricey.
The best thing about the Hti Image app is how smooth and precise the images appear. Of course, this is down to the attached thermal camera, not the app.
The HT-301 smartphone thermal camera boasts a thermal resolution of 384 x 288, higher than any Seek Thermal Compact imager.
The high resolution makes for high-quality images and videos with excellent detail and contrast.
If you have many projects, whether at home or professionally, that require thermal imaging, the HT-301 camera, and the Hti Image app will meet most of your needs.
Something else you'll notice is that images are smooth. When moving your phone over a surface to examine a particular area, there's no stuttering or jerkiness. Even the videos feel almost cinematic.
The secret is the HT-301 camera's high refresh rate. At 25 Hz, it vastly outmatches the 9 Hz frame rate of the Seek Thermal compact series.
The app is decent and reasonably easy to use. Most features and settings are within easy reach.
These include temperature measurement modes, color palette adjustment, emissivity, and video/image capture, among others.
One issue reported by users is that the app sometimes crashes when you try to record a video. But this seems to affect only certain phones and Android versions.
There's also an issue – more like a minor inconvenience – for Android 10 users. The app available on Google Play is incompatible with smartphones running Android 10. You have to visit the manufacturer's website and download the APK.
Overall, the Hti Image app and the HT-301 camera combo is the best choice for those who want a high-resolution smartphone thermal camera and app.
The HT-301 camera is pricey, but it's well worth it.
The Smart Thermview app works together with the CEM T-10 Thermal Imaging Camera.
The CEM T-10 offers a decent 206 x 156 thermal resolution with a low 9 Hz refresh rate and a detection range of over 500 yards. It also provides one of the broadest fields of view among smartphone thermal cameras.
The 36-degree field of view allows you to view a wider area using your smartphone. This is handy when examining large surfaces or looking at a target from a distance.
The app is a bit basic in terms of features but offers the essential functions for non-professional users.
- The app is free.
- Wide field of view.
- Image and video recording.
- Adjustable color palettes
- No iOS app.
- App has a few bugs that affect rotation and image orientation.
- Not compatible with older Android phones.
If most of your thermal imaging needs involve examining large surfaces from a distance (e.g., ductwork or floor heating), you'll love the Smart Thermview app.
The app takes advantage of the camera's wide field of view to display a large area of the surface you are examining. This makes it easier to spot where the problem or anomaly is quick.
App features are essential but adequate for most home projects. They include palette selection, spot, line, area temperature measurement, highest and lowest temperature display, and video/image capture.
The app is available for Android smartphones only. It is compatible with phones running Android 7 and later, so users with older smartphones predating 2016 are out of luck.
iOS users will also have to look for another app, and thermal camera since the CEM T-10 lacks a companion iPhone app.
The Smart Thermview app is easy to use with a friendly interface. The only usability issues reported by users include problems with rotating the image when you turn your phone and the camera displaying upside-down images on phones where the USB port is at the top.
Tip: If your phone has the USB port at the top, try using a dongle adapter and see if that solves the problem.
If you are shopping on a budget, the PerfectPrime IR0102 Thermal Imager is one of the cheapest smartphone IR cameras.
The imager works alongside the companion IR0102 Thermal Camera Viewer Android app, giving you access to various features and options.
The image quality is not the best, so we recommend the app and camera for basic home projects.
- Cheap thermal camera.
- Free app.
- The app is easy to use.
- Photo and video capture.
- Adjustable palettes.
- Acceptable image quality.
- Inaccurate temperature measurements.
The IR0102 Thermal Camera has one of the lowest resolutions we've ever seen in a thermal imager. The 32 x 32 sensor struggles to capture subtle differences in temperature among different points on a surface.
So we recommend you temper your expectations.
The app works great, but image quality is wanting. The camera and app work best for entire home projects and fun applications like ghost hunting.
Probably because of the low-resolution sensor, the app's temperature readouts are usually inaccurate. Again, don't get the IR0102 camera if your projects require a high degree of precision.
It's also a terrible choice for long-range observation. You have to be close to see temperature differences on a surface.
Like other thermal imaging apps, the IR0102 Thermal Camera Viewer allows you to record photos and videos. You can also choose among several color palettes for better contrast on different types of surfaces.
Overall, the IR0102 camera and app are fantastic for ghost hunting, essential home repairs, and anyone looking for a cheap smartphone thermal imager.
5. Best for Home Repairs: FLIR ONE
If you want a thermal imaging app that can handle most home repair projects, we recommend FLIR ONE.
You can pair FLIR ONE with one of FLIR's smartphone thermal cameras: FLIR ONE Gen 3, FLIR ONE Pro LT, and FLIR ONE Pro.
We love these cameras because they come with an internal battery, meaning they don't drain your smartphone's juice. You can examine parts and surfaces for longer without your phone running low.
The FLIR ONE app itself is easy to use. One feature we particularly like is how it overlays visual and thermal images to enhance details.
- Good image quality.
- Image overlay feature enhances images.
- Video and image capture.
- Adjustable palettes.
The FLIR ONE thermal cameras have better resolution than the 32 x 32 IR0102 camera we've just reviewed. Gen 3, Pro LT, and Pro have a resolution of 80 x 60, 80 x 60, and 160 x 120.
You still won't get an image that's as good as that of a standalone thermal camera, but image quality is much better than other budget smartphone thermal imagers.
The contrast between different temperature zones is good, making it easier to identify the hot and cold spots. With the Pro, you can also view vivid images of objects from a fair distance.
The cameras come with MSX Technology, which overlays visual and thermal images for better detail. The photos you see on the app are better than you'd expect from an 80 x 60 thermal sensor.
You can choose between several palettes to improve contrast, take spot temperature measurements, and adjust various additional settings.
Of course, you can also take pictures and videos. They'll be stored on your smartphone.
The app is easy to use with a well laid out interface. However, FLIR has some work to do to smooth out bugs.
Many app lagging reports or outright crashing when taking specific action like recording video or rotating the phone. Usually, closing and restarting the app solves the problem, but it can be frustrating.
Overall, the FLIR ONE app is an excellent choice for homeowners who trust the performance and durability of FLIR products.
The app, paired with one of the FLIR ONE cameras, is useful for examining and diagnosing appliances, HVAC systems, your car engine, and other surfaces.
The Therm-App TH Thermographic Imaging Camera costs as much as standalone thermal imagers. That's because it is designed for professionals.
The 384 x 288-resolution sensor delivers a vivid, highly detailed image to the companion smartphone app.
For pros working in HVAC, electrical repair, and general maintenance, the Therm-App camera and app are the best on-the-go thermal imaging tools.
- Professional-grade image quality.
- High-resolution sensor.
- Adjustable color palettes.
- Image and video capture.
- Live IR video streaming.
- The camera is expensive.
- Low refresh rate.
The Therm-App TH is the best smartphone camera for professional. The high-resolution (384*288) thermal sensor allows precise and detailed observations of different surfaces.
Using the companion Android app, you can easily see temperature differences, thanks to the high-contrast image.
Another advantage of spending big bucks on a pro thermal camera like Therm-App TH is that you can observe surfaces from a distance while still maintaining good image quality.
This is handy when you want to check the temperature of a hazardous, dangerously hot or hard-to-reach surface.
The app is easy to use and offers most of the features you get with other thermal imaging apps. These include multiple palettes, spot temperature measurements and video/image capture.
One unique feature we love is the ability to stream live infrared video right from the app. This is handy if you are working as a team and want the other team members to see what you are seeing.
There are a couple of things we don’t like about Therm-App, both the camera and the app.
One is the price. If you are shopping for a budget thermal camera for your smartphone, this is not it.
The other is the refresh rate. At 8.7Hz, the refresh rate is lower than we’d expect from a thermal imager of this price.
The result is that images and videos can lag and appear jerky when you are moving your phone over a surface.
The low refresh rate also makes the Therm-App TH a bad choice for hunting and any uses where you need to observe moving targets.
For that, we recommend the Therm-App Hz, a 25 Hz refresh rate smartphone imager that also works with the Therm-App android app.
The Best IOS Thermal Imaging Apps
Most thermal imaging apps are designed for Android smartphones and tablets. Most of the iOS thermal imaging apps you'll come across don't require an attached thermal imager.
Instead, they provide a simulated infrared or night vision image.
They can help you see better in the dark by highlighting specific colors, but they will not help you spot a leak in your AC or diagnose an overheated engine.
That said, there are a few real thermal imaging apps, which we've included below.
1. Best iOS Thermal Imaging App: Seek Thermal
The Seek Thermal Compact imager for iOS offers a higher than average (compared to other smartphone thermal cameras) resolution of 206 x 156 pixels.
Combined with the long-range detection, wide temperature range and easy to use app, the Seek Thermal app and camera is the best all-round combo for iPhone users.
- Good resolution.
- Long detection range – great for hunting and outdoor applications.
- Plenty of in-app features and options.App is easy to use.
- Drains phone battery.
- You cannot adjust emissivity.
The Seek Thermal Compact imager offers enough resolution (206 x 156) for most people’s needs. If you need sharper and more detailed images, we recommend upgrading to the Compact Pro with a 320 x 240 thermal sensor.
If what you are after is detection range, get the Seek Thermal Compact XR. It boats a 206 x 156 thermal sensor and a whopping 1800 feet detection distance, making it an excellent choice for hunting.
All three imagers work with the Seek Thermal iOS app. Once you attach the thermal camera, launch the app to access all features and options.
You can choose between multiple palettes, take spot temperature measurements, and capture and share thermal images and videos.
The app is easy to use and we haven’t seen too many complaints regarding bugs and crashing from users.
Just make sure you have the right iPhone (iPhone 5 and later) and keep the app updated.
If you buy the Compact or Compact XR cameras, one feature you’ll notice is missing is the ability to adjust emissivity when measuring different surfaces. This option is available only with the Compact Pro camera.
2. Best iOS Thermal Imaging App for Home Repairs: FLIR ONE
If you have an iPhone or iPad, make sure you choose the iOS version of the FLIR ONE Gen 3 thermal camera. It pairs up with the FLIR ONE iOS app, allowing you to use your phone or tablet as the camera’s display.
- Good image quality.
- Thermal and visual image overlay improves image details.
- Internal battery – doesn’t drain your phone’s battery.
- Plenty of features and options in the app.
Image and video capture.
- Some usability issues in the app.
What we like most about FLIR ONE range of compact smartphone cameras is that they have internal batteries. This means the camera doesn’t drain your iPhone’s battery.
If you are on a budget, get the Gen 3 thermal imager. It has decent resolution (80 x 60) that’s good enough for home repairs.
For pros, we recommend the FLIR ONE Pro. It has a higher-resolution sensor (160 x 120) that provides higher quality images.
Whichever FLIR ONE camera you choose, they all work with the FLIR ONE app. The app is fairly easy to use and has tons of features and options.
You can adjust palette, measure spot temperature and record IR images and videos.
However, the app still needs some work to work smoothly. Many users report bugs and usability issues including the inability to read spot temperature because it’s too faint.
Luckily, FLIR is fixing these issues with regular updates.
The Night Vision Flashlight Thermo app doesn’t require any hardware. Simply download the app and enjoy simulated thermal vision through your iPhone’s camera.
- Improves vision in the dark.
- Super easy to use.
This Night Vision applies a filter to the normal image from your camera, making it appear like a thermal image.
The effect is not just cool; it also improves visibility in low light. The filter enhances certain colors, making it easier to see objects in the dark.
It’s also easy to differentiate between different objects on a table or on the floor.
The app includes a flashlight, so you can still see in total darkness.
The app is easy to use and completely free. The only complaint from users is that it serves too many ads, and there’s no option to buy the app or upgrade to an ad-free version.
4. Best for IR Photos and Selfies: Thermal Camera FX
If you want a cool app that takes thermal photos and selfies, get Thermal Camera FX. It produces simulated thermal images, but they look very realistic.
- Easy photo capture and sharing.
- Multiple thermal filter effects.
- Easy to use.
- Can work with the front or rear camera.
The Thermal Camera FX app takes realistic thermal-like photos. It works with both front and rear camera, so you can take a normal photo or a selfie.
You can choose from several thermal effects and share your photos from the app.
Note that this is a paid app, and the way it’s designed, it’s easy to pay for a full year’s subscription without realizing it. Do not select the 7-day free trial unless you intend to pay for the app.
The Night Vision Thermal Camera app offers three types of simulated effects: thermal, night vision and UV.
- Three camera effects.
- Easy to use app.
- Photo and video recording.
- Not all features are free.
The three camera effects are pretty realistic. The thermal effect is also useful as it can help you find objects in low light.
The effect highlights some colors, making it easier to differentiate various objects. For example, it’ easy to spot a charging cable on a desk.
The other effects are mostly for fun.
Can mobile phone cameras detect infrared?
No, mobile phone cameras only detect visual light. That’s why you need an external thermal imager to take thermal images.
Can a phone camera be used as thermal camera?
No, it cannot because it does not detect infrared light.
How good are smartphone thermal cameras for thermal images?
Not as good as standalone thermal cameras.
The optics and sensor of any smartphone thermal camera by default is limited and small, meaning it cannot have the larger, more sensitive sensors found in a standalone thermal camera.
But for home repairs, outdoor fun and everyday use, most smartphone thermal cameras are fine.
Pros will need to spend more on a dedicated thermal imaging camera with a large sensor and its own display.
But even then, some pros will find a high-end smartphone thermal camera to be a great addition to their kit for quick spot checks.