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Using HomeKit Adaptive Lighting with Philips Hue

14th November 2020

Jacob Woolcock

In this short tutorial I’ll show you how you set up and use the brand new HomeKit Adaptive Lighting feature in iOS 14 on iPhone and iPad with the Philips Hue bulbs. This works for both White Ambience and Colour Ambience bulbs, as long as you have a Hue Hub v2 or later. You’ll also need to have a HomeKit hub set up in your home, which could be an Apple TV, a HomePod, a HomePod Mini or an iPad. With that set up you’ll be able to program your lights to change colour gradually through the day, based on the time and your current location. That means you’ll have warmer lights in the early mornings and evenings and cooler, more energetic lights in the middle of the day. It’s like Night Shift on your phone, but for your lights!

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Video Transcript

Here’s a quick guide to getting started using HomeKit Adaptive Lighting with your Philips Hue Bulbs.

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So HomeKit Adaptive Lighting is a new feature in iOS 14 but it has to be supported by the manufacturers of smart bulbs as well.

Philips Hue have just come out with their solution for this and a new update to their firmware will let you use this Adaptive Lighting feature.

Here’s how you can get started.

So first of all we need to use the Philips Hue App and do a software update.

So we’ll tap on the Settings, scroll down and go to Software Update.

From here it will take a moment or two to check.

It should come up with the update for the Bridge (and this is any of the bridges from the second generation onwards so any of the square shaped Philips Hue bridges).

The update number ends in 070 and you’re going to tap Update to install that onto your Bridge device.

You’ll know it’s worked because then in the list of up-to-date devices you should see Hue Bridge with a little green tick sign next to it.

It might take a little bit of time to update your device, so maybe grab a coffee while this is happening!

Next up we want to go into the Home App – so this is Apple’s own Home App.

And when you open this you should now get a new screen as long as your Bridge is up to date.

If you’re not seeing that screen pop up it might be because you haven’t got a HomeKit Hub configured for your Home yet.

This could be an Apple TV, a HomePod, a HomePod Mini or an iPad.

Get that HomeKit Hub set up and the Adaptive Lighting feature should work for you.

On this screen you’re going to be invited to set up the Adaptive Lighting that you just installed and you can choose which bulbs you want this to apply to.

So if you’re not completely sure, Adaptive Lighting will change the colour of your bulbs throughout the course of the day.

They’ll start off in the morning a bit warmer and as the sun comes up until you get to midday or so they’ll get cooler and cooler.

And then as the evening progresses the lights will start to gradually warm up automatically for you as well.

I’m going to go and just double check that all of the bulbs in my house are selected and when they are I’m going to proceed.

This will now turn on the Adaptive Lighting feature by default on all of these bulbs and we can check it’s working by tapping and holding to edit one of those light fixtures.

Where you normally go and change the brightness and the colour and you should see in that preset selection of colours at the bottom the very first one has a new icon where it kind of goes from light blue to an orangey colour.

That’s the icon for the Adaptive Lighting.

That’s all you need to do inside the Home App.

You can use this in Automations and Shortcuts as well.

This will now change the colour of your lights as the day goes on.

You’ll start the day with a nice warm colour in the mornings as the day goes on you’ll get that more energising blue and white light.

Finally, as the evening comes in you’ll start to get the warm glow as well.

It’s a really simple thing to set up and I’m excited to see what difference it makes to me in my Home when these lights get working.

The only problem I’ve found so far are with the Dimmer Switches that Philips Hue make.

So when you press the button on these it will automatically go to a set colour in the Philips Hue App, not the Adaptive Lighting in the Home App.

Now I wonder if this might be addressed in a Software Update in the future for the Philips Hue App itself, but in the meantime the best solution I’ve found is to go back into the Philips Hue App where you can program those switches.

Go to the accessory view and choose a switch you want to edit.

From here I’ve changed the first button tap on all of my switches to resume back to the last powered on state.

So that means whatever the bulbs are doing before they were turned off it will go back to that mode.

Hopefully it will have been in Adaptive Lighting mode before they were turned off, so that means when I press it on again it will straight away jump back into Apple Home’s new solution.

I’m sure this will get ironed out in a future update as I say, but for now HomeKit Adaptive Lighting is up and running with Philips Hue bulbs.

Go and check it out!

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