Understanding the IQOS Connect App


General Info

IQOS Connect is a free app developed by Philip Morris International (PMI). The app has been downloaded more than 100 000 times and is available for both android devices only. PMI states that the purpose of the app is “to connect your IQOS device, check its status, customize haptics and find your nearest IQOS store.” Essentially, it is supposed to a be a tool that can aid IQOS users with any concerns they have, particularly technical since the app is supposed to be able to detect when a connected IQOS device is in need of maintenance and diagnose the issue. The app also displays remaining battery charge and notifies users when their heaters and/or pocket chargers are ready for use. The app needs internet connection for some features, such as store location, device registration, e-commerce, and customer support, but can operate the rest without it. The app only works with IQOS devices that have Bluetooth capacity (2.4 Plus, 3.0, and 3.0 Multi).



Set-Up and Using the App

To download the app go to Google Play Store and search ‘IQOS Connect.’ It will appear as an app developed by Philip Morris Management SA. Once, you’ve found the official app, hit install.

The first thing you’ll be asked when you open the app is you to choose your country of residence. Strangely, only some of the countries that IQOS is sold in are listed. For example, Russia, Germany, Italy, and Japan are not options, despite IQOS being popular in those countries. There are numerous languages available (Bulgarian, Czech, English, French, German, Italian, Kazakh, Lithuanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovakian, Spanish, Ukrainian), but once again, not every region’s language is an option.

Once you’ve chosen a country and language, you must agree that you are above the legal age for sale of tobacco in our region before you can continue. If you agree, you must then agree to the Terms of Use, Privacy Notice, and App Analytics Notice (see slideshow below for full documents). The app then asks you to connect your app account to your IQOS website account with a username and password or sign up. You then have to agree to the Terms and Conditions that are set to your specific region. These include an overview of the tobacco and nicotine laws of your region and a notice that you must be legal age to register to the site.

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The next step is to register with your contact info, including full name, phone number, and address. Despite being well over the necessary legal age, our team had a difficult time being verified by the app and were rejected several times for unknown reasons. We recommend creating an account on your national IQOS website first, then logging in via the app.

Once you’ve logged in, the app will ask if you want to connect to a device and will let you choose either IQOS 2.4 Plus, 3.0, or 3.0 Multi. You will then have to turn on Bluetooth and location. Pairing the device is a 4-step process. In Step 1 a gif will play instructing you on how to pair the device and the app, by enabling the device’s Bluetooth. In Step 2 a pop-up will appear saying that the device has been located and asking if you wish to pair it. Click ‘pair.’ For Step 3, the app will need a moment to complete this process. If able to properly connect Step 4 will simply announce that the device has been paired and ask if you wish to name the device or pair another. It does not appear that there is any limit to the number of devices that you are able to pair with the app.


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When we had trouble connecting the device to the app, we called our national IQOS support line. The agent we spoke to suggested resenting the device, then trying to reconnect again. This can be done either manually by holding the power switch for a few moments until the LED indicator lights flash then go out, waiting for around 30 seconds, then powering on again, or by using the ID number located on our IQOS kit box online. We chose to manually reset. We were skeptical, but it worked!

Once the pairing process is complete you will be directed to the home screen, which will show a picture of the device you currently have paired and its charge level. If you swipe up you will see ‘Device Settings’ which will provide more information about the device, including holder status ( to access holder status, the holder needs to be in the pocket charger), error notifications and diagnostics, heating status, a device locator, codentify number, and registration status. It is in ‘Device Settings’ that you can reset the device via the app or unpair it.

In the main menu there are 6 buttons; ‘My IQOS,’ ‘App Settings,’ ‘Store Locations,’ ‘Care,’ ‘Buy HEETS,’ and ‘Profile.’

  • ‘My IQOS’: think of ‘My IQOS’ as the home button.
  • ‘App Settings’: where you can change language (but only between those offered within the region you chose, for example, we here at Heat180 are located in Canada and English and French are the only language options), choose which notifications you wish to receive, access Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and other app information, and interestingly choose whether you want your apps data to be available to PMI or not. See the section below titled ‘Controversy’ for more information.
  • ‘Store Locations’: will take you to Google Maps and show you to the nearest retail location that sells IQOS. It will show all retailers, such as convenience store and gas stations, as well as official IQOS stores. The maps sometimes take a moment to load correctly. It first detected our location as somewhere in Germany, then after approximately 20 seconds, found our actual location.
  • ‘Care’: the support section. You can choose what you need help with, either the device or the app. Once you choose, it will offer answers to common questions. There is also an option to contact IQOS by phone, email, or Twitter, if you need additional support.
  • ‘Buy HEETS’: will direct you to a page mimicing your national IQOS website. From there you can choose to purchase HEETS or IQOS devices. For HEETS, the only flavors will be those currently available within your region of residence, however there are sometimes more or different package sizes available on the app than on the website.
  • ‘Profile’: your information and the ‘Log Out’ button.

While most of the app features worked well for us, under ‘Device Settings’ we were unable to connect the holder, nor were we able to find any information about how to connect it under the ‘Care’ button. As a result, we could not access the heating status or device locator features. We once heard a claim that the app could notify users if the device was left in unsuitable environmental conditions (i.e. too cold of an area or too hot of an area), but we didn’t see this feature on ours. Perhaps, it only appears as an alert or diagnostic result or possibly it was a feature but has been removed during app updates. Let us know if you’ve seen this notification.



Controversy

Some IQOS users are untrusting of the Connect app as it is speculated that PMI introduced Bluetooth and the app as a way to monitor user data. This follows a 2018 TechInsights investigation which found that all IQOS devices contain microcontroller chips that have the ability to store user data. Currently, we don’t know whether the chips are active or not. When asked about it PMI stated “no data information from the device is linked to a specific consumer, only the device.” That doesn’t answer the question of whether the chips are in use or not, but it does raise concerns about IQOS user privacy. If the device chips are actively monitoring users, it is without their consent, meaning PMI could have violated privacy laws. This has made some users fearful of other PMI products. It only makes sense that people question whether the Connect app is also a tool to monitor data.

The app is a bit different from hidden microcontroller chips though. PMI states up-front in the Connect App Privacy Policy that the app collects data, such as holder and pocket charger serial numbers, battery use, usage patterns, and device life and admits that the data is used to perform business analytics and improve products. Users have to consent to the collection of data before being allowed access the app. If they choose not to, they are opting-out of the app. This way, PMI can collect data without raising any questions of legality.

Under ‘App Settings’ there are options to stop the sending of IQOS device data and app usage data. Under the Privacy Policy, users have a choice as to whether the data is sent or not. The app will collect it either way, but the policy specifically states that “at any time, you [the user] can stop sending the data.”



Critical Reception

Generally, the IQOS Connect app has received negative reviews. It currently has a 2.6/5 star rating on the official app page and our team has never seen it rated higher than a 3 on unofficial sites. Most users report glitches with the app causing it to crash, freeze, or continuously buffer. Others dislike that the app constantly runs in the background and report that their phone’s battery is drained much more quickly due to the app. Many users also criticise the app’s functions. Several users commented that they would like to be able to track their HeatStick usage, and possibly set limits or goals.

Despite its poor rating with users, the app is gaining alot of traction in the IQOS community. The app was launched in April of 2018, but only just hit 50 000+ downloads in January of 2019. However, exactly two months later in March of 2019, the app hit the 100 000+ download mark. This jump signifies that IQOS is becoming increasingly popular, very quickly. Its obvious that Philip Morris is trying to find way to connect with and engage IQOS users. The company also actively asks for feedback on the app and updates regularly (approximately every 2 weeks) for consistent improvement. So far, we here at Heat180, can’t say that we’ve seen significant progress, but perhaps like the IQOS brand itself, the app will improve with time.



What was your experience with the IQOS Connect App? What did you like? What did you hate? Please feel free to comment below. You can expect a reply within 24 hours.

2 Responses

  1. David says:

    Hi, the IQOS App is not available on the Apple Store, neither will it connect to an iPhone (due to Apple´s restriction on health-adverse content)

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