Setting up controller via computer (without phone)


I have a situation where I would like to suggest someone use a Rachio controller for their new system, but they don’t have a smartphone. They do have wifi at home and a computer. Is it possible to do the setup of a Rachio controller version 2 or 3 entirely with a computer and no smartphone? Or version 1 once the smartphone is used to set the wifi login info?


You’d need a smartphone at the very least through the initial setup. Once initially setup though, a computer could be used to fully control the controller through the website at

There are several choices:

Cheap Android phones are often sold at subsidized prices, locked to a prepaid carrier. Most of these will work on Wi-Fi and can install apps, without activation. Here’s a $25 example

but most big box stores will have one on sale for $20 or less. There are many other uses for devices like this.

Or, have a friend come over and use his phone to establish the Wi-Fi connection and add the controller to your account. He can then delete the app and you can do further setup and control from any web browser.

Or configure Wi-Fi from your browser; see @zachio 's post here Wont work with iPhone 11 & iOS 13.4.0 then ask a friend (anywhere in the world) to add the controller for you.

I hope that someone will post the API call for adding a controller; initial setup without a smartphone would be very useful.

As far as I know, android phones, similar to iphones, need to be activated before they provide even basic functionality needed to install apps and go through the setup. There seem to be some workarounds for this, but I can’t comment on their effectiveness.

Without an iphone, setup via curl (link), through instructions linked to by @Stewart is the best bet to get started.

Keep in mind that, as far as I know, there is no way to adapt the controller via these instructions alone. You may need to contact Rachio support in order to add the controller to your account before the setup / configuration can be completed over the website.

One thing to note, those curl commands will only get a Rachio 3 added to a network but will not add it to an account. I don’t think/know if those apis are available publicly, so a device would still be needed initially to get the controller added to an account. Those curl commands only work for the R3 too and will have no effect on a generation 1 or 2 of the controller.

I’ve never encountered this issue, though I have heard it’s a problem for a few phones. For the particular phone offer I linked, under “customer questions and answers” we have:
Q. Do i have to activate to use just wifi?
A. No, you do not have to activate to use just Wi-Fi. This is exactly what I use it for Lol! Just set up a Google account like with any other android device.

However, do you know whether (after using cURL to set up Wi-Fi) the process of linking a controller to an account requires the app to talk directly to the controller (as opposed to the back end)? If not, which I assume is the case because the linking will survive a factory reset, then the easy solution is for the user to just call a buddy and ask him/her to install the app, log in, add the controller and delete the app.

1 Like