How to Set Up Philips Hue Lights with Your iPhone

BY George Tinari

Published 11 Oct 2016

Image credit: Philips

Setting up your Philips Hue lights isn’t quite as easy as screwing in a regular light bulb. The steps are easy enough to follow, but getting started with Hue lights plus a bridge for the first time does require a bit of a process.

Let’s walk through that process to get your lights running and in sync with your iPhone. This guide will also show you how to get the lights working with HomeKit so you can adjust them from Control Center and through Siri.

Setting Up Your Philips Hue Lights

If you haven’t bought the Philips Hue lights, then you can get started by buying the starter kit on Amazon which comes with 2 bulbs + Hue Bridge hub.

Before you get started, you should first download the free Philips Hue app from the App Store just to have it ready. You’ll need it later to pair your light bulbs and also to have them work with iOS 10’s HomeKit.


Now, hook up your Philips Hue Bridge to your Internet router. You need to do this with the included Ethernet cable, and you also need to plug the Bridge into the wall with the power cable. The Bridge should light up when it’s ready.


You’re not quite equipped to switch on the lights just yet, but almost. It’s time to pair the Bridge to the Hue app. You’re prompted to do this shortly after downloading the app. Ensure the Bridge is fully connected to power and Wi-Fi via your router, then tap Search so the app can find it. You can optionally type in the IP address instead if you know it.


Once the Bridge is linked to the app, the light bulbs themselves are the final step. Make sure they’re screwed in and turned on wherever you have them in your home. Back in the app, follow a similar process to linking the Bridge by tapping Search, this time to find the lights.

For some reason, I’ve had mixed results with this several times as I continue to add more Hue lights to my home. Sometimes the app just doesn’t find all the lights. Instead, I had to manually enter the serial number on some bulbs and then it worked. To err on the side of caution, make sure you jot down the serial number for every bulb before screwing them in to hard-to-reach fixtures.

Select your lights, optionally assign them to your own named rooms and you’re pretty much done with setup in the Hue app. We’re now going to let iOS 10’s HomeKit integration do the rest.

Controlling Lights from Home App

Making sure your lights are still on, open the Home app on your iPhone or iPad to get started integrating your Hue lights with iOS. The app gives you “My Home” to work with, but you can edit the name by tapping Edit at the top.

Otherwise, Home should automatically list the lights you added in the Hue app and put them in you Favorites. If not, tap the + icon at the top right and choose Add Accessory to search for additional lights.


From here, either tap and hold or 3D Touch an accessory to view your brightness and color options. Since I only have white Hue lights, I can just adjust the brightness slider. If you have color temperature or full-color enabled Hue lights, you can adjust the color here as well.

Tap Details to rename your light or group it with other lights. Grouping is handy if a light in your home takes multiple bulbs. The ceiling light in my bedroom, for instance, takes three, so grouping these bulbs allows me to turn them all on or off with one tap rather than having to control them individually.


You can also set up scenes for your lights. These allow you to automatically set one or several lights to a certain brightness level and (if your bulbs support it) color. Back to viewing your entire home, tap the + icon at the top right and select Add Scene. iOS suggests three: Good morning, I’m home, and I’m leaving, each with their own brightness presets.

Tap Custom instead to build your own scene. Give it a name, then tap Add Accessories to choose the lights involved — and that includes if you want certain ones to shut off for this scene. Press and hold the individual lights to set the brightness and color level until your entire scene is set the way you want it. As an example, I have a scene I named Bedtime, which shuts off all of my lights except for one. The lamp in my bedroom dims to 30 percent brightness.


The best perk about having your accessories and scenes fully set up with HomeKit is Control Center integration. Swipe up from the bottom of the screen and over to your new accessories panel. You have instant access to your favorite accessories and scenes from Control Center and Siri so you don’t need to open an app every time you want to change your lighting.