How to Get EOS Utility Out of the Way

Canon EOS cameras do not tolerate when more than one app tries to talk to them over USB. They don’t even give a beep, just silently start operating erratically. This isn’t new, this behavior is present from the dawn of the EOS system.

And yet large manufacturers are routinely caught red handed, keeping a connection to your camera when no one asked. With serious consequences. This arrogant behavior frustrates the hell out of me – imagine solving a user’s problem when he has a pile of these apps on his machine…

To make things worse, Apple had removed the ability to detect such an interference in macOS 10.12, and thus we are unable to pinpoint culprits the way we did in the past.

I already wrote about how to prevent Apple’s Photos from automatically launching when you connect a camera (you can find a longer version in my Kuuvik Capture Inside Out eBook).

This is EOS Utility’s turn. It was a great citizen that coexisted nicely with other camera control apps for years, but recent versions started to do naughty things.

I recommend against installing any Canon software in the first place, unless you have a very strong reason to do so. Don’t get me wrong, I love Canon’s cameras and several lenses – it’s extremely good at making these things. But its apps always were, and still are, sub-par. You can get markedly better results (in terms of image quality, user interface, functionality, power consumption, etc.) with proper third party apps. 

For a long time EOS Utility was a single app. But recently it’s been split into three: EOS Utility 3 for new cameras, EOS Utility 2 for older ones, and a shell around those, which is now called EOS Utility (formerly this was a separate utility for Wi-Fi pairing). The problem child is the latter, EOS Utility, which thinks it has a right to always run and talk to your cameras – without your consent. Start it once, and you need to run extra miles to get it out of the way. These extra steps are the topic of this post.

Once started, the EOS Utility shell’s icon appears on the menu bar. Right-click the icon, choose Quit, and you may think it’s gone. Well, until you start your computer next time.

This is because it created a startup item. But fortunately this item can be removed easily in System Preferences. Go into Users & Groups, and then click Login Items. You’ll see something like the screen below.

Click the line with the EOS Utility item, and click the minus sign below the list. And while you are here, it’s a good practice to remove other suspicious/unwanted items.

If you need to use EOS Utility over USB, I recommend to start the separate EOS Utility 2 or 3 apps instead of this shell. This way you can avoid both unwanted interference as well as doing this cleanup procedure over and over again.

Canon Wi-Fi Pairing for Beginners

This post is about what you need to do on the camera to pair it to my ShutterCount, ShutterCount Mobile and Kuuvik Capture apps over Wi-Fi.

Why? Because Canon’s cumbersome and ill-designed Wi-Fi user interface is accompanied with an equally bad user guide (the dreaded Wi-Fi Function Instruction Manual). People are struggling with the camera side of the process, and my goal is to help them to overcome the pairing hurdle.

Nevertheless, I recommend everyone to take a look on that manual. First, because some topics, such as entering passwords, are covered there, and second, because you’ll appreciate our simple pairing process (and this post) compared to what Canon has to offer.

Assumptions

  • I expect you to follow this guide step-by-step. If something is not clear, re-read. If still not clear, ask.
  • Your camera has Wi-Fi. You’d be surprised how many people want to connect a Wi-Fi-less camera over Wi-Fi… Newer models have a built-in transceiver, but the 5DS, 5DS R and 7D Mark II requires the optional W-E1 card. Similarly, the 5D Mark III and 7D Mark II will work with the WFT-E7 brick.
  • You have a local Wi-Fi network and your device running ShutterCount or Kuuvik Capture (iPhone, iPad or Mac) is connected to that Wi-Fi. While other configurations (such as camera-created network, and device-created network) are also possible, these are not for beginners. So I assume that both your device and camera will be connected to the same, existing network.
  • You read the camera’s user manual at least partly, and know how to enter a Wi-Fi password for example.
  • You know how your Wi-Fi network is configured, have a password for it, or have the person who manages your network at hand.
  • The camera must be paired directly to our apps. No Canon software should be running. You must quit all Canon apps (as well as others that may connect to your camera) before attempting a pairing, as they will almost certainly cause trouble.
  • If it does not work, you are doing something wrong. Or have a faulty hardware (unlikely, but happens). Not joking. Every single “does not work” case over the years boiled down to these causes. So read again and ask.

In the App

You have to do only one thing in the app: put it into pairing mode.

  • On iOS tap Connect and tap New Camera Pairing…
  • On a Mac click Wi-Fi and Ethernet Pairing… in the ShutterCount (or Kuuvik Capture) menu. Or press F2.

That’s it. The app will automatically come out of pairing mode once the camera is successfully connected.

On the Camera

Different Canons have different Wi-Fi configuration screens. Most new ones have a consistent user interface, but still, there are minor variations. To avoid a hundred page post detailing each camera model separately, I’ll describe the common process, pointing out differences (this is denoted by /a and /b after the step’s number).

The Wi-Fi menu is called either Wireless communication setting or Built-in wireless settings (and is tucked under Communication settings). Older models, and the W-E1 card doesn’t have a top-level Wi-Fi menu item, just Wi-Fi function.

The paring process have four phases: preparation, mode selection, network connection and finally the actual pairing.

Phase 1 : Preparation

This phase is about preparing the camera for using a Wi-Fi connection. Since I don’t want to deal with any previously created configuration mess, you’ll need to reset the camera’s Wi-Fi configuration to the factory default.

Step 1/a : Cameras having either a Wireless communication settings or Built-in wireless settings menu, the Clear settings item is on that menu.

Step 1/b : Older models hide the clear function in a different place: go into the Wi-Fi function menu and press the INFO key. The resulting General sett. screen will have it. Note that the camera’s network (MAC) address is also displayed here. If you use MAC address filtering on your Wi-Fi, you should enable access for this address.

After the reset you can begin setting up the camera: besides enabling Wi-Fi, you may need to give it a nickname.

Step 2 : First choose Wi-Fi settings (or Wi-Fi/NFC settings) from the menu.

Step 3 : Choose Enable to enable Wi-Fi support. Be aware that enabling Wi-Fi may disable the USB port on the camera, so if USB stops working after this, you need to come back here and disable Wi-Fi. NFC is not supported on Apple devices, so I recommend to turn it off when your camera has that option.

Step 4 : The camera may ask for a nickname. There’s no other option here, but to confirm that you will provide one. It doesn’t matter what the actual nickname is. Our apps does not use it for anything at the moment. I usually recommend to accept what the camera offers.

Phase 2 : Mode Selection

Canon cameras offer a bunch of different network communication modes, and only one of those is suitable for our apps. Choosing a wrong one is a recipe for connection failure.

Step 5 : Choose Wi-Fi function to begin. Note that the location of the Wi-Fi function menu differs from camera generation to generation.

Step 6 : You must choose Remote control (EOS Utility), even if the app is running on an iPhone or iPad. The camera will think it’s talking to EOS Utility, when in reality it will talk to our apps. Pressing the INFO button on this screen will show the network (MAC) address of your camera. If you use MAC address filtering on your Wi-Fi, you should enable access for this address.

Step 7 : Newer devices will show you this screen. Since you are connecting for the first time, choose Register a device for connection. Later on, you can recall specific settings here to quickly re-connect with different apps on different devices (but that’s a topic for another post). If the screen is skipped by the camera, don’t worry.

Phase 3 : Network Connection

Newer Canons create a Wi-Fi network by default. You should never ever use this one for anything. Really. It’s extremely slow, unreliable crap. You’ll want to select your good old, existing Wi-Fi network.

Step 8/a : On newer Canons, choose Switch network at this point.

Step 8/b : Older models will present the Connection method screen, where you should choose the Select a network option. Even more older ones will call the Select a network option as Infrastructure mode. On these more older cameras you will also need to choose Find network on the subsequent screen.

Step 9 : Choose your existing Wi-Fi in the next step. Forget about Camera access point mode (described just above) and WPS/PBC. Choose the network your iPhone, iPad or Mac is connected to. A word of caution though. Canon’s Wi-Fi implementation is unable to handle Wi-Fi roaming (that is when you have multiple Wi-Fi access points in the house). Each access point will appear as a different network here, and chances are that the camera will pick a wrong one even if you are selected the correct one. Try the pairing procedure close to each access point to see which one the camera sticks to if you experience connection issues.

Step 10 : Older models will bother you with a question about the key format. I’ve never seen a Wi-Fi network in my entire career that hasn’t used a textual password, and Canon also realized the uselessness of this option and eliminated it from newer cameras. But you should choose Enter 8-63 ASCII characters if the camera insists.

Step 11 : Enter the password for your Wi-Fi network. Again, if you use MAC address filtering, you will need to allow access for the camera’s MAC address, otherwise this screen will not appear or the password will not be accepted.

Step 12 : Choose Auto setting to get the IP address (and other basic networking parameters) from your router automatically. Just line your phone does.

Phase 4 : Pairing

If you made it this far, the camera is now successfully connected to the Wi-Fi network and can start communication with the app. If not, the problem is with your Wi-Fi network or camera, not our apps.

Step 13 :  This is a “this page is left blank intentionally” kind of screen… Choose OK.

Step 14 : The camera now entered pairing mode. If you haven’t done so, put ShutterCount or Kuuvik Capture into pairing mode. Don’t let the message fool you, do not start EOS Utility – it’s not needed, and would just cause trouble. The camera will think that it talks to EOS Utility when it talks to our apps.

Step 15 : This last screen confirms that the camera found the app. Choose OK and enjoy the app! Again, don’t let the message fool you. The camera seems to think that everything is a PC. If your camera prompts for saving the newly created Wi-Fi settings at this point, choose SET1.

Bob’s your uncle – as the British say. Normally the pairing process should be done once, and the next time you use the same app on the same device, it will re-connect to the camera (if Wi-Fi is active). Change the device or even the app, and a re-paring has to be done. But this is a topic for another day.

Spring Has Finally Arrived

After a long winterless winter, spring is finally here. There wasn’t too much to photograph in the last five months, so I spent that time adding neat new features to my existing apps, as well as building a new one.

Curious Bearded Reedling

If you are as curious as this bird, you don’t have to wait too much. All will be revealed in the coming months.

ShutterCount 3.3 Released

The latest release of my ShutterCount app is now available on the App Store. Version 3.3 brings Wi-Fi pairing enhancements, updates the camera firmware version database for the Plus Pack and adds home screen quick action support. Let’s begin with this one.

The app provides the three shortcuts you see on the screen shot.

Camera Pairing brings up the pairing screen immediately, no need to go though the usual “tap Connect”, “tap New Camera Pairing” steps.

History and Graph will open the corresponding tab with the camera list.

You may also have a fourth element for sharing (spreading the word about) the app, which iOS places automatically to the shortcut list.

These shortcuts are available on iPhone models having 3D Touch capability.

Regarding Wi-Fi and Ethernet connected cameras, we’ve made enhancements and the app now recognizes cameras up to 2x faster. It is especially noticeable when you connect the same camera regularly.

These enhancements are also allow us to detect when someone attempts pairing in the wrong pairing mode.

ShutterCount requires the EOS Utility connection mode, as the Smartphone Connect mode is rather limited and doesn’t provide a way to query the counters.

But this is different from what people are used to do on their mobile devices, and despite the guidance in the app and the Getting Started Guide, we had several cases where users unsuccessfully wrestled with the unsuitable connection mode. Now you’ll know immediately if you mis-selected the mode.

Both enhancements (faster connection and the warning) are also available in the Mac version.

Version 3.3 is a free update for existing users on both operating systems. New users can purchase the app in the respective App Store. Live View Pack and Plus Pack are available as in-app purchases.