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How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

Jason Fitzpatrick is the Editor in Chief of LifeSavvy, How-To Geek’s sister site focused life hacks, tips, and tricks. He has over a decade of experience in publishing and has authored thousands of articles at Review Geek, How-To Geek, and Lifehacker. Jason served as Lifehacker’s Weekend Editor before he joined How-To Geek. Read more.

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

If you want to give the illusion that you’re home when you’re really on vacation, your Phillips Hue smart bulbs now have a “presence mimicking” feature that makes crafting the illusion dead simple.

Historically, it was a wee bit of a pain to configure your Hue lights to mimic a whole house presence. Early on you had to either rely on third party workarounds or laboriously create your own list of timers for all your different lights. Now, however, the presence mimicking Labs feature is out of beta and built right into the Hue experience. It’s so simple to use that you can set up your whole pseudo-randomized light system in a matter of minutes.

To follow along, you’ll need a Hue lighting system with at least 1 bulb, a bridge running updated firmware, and the newest version of the Hue app for either Android or iOS. To save on frustration, take a moment to check your respective app store to ensure you’re running the most current software, and check if the app has any time-to-update-your-bridge alerts waiting for you.

With everything updated and ready, setting a randomized vacation timer is a snap. Simply open up the Hue application on your mobile device. Using the bottom navigation bar, select the entry for “Routines”.

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

Within the Routines menu, select “Other routines”.

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

Within the “Other routines” menu, tap on the circle with the + symbol in the lower right corner to create a new routine.

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

Once you enter into the routine creation screen, you’re in the thick of it, and all the settings are packed together pretty closely. Give you routine a name, like “Vacation Lights”. Select the time you wish the anchor the routine to. We recommend picking a time that’s about 45-60 minutes before sunset, that way your house isn’t dark for an hour before there’s any light activity.

You also need to check off which days you want the light routine to trigger. In most cases, the best solution is to check all the days of the week and then simply turn the routine on and off when you go on vacation and when you get back. If you have a more fixed schedule though, like if your work takes you away from home every Friday-through-Monday, then it probably makes more sense for you to leave the routine on all the time and simply check off the days you’re away from home—then you won’t forget to turn it on.

Finally, and this is key to the whole “presence mimicking” routine, you need to check toggle “Random times” on.

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

By default, the lights are set to turn on instantly (the “Fade: Instant” default), and we recommend you leave them that way as instant on mimics real human use. You can also, optionally, toggle the “Adjustment amount” setting. The adjustment amount is the amount of time before or after the set start time the lights will turn on. The smaller the amount, the closer to the set time the lights will activate, the larger the amount the higher degree of variability between the set time and the time the lights activate.

At this point, scroll down in the settings to the “What should happen?” entry. Select “Where?” to select which lights will activate.

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

Here, you can select your lights one of two ways. You can select the entire house by checking off “Home”, or you can select (up to 4) individual rooms. What your select is a personal preference, but in our case, because the most realistic mimicry of our usual light usage would be to have the lights off downstairs and the lights on upstairs, we opted to pick the four most frequently used rooms on the upper floor. We recommend you pick the rooms that match how you normally use your home to give it the most realistic appearance.

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

Once you select the lights you want, tap the small arrow in the upper left corner to return to the previous menu. There you have one last round of decisions to make. Scroll down beneath the “Where?” selection you just made and you’ll find the option to toggle what lighting “scene” plays in each room or throughout the home as the lighting is triggered. The default is “Bright”, and we recommend sticking with it—you can save the disco effect for another project.

The real important setting here is “Turn room(s) off at”, however, as it doesn’t look very realistic if your lights turn on and stay on for a week. Select a time you wish the lights to turn off and, just like the turn on time, this turn off time will be randomly selected for each area with a +/- variable based on the “Adjustment” amount you selected in the previous section. Again, mimicking your regular routine is best—so we set the lights to randomly turn off within thirty minutes before or after 11:30, matching our regular late-evening behavior.

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

Once you’ve made this final selection, simply select “Save” in the upper right corner. You’ll see your new routine in the routine list.

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

By default the routine will be on, so simply toggle it off if you’re not quite on vacation yet or leave it on if you’re headed out the door. Anytime you need realistic and pseudo-randomized home lighting to create the illusion that someone is home, just open up the Hue app and flip the switch.

Craig Lloyd is a smarthome expert with nearly ten years of professional writing experience. His work has been published by iFixit, Lifehacker, Digital Trends, Slashgear, and GottaBeMobile. Read more.

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

Maybe you want to turn off your Philips Hue lights after a certain amount of time has passed, or have them blink as a reminder. Whatever your needs, here’s how to set a timer for your Philips Hue lights to have them automatically turn on or off after a specified amount of time.

Why Set a Timer?

There are many reasons why you might want to set a timer for your lights. Maybe you’re cooking with a sleeping baby in the house and you don’t want your traditional timer to ring loudly when it hits zero. In that case, you can set your kitchen lights to blink, or even change them to a different color to let you know that your brownies are done.

You can also set a timer if you want to be more strict with your free time, either for yourself or for your kids. Say you want to only give your kids 15 minutes to read comic books. You can have the lights in that room blink after 15 minutes (or shut off entirely if you want to be cruel). Or, maybe you know you’re going to fall asleep reading, so you want your lights to automatically turn off in a half hour or so.

Essentially, you can use your Philips Hue lights as sort of a silent alternative to loud timers and provide you with a visual alert rather than an audible one. If this sounds like something you’re interested in, here’s how to set it up.

How to Set a Timer for Your Philips Hue Lights

Start off by opening up the Hue app on your smartphone and tapping the “Routines” tab down at the bottom of the screen.

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

On the “Routines” page, select the “Timers” option.

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

On the “Timers” page, tap the round “+” button in the bottom-right corner.

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

Give your timer a name at the top.

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

Below that, select how long the timer will last. In other words, select the amount of time that you want to elapse before your lights do something.

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

Next, tap the “Where” option.

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

On the “Where” page, select the room that you want to control. Unfortunately, you can’t select individual bulbs. When you’ve made your selection, tap the back arrow in the top-left corner.

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

A new section named after the room you selected appears below the “Where” option. Tap that to configure what you want to happen with the lights.

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

You can either have the lights blink, turn them on or off, or select other scenes that you’ve created yourself.

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

After selecting the action, tap “Save” in the top-right corner.

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

Your new timer appears in the list and starts automatically. The “Timers” screen shows how much time is left before the action is performed. Tap “Stop” to cancel the timer if you want to.

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

If you do hit “Stop”, the timer resets completely. Unfortunately, there’s no way to pause a timer. To delete a timer, just swipe left on it and tap the “Delete” button that appears.

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

Mar 8, 2017 · 6 min read

It’s not just about connecting everything (especially not toasters!) but rather helping the user do less and have a more flawless, stressless and possibly handsfree day. And making home a more comfortable, comforting and secure place.

One great hit product of the smart home market is the Philips Hue light bulb, which delivers great possibilities of automation and adaptability. As smart lightning (along with energy) is one of smart home users’ main expectation (for 50% of them according to a GFK study), it’s natural that this product plays a central role in our smart home.

Let’s review 3 original and useful ways for you to automate your Philips Hue (thanks to your Prota hub) and greatly improve your smart home experience.

With a constantly rising number of connected devices and interconnected services, notifications are becoming overwhelmingly present and disturb the simplification purpose of technology.

A great way to avoid this would be to have a better management of notifications. For instance, visual notifications, simple and not too disturbing, that do not require neither special attention nor any action (such as looking at your phone).

In that regard, your Philips Hue can be a great partner! A simple storyline written on Stories app with a Hue bulb installed at your desk lamp could help you save a lot of time. Here are some suggestions of applications.

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

Let’s find out how you can create those.

  • Email Notification: Pair your Prota with your email address via the Email app. Choose your email address as sensor of your storyline and set the event’s condition as “sender — equal to — address of your boss”.

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

  • Bluetooth detection: once you’ve registered someone’s smartphone bluetooth, you can automate a storyline based on their presence. Scan it via the Blue Tag app. Choose “Bluetooth Device” as sensor and “is recognized” as event.

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

  • Motion detection: plugging a webcam to your Prota not only makes it a great surveillance system, it also detects any motion passing in front of it. Choose “Webcam” as sensor and “detects some motion” as event.
    Add an AND element and set it for before 7PM.

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

  • Slack notification: connect your Prota to your slack account by following our Slack guide. You can now choose “Slack” as a sensor and as an event receiving a message from a specific person or channel

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

  • WeMo turned on: follow the On/Off app guide to set up your WeMo switch. Select your WeMO switch as sensor and set the event as “is turned on”.

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

For all those storylines, the Actor should be your Philips Hue (once you’ve downloaded and installed the app).
Choose as action “is set to RGB of (. ) with the brightness of ?”. The conditions set for RGB will determine the color.

Each Red, Green and Blue value must be a number between 0 and 255. To set it to red, you can for instance define
RED = 255
GREEN = 0
BLUE = 0

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

PINK = 255, 182, 193
BLUE = 0, 0, 255
GREEN = 0, 255, 0
ORANGE = 255, 165, 0

That’s it! Now your Philips Hue lamp can warn you about the important notifications and remove the time-consuming action of checking your phone.

You can easily adapt this depending on your specific needs with our many Prota apps and devices and all the services and devices supported by IFTTT.

Timers make this terrible sound that make you tense in a second. Why not creating a soft version with a light timer, which makes a great stressless alternative.

For your power naps, why not setting up an automated wake up with your Hue light bulb.
You can, for instance, create a Telegram bot to which you send “nap” at the beginning of your nap. It will wake you up with soft lightning 20 minutes later.

Set up the storyline as follow:

Choose your TelegramBot (check here how to set it up) as sensor and set the event to “receive a message” with a condition the text “Nap”.

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

Add as “extra option” a Duration of 20 minutes that will be equivalent to the delay between the message and the light turning on.

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

Then simply add as Actor-story your room’s Hue Light turning on.

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

You can adapt this concept to many other use cases. Why not using it as a kitchen timer when you’re baking something, to let you know when your one-hour yoga session is over or instead of a TelegramBot use a bluetooth button that starts the timer when you press on it.

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

Why not teaching your Philips Hue to give you essential information in the morning as soon as you wake up, for instance the weather forecast of the day?

Setting up your visual weather assistant

Download the Weather app and set it up as explained here.

  • Start your Storyline by adding the time you wake up and want to see the notification with the scheduler feature (we set it here to 7AM on weekdays).
  • Then add an AND field and add the weather app with the condition “clear weather today”

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

  • Simply set as Action your Hue light to turn on a specific color that will tell you what kind of weather there will be (for instance yellow for clear, blue for rain, grey for covered etc.)

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

You can also very well trigger this kind of storyline with your Amazon Alexa via IFTTT by a simple voice command.

If you’re interested in integrating smart lights into your house, don’t forget to check out our latest Instructables to make a bedside lightning remote.

Craig Lloyd is a smarthome expert with nearly ten years of professional writing experience. His work has been published by iFixit, Lifehacker, Digital Trends, Slashgear, and GottaBeMobile. Read more.

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

If you have a Wi-Fi cam (like the Nest Cam) set up for security, it’s one thing to catch any perps on video. But it’s also a good idea to scare them away by having lights automatically turn on when any burglars are detected.

Of course, you could use motion sensors connected to your smart lights, but if you don’t have those and already have a Wi-Fi cam set up, you can use that as your motion sensor of sorts—as long as you also have some smart lights (like Philips Hue, for instance).

To make this happen, we’ll be using a service called If This Then That (IFTTT), which uses “applets” to connect different products and services together in order to perform all sorts of automated tasks.

If you haven’t used IFTTT before, check out our guide to getting started for info on how to create an account and connect apps and services. Then, come back here to create the necessary recipe.

We’ll be using Philips Hue lights and a Nest Cam for this tutorial, but this can also be done for a handful of other products, as long as they’re supported by IFTTT.

Start by heading to IFTTT’s home page and click “My Applets” at the top of the page after logging in.

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

Next, click on “New Applet” off to the right.

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

Click on “This” highlighted in blue.

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

Type in “Nest Cam” in the search box or scroll down and find it in the list of products and services below that. Click on it when you locate it.

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

Connect your Nest Cam to IFTTT if it isn’t already.

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

After that, select “New motion event” as the trigger. You can also choose “New sound or motion event” to include when sound is detected as well.

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

Select which Nest Cam you want to apply this applet to. If you only have one Nest Cam, it will be selected by default. Hit “Create trigger”.

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

Next, click on “That” highlighted in blue.

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

Type in “Philips Hue” in the search box or scroll down and find it in the list of products and services below that. Click on it when you locate it.

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

Just like with the Nest Cam, connect your Philips Hue to IFTTT if it isn’t already, and then select the “Turn on lights” action on the next screen.

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

Click on the dropdown menu and choose which lights you want to have turned on when your Nest Cam detects motion. You can either select a single bulb or a room.

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

Review the applet and give it a custom name if you wish. Then click “Finish” at the bottom.

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

Your new applet will now appear in your list of other applets that you have installed and will automatically be enabled. From now on, whenever your Nest Cam detects motion, your Hue lights will turn on.

Unfortunately, one big caveat is that once your lights turn on due to Nest Cam motion, they won’t automatically turn off after a certain amount of time, so you may want to set up a timed schedule for your lights so that they don’t stay on for longer than a few hours.

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Craig Lloyd is a smarthome expert with nearly ten years of professional writing experience. His work has been published by iFixit, Lifehacker, Digital Trends, Slashgear, and GottaBeMobile. Read more.

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

Philips Hue lights are cool, but are you using them to they’re fullest potential? Sure, you can control them from your smartphone and turn them on from anywhere, but there are so many other useful tricks you can take advantage of. Here are a handful of clever uses for your Philips Hue setup.

Cycle Through Colors to Keep Kids on Task

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

If you’re constantly having a difficult time getting your kids ready on time in the morning and to bed on time in the evening, a fun way to keep kids on track is to turn Hue bulbs a different color at certain times.

For example, you could turn the lights orange, indicating that it’s time for the kids to get ready for bed. And in the morning, you could turn the lights blue at a certain time, indicating that they have five minutes to make it downstairs and eat breakfast. It’s a fun little game that the kids can enjoy, but it’s also something that helps you out immensely as a parent.

You can simply use the Routines feature in the Philips Hue app to make this possible, so it’s really easy to set up and implement.

Know If It’s Going to Rain

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

If you’re about to head out and aren’t sure if you should take an umbrella with you, you can set up a Philips Hue bulb by the front door that tells you.

Through IFTTT, you can have a Hue bulb turn blue if it’s going to rain soon, and turn red or orange if it’s going to be particularly hot out. Of course, you probably don’t want the light on all the time, so you can tack on a motion sensor to only have the bulb turn on when you walk near the front door.

Motion-Activate Dim Lights at Night

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

With Hue lights and a motion sensor, you can have your lights turn on very dimly in the middle of the night, so that if you need to get up out of bed to use the restroom, you can actually see where you’re going.

You can set your motion sensor under your bed and only have it active during a certain time range, so that when you do get out of bed and the motion sensor sees your feet, you can have a light dimly turn on. Even better, you can get a couple of Hue Lightstrip Plus kits and tack them around the frame of your bed to create more aesthetically-pleasing lights.

Add Automatic Closet and Pantry Lights

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

Many people think to use Hue lights in living rooms and bedrooms, but closets and pantries are usually left out of the fun. But in reality, these are some of the most beneficial places to put smart bulbs.

Sticking a Hue bulb and a motion sensor inside of a closet or pantry is a great way to have the lights automatically turn on and turn off when you access these places, and it can be really convenient considering that you no longer have to fumble for the light switch or pull string ever again.

Quickly See If All Your Doors Are Locked

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

If all of your exterior doors are equipped with smart locks, like those offered from Kwikset or Schlage, then you can use them to communicate with a Philips Hue bulb that turns green (or whatever color you want) whenever all of your doors are locked.

This can be done by connecting your smart locks and Philips Hue lights to SmartThings and using the SmartThings app to set up the task using a SmartApp within SmartThings. You can then program it to have the Hue bulb turn on and change to a specific color when all of your smart locks are in the locked position.

Granted, you could just open up the appropriate app and see if all of the proper doors are locked and ready to go, but being able to quickly glance at a light bulb is a much more convenient option.

Turn Lights Red When a Smoke Detector Goes Off

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

While you’re more than likely to hear a smoke detector going off, there are a number of reasons why you might not actually be able to hear it. If you have a smoke detector out in the garage that would be hard to hear from your bedroom, for instance, it would be nice to have a secondary signal telling you that it’s going off.

If you have a smart smoke detector like the Nest Protect, you can have it turn your Philips Hue lights red. You can do this using IFTTT, which is a service that can connect a ton of products and services together that you normally wouldn’t be able to connect otherwise.

See If the Mail Came Yet

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

I always like to know when the mail has arrived for the day, and a great way to know that is by sticking a sensor inside my mailbox and then having a Hue bulb turn on whenever that sensor goes off.

(Note: There is some gray area as to whether it’s illegal or not to stick anything but mail inside of a mailbox, but if it’s not really getting in the way of the mail carrier, then they likely won’t care.)

You can use a Hue Motion Sensor, or a SmartThings open/close sensor on the mailbox door. From there, you can have a Hue light turn on in your house that tells you whether or not the mail came already today. You could even set it up so that the door opening twice in one day indicates that the mail has already been checked.

Ever come home to have all your Hue lights on 100% brightness because of even a slight power outage or “brownout”? With the hueDynamic app, this is a thing of the past thanks to our Hue System Power Cut detection.

With a simple click, you can enable this feature in the hueDynamic app and your Hue Bridge will be programmed to recognize when its power has been disturbed. As soon as it has finished booting, it will then send a command to your lights and bulbs to switch them off for you automatically. This gives you piece of mind and also saves on electricity costs.

No need to mess around with rules, memories and the Hue API – just go to the Settings page in the app and select the “Power Cut” option to get started.

This feature runs entirely on the Hue Bridge, meaning you don’t need to have the app running to benefit from the power cut detection feature.

Features

  • Detects even very slight cut power disruptions to your Hue system
  • Switches off your Hue lights – great if you were on vacation
  • Reduces the possibility of being woken in the middle of the night by power outage
  • Reduces electricity usage
  • Acts a soon as possible after your Hue bridge has booted
  • Easy to enable – no rules to create or schedules to maintain

Enabling Hue System Power Cut Detection

The first thing to do is connect the hueDynamic app to your bridge. Once this easy process is completed, visit the settings page in the app and select the “Power Cut” button.

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a scheduleAccess hueDynamic’s power cut detection feature from the Settings page in the Windows app How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a scheduleOr from the Settings page in the iOS or Android app.

Once you have clicked the “Power Cut” button, you will see the switch to enable or disable the feature. This page will also be expanded with more options allowing you to customize in the future.

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a scheduleEnable the switch to turn the power cut detection on. Your Philips Hue lights will then switch themselves off after a power cut to the bridge.

After you have enabled the switch, a confirmation message will be displayed and the power cut feature will be enabled. It should stay enabled until you switch the feature back off via the same switch, or reset your Hue bridge to factory settings.

Control your smart light from anywhere in the world

Although not enabled by default, you can quickly, and easily, set up your Philips Hue smart lighting system so that your lights can be controlled when away from home. This feature is something you can set up to control every bulb, just as you would at home, when no longer connected to your Wi-Fi network. When you’ve enabled this ability, you can check on the status of your lights, switch off any you left on by mistake, and turn them back on as you arrive home at night.

Read More:

First, you need to go to account.meethue.com and create a user account, if you do not already have one.

Next, go to the Hue smartphone app, open and launch this, and then tap on the Settings button in the lower-right corner. You will see the phrase, “Out of home control” printed at the top of the next screen in white, with the word ‘Disabled’ written below it in smaller type.

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Tap there, then tap on the green Enable button. This will open a web browser within the Hue app and take you to the company’s account login page. Tap ‘Yes’ when asked if you trust the app, then log in using the username and password of the account you created in step one.

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a scheduleEnables remote control takes just a few taps of the Hue app GearBrain

That’s all that you need to do to get this started. The word ‘Enabled’ will now be displayed in green at the foot of the screen, on the ‘Out of home control’ button.

To test that everything is working correctly — which we suggest that you do —start by first switching off your smartphone’s Wi-Fi connection. Then, take note how, when you reopen the Hue app, it will briefly say ‘Connecting’ at the foot of the screen, before an orange notification box appears to say you are connected to your Hue system via the cloud. That’s what you’ll want to see.

For us, this final step initially failed and we were told the app was not connected to our Hue system via the cloud. That’s not a problem. If this happens to you, start by closing the app. Then re-launch the app, and look to the foot of the screen again. When we took these steps, we saw that we were connected right away.

When you’re connected to the Hue app via the cloud you have exactly the same functionality as when connected via Wi-Fi at home. This will allow you to set every Hue light to any setting that the app normally allows, customizing the lights to your preferences, even adjusting your daily lighting routines, and changing other settings.

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A bridge too far? Try these routes instead

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

Philips Hue has one of the most comprehensive and versatile ranges of smart lights out there, and usually you’d want the Philips Hue Bridge plugged into your router to control all of your installed bulbs.

But what if you don’t want the Hue Bridge? The good news is that you haven’t hit a dead end. Thanks to the Hue bulbs’ compatibility with the Zigbee standard, there are other ways to get access to your Hue bulbs, without all the official gear.

Also, Philips Hue now has Bluetooth bulbs, giving you another way around the hub.

  • Essential reading: How to set up Philips Hue

It’s worth pointing out that installing the Hue Bridge is the best way to go — it gives you the best, most reliable control over your Hue smart lights, and access to all the functionality of the Hue apps.

If you want to do it differently though, read on.

Use Philips Hue Bluetooth bulbs

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

In 2019, Signify discovered this miraculous standard called Bluetooth, and going forward all Hue bulbs will offer Bluetooth and Zigbee, giving you options when it comes to setup.

Thanks to Bluetooth, one of those options is to not use a hub at all. Instead you can simply screw the bulb in and connect it directly with your phone. It does, however, mean using a new standalone Hue BT app.

Still, the added versatility should make Hue more appealing to anyone not ready to go “all in” by bringing the entry price down. This does come with limitations though: you can only connect up to 10 bulbs, there’s no remote control once you leave the house, and third-party app integrations aren’t supported.

You also can’t group Bluetooth Hue bulbs into different rooms, although you can technically create groups in rooms, so you could do a “bathroom” and a “kitchen”, but creating an upstairs group might be a stretch considering you need to be in Bluetooth range (hence the rooms limitation). Alexa and Google Assistant play nice though.

You can also use Google’s new Seamless Setup feature to add Hue Bluetooth bulbs to a Google Assistant smart home, without using a Hue Bridge.

Using the Hue Dimmer Switch

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

If you buy a Hue Dimmer Switch bundled with a Hue bulb, they’re already linked when you get them out of the box. All you need to do is screw the bulb into a vacant socket, turn the light switch on, and then put the battery in the Dimmer Switch.

Straight away, you’ll be able to use the Dimmer Switch to control the Hue bulb: turning it on and off, and adjusting the brightness. You can’t control the colour at all (one of the reasons you might consider buying a Hue Bridge), but it does give you some functionality.

Philips Hue bulbs work with a regular light switch too, of course — even if you don’t buy the Dimmer Switch or the Hue Bridge or any other accessory, you can turn the bulb on and off using the standard light switch on the wall.

Each Hue Dimmer Switch can support up to 10 bulbs. If you want to add a new bulb without a Hue Bridge, install the bulb and switch it on, then bring the Dimmer Switch close to it and press and hold the On button. You’ll see a small LED light come on the Dimmer Switch and the bulb will blink to confirm the connection.

All these connected bulbs (up to 10 of them) are going to respond in the same way to the Hue Dimmer Switch, but this is one way of adding Philips Hue smart bulbs to your home without a Hue Bridge.

Using an Amazon Echo as a hub

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

As Philips Hue bulbs use the Zigbee standard, they can work with some Zigbee smart home hubs rather than a Hue Bridge — though the integration isn’t always as reliable, or available with as many features, as it is with a Hue Bridge.

Some Amazon Echo speakers — specifically the Amazon Echo Plus, the Amazon Echo Show and the latest (4th-gen) Echo — can work as Zigbee hubs. If you’ve already got one of these speaker models set up, new Hue bulbs can be added through Alexa and the Philips Hue skill.

Make sure your Hue bulbs are connected and powered on, then head into the Alexa app (which you should have already installed when setting up your Echo). Select Devices, then the Plus button, then Add Device. After a few seconds of searching, your Hue lights should be detected and added.

If you prefer you can use a voice command instead: say “Alexa, find my devices” and your Alexa smart speaker will scan your house for compatible Hue bulbs.

However you add the Hue bulbs, once they’re connected you can control them through the Alexa app or via your voice, with commands like “Alexa, turn the bedroom lights off”.

Through the Alexa app you can group your Hue bulbs together and even group them with smart lights of a different brand. However, without the Hue Bridge you can’t create custom scenes, have lights turn on or off based on your location, or access various other advanced features available in the Hue app.

Using an Ikea Trådfri gateway as a hub

How to turn your philips hue lights on or off on a schedule

Another option is to use an Ikea Trådfri gateway as a hub for your Hue smart bulbs instead of the official Philips Hue Bridge. Just like the Amazon Echo Zigbee devices, the gateway, which plugs straight into your router, handles communications between your phone and the Hue bulbs you’ve installed.

Assuming you’ve already got your Ikea Trådfri gateway and Trådfri bulbs up and running, adding Hue lights to the mix isn’t too difficult: you just follow the same process as you do for adding a Trådfri light.

Get your Hue bulb installed and switched on, then open up the Trådfri app, and choose Add devices then Bulb. You’ll be asked to pick a control device, which you will have used to set up your Trådfri lights — a motion sensor, a wireless dimmer or a remote control, for example.

When you’ve made your pick, hold the control device within two centimetres of the bulb, and press and hold the link button on it for ten seconds. You should see the bulb flicker, and once this flickering stops, release the button. The Hue light is now added.

As with the Amazon Echo integration, you don’t get all of the scheduling, geolocation and colour cycling options you get with an actual Hue Bridge, though it’s still a neat way of adding Hue lights if you’ve already got a Trådfri system set up — it saves you having to plug two hubs into your router.