Philips Hue App Gets a Major Update

Posted on May 29, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Smart Home with 15 Comments

The Philips Hue app for Android and iOS just received its biggest update in over two years, adding a pleasant-looking new user experience and improved smarts.

“The Philips Hue app delivers a new look-and-feel and convenient shortcuts, so you can adjust your Philips Hue smart lighting in a few simple taps,” Signify, the makers of Philips Hue, notes. “Use the new color pickers feature or 30 new scenes to transform your lighting into an extraordinary experience.”

If you’re familiar with the app already, this update represents a major change. It looks different, prettier, but it also works better.

As before, the opening Home screen is arranged by room, and you can toggle all of the lights in a room together and adjust their brightness.

When you select a room, you’re presented with each of the lights it contains, and they can now be configured individually. That works as before, too, it’s just nicer looking.

But now you can more easily select from a longer list of available scenes—essentially multi-light color schemes; Signify says there are now over 30—or pick the exact color you want by light (or in groups) using a color picker.

Aside from the look and feel, the biggest change here is that the app remembers your past selections so that you can more easily call up scenes or colors you’ve used previously. That’s an obvious addition in retrospect, and is very useful.

Philips Hue is available for free from the Google Play Store or, for iOS devices, from Apple’s App Store.


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Comments (15)

15 responses to “Philips Hue App Gets a Major Update”

  1. evox81

    A welcome change on my S8+, so I hate to be the fanboy... But Huetro for Hue on Windows/Phone was/is still better.

  2. Scott Ross

    I bought a house in the last six months and my gift to myself was outfitting the whole house with hue bulbs. I have mostly warm amber bulbs but a few colors around the house for holidays. I can't wait to get home and try this.

    One thing I hope this update fixes is when power goes out and then comes back on the light comes back at full, fast. I heard rumors that it was something phillips was looking into.

    • evox81

      In reply to SRRLX1986:

      I can't imagine they would change that behavior. The stated intent of that behavior was if someone puts them on a light switch, they expect the light to come on when they flip the switch. The power outage "issue" is just an unintended consequence of that decision. I mean, I'm with you, but don't see them changing it.

      • MikeGalos

        In reply to evox81:

        Personally, I expect a bulb to come on to how I have it configured. If I have it set for 80% intensity at 6500K color temperature to match my monitors' white balance for example, that's what I expect to see when I turn the switch on. After all, a big part of intelligent lighting is to be able to choose what default I want and not the hardware vendor's choice.

      • Paul Thurrott

        In reply to evox81:

        It's certainly something that could be a configurable option.

        • MikeGalos

          In reply to paul-thurrott:

          Maybe not. Having the intelligence in the controller rather than in the bulb itself makes starting up the bulb a problem. The bulb has to have a value already stored in the bulb at start-up since the process needs to be something like:

          1. Switch physical power on
          2. Bulb requests initial values from controller
          3. Controller identifies bulb, validates it, looks up current value and communicates it to bulb
          4. Bulb receives value from controller, sets value, lights appropriate LEDs to set values

          That's, of course, simplified since there need to be various security handshakes but it is a time consuming process. And then there's the issue of what the bulb should do if the controller isn't online yet in the case of returning from a black-out condition.

          That's not saying the architecture of a controllerless system doesn't have issues as well. It has problems with restoring from a changed value if the change happened when the bulb was physically powered off but it can restore to a last-known value or a default value (which could be a configurable option)

  3. winlonghorn

    This looks much better. I will test it when I get home from work tonight.

  4. Skolvikings

    Have we always been able to connect to our lights remotely through the cloud?

  5. Michael

    Would be very interested but have heard that LED lights are a serious health danger. I hope by posting a sample link that someone can point out its flaws.

    • Paul Thurrott

      In reply to Michael:

      This doesn't seem super-credible to me. If this is a blue light issue, one benefit of color smart lights is that you can literally change the lighting hue to be warmer. In fact, if you look at the living room tile in that shot, you'll see two colors: Blue, which is the TV backlight, and a warmer color that is a lamp.

    • uSlackr

      In reply to Michael:

      Same site has a lot of bad things to say about vaccinations and support homeopathic medicine. So caveat emptor.

      As for flaws in this article, There is a lack of links to science studies on other sites that support his theory. And the reference at the end to his "30 tip plan" to take control of your health turns this into marketing material - not science.

      • evox81

        In reply to uSlackr:

        Wait, you mean citing your sources, when all of those sources are just a series of cross-linked articles on your own website isn't scientifically valid?

  6. MikeGalos

    Well, that's a start in Philips catching up with LIFX. They still have the problems of requiring a centralized, single point of failure hardware hub and their bulbs only going to half the brightness that the LIFX system provides. But, it's always nice to see competition improving an industry.

  7. zorb56

    I rarely open the app since I have Hue dimmer switches, Alexa, motion sensors, and other goodies to control my lights, but I don't have one of these things to turn on my front porch light. Opened the app and was shocked that it looked respectable! Much improved! Downside: The Hue Labs section is still just a web wrapper...