How to: Set up the mBlock Blockly app

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In addition to the desktop mBlock software for personal computers and laptops, MakeBlock has released an app for iOS and Android so that you can use tablets and mobile devices to control the mBot. The mBlock app is a game-based programming app which challenges students to write progressively more difficult code. There is also the option to create code in a block-based programming environment right in the app and then to upload the program to the mBot via Bluetooth.

Downloading the mBlock Blockly app

You can download the mBlock Blockly app for iOS and Android from the Makeblock website: or from the App Store or Google Play store.

Upgrading Firmware

As additional features are added to Makeblock software and hardware, you may need to upgrade firmware.

  1. Connect the mBot to the computer using the USB cable and turn on power to the mBot.
  2. Open mBlock and connect to the mBot. Click the Connect menu -> Serial Port and select the last port.
  3. Next, click the Connect menu -> Upgrade Firmware. The firmware upgrade will start automatically.
  4. When the upgrade is finished, you can disconnect the mBot.

Did you know?

You can use the mBlock Blocky app even without internet connection.

Connecting to the mBot via Bluetooth

The mBlock app communicates with the mBot using Bluetooth. To connect your device to your mBot:

  1. Make sure Bluetooth is enabled on your device and that the mBot is powered on.
  2. The app may prompt you to connect or you may notice an ‘unlinked’ icon in the top right corner of the app (if so, click on the icon).
  3. The app will prompt you to bring the device close to the mBot. The device and the mBot should link automatically.

If the device and the mBot do not link automatically, check that the mBot is turned on and that Bluetooth has been enabled on the device. If this does not work, then try upgrading the firmware.

Using the app

There are two primary features of the app that may be of interest: 1) game-based coding challenges and 2) a programming environment.

Game-based coding challenges

If you click on the mBot option in the app, you are given a series of guided coding challenges.

There are step-by-step instructions that will guide you through progressively more difficult challenges and will show you more features of what the mBot can do.

Programming environment

To access the in-app programming environment, click the ‘create’ icon.

The programming environment in the app should look familiar if you’ve used mBlock or Scratch. However, be aware that it is a little different. Because it is block-based coding, you’ll likely be able to jump in by reading carefully and learning through trial and error. The game-based coding challenges are a good way to learn more about this in-app programming environment.