The Philips Hue lighting system was one of the first smart home products to gain traction in the consumer market. It continues to become more popular thanks to an expanding number of products and integration with other smart home devices.
To that end, we’re highlighting some of the best Philips Hue apps that can control your lights and much more.
1. Philips Hue
At one time, the official Philips Hue app was heavily derided thanks to its confusing UI and lack of control options. But that’s no longer the case; it’s now one of the best Hue lights apps.
The app now features a number of shortcuts that allow you to adjust your lights with just a few taps. You can quickly change the light color or even set the bulbs to one of the last four used scenes.
Speaking of color, a new picker allows you to group or ungroup lights in a room and choose a precise shade of white or color from the palette. There’s also a huge variety of different lighting scenes to select from. And if none of those suit your fancy, you can even use the app to extract a specific color from an image and apply that to the lights.
Think of Ambify as a fun way to turn your Hue lights into part of an interactive jukebox. Just start up the app, pick your lights, and then choose a playlist. The app will analyze it, then visualize your tunes with the Hue lights. You can create different color themes for specific music types and customize the visualizer settings.
You can also send music to an Apple TV or other AirPlay device while the app is still creating the experience.
Download: Ambify for iOS ($3)
3. Hue Disco
While similar to Ambify, Hue Disco offers one big advantage. Instead of having to play music on your iOS device to start the interactive light show, Hue Disco will listen for music through the microphone. So along with any music on your device, it also supports a wide variety of other options like a Bluetooth speaker and more.
A specific microphone sensitivity feature will let you control how often music turns into light. You can also customize the maximum or minimum brightness for the disco setup. It’s also easy to control the color of specific themes; the app even lets you select an image from your photo library to turn into a theme.
Party fans will also be happy to hear that there are a number of different strobe options.
OnSwitch is all about using Hue lights to create a truly interactive experience. The top feature of the app is the 30 different albums featuring more than 200 animated and static light scenes. The scenes combine the lighting effects with audio from the app to create a unique mood. Some of the different scenes include Santa landing on your roof, a spaceship battle, or a New Year’s Eve ball drop.
For everyday use, there’s also an album with clear images of what type of lighting each option provides. You can also use OnSwitch to create and manage a single bulb or different groups.
As a nice touch, the app also supports the popular LIFX smart lighting line as well. Our guide takes a look at the differences between LIFX and Philips Hue systems to help decide which one is best for you.
Lightbow is a powerful scene editor and light control app.
Its best feature is the ability to customize a preset. You can add multi-step animation loops, static colors, and other commands for any light or even a group. Each preset can even have a transition, like a crossfade. When you’re done creating a perfect setup, you can run each preset with just a tap.
The app also allows you to organize presets into different collections for quick access. Even better, a quick Siri command lets you activate a preset thanks to the Siri Shortcuts feature.
Since the app is compatible with Philips Hue, LIFX, and WeMo bulbs, you can put hardware from different manufacturers into a single group for easy control.
For access to your lights without pulling out an iPhone, the Apple Watch app provides the ability to set scenes and control bulbs on your wrist.
Download: Lightbow for iOS ($5, in-app purchases and subscription available)
6. Hue TV
Hue TV can help turn a regular night of watching TV into a fresh experience. Just open up the app and aim at the show you’re watching. The app will use your device’s camera to choose up to three of most important onscreen colors and then adjust the lighting to match. It can change Hue, LIFX, and Avea bulbs at the same time.
If the colors are too bright, it’s easy to change the brightness. And a selection tool can help you focus on colors at a specific part of the screen.
Download: Hue TV for iOS ($3)
For a simple and easy way to control your Hue lights, HueMote is a great choice. With just a few taps, you can change colors, adjust brightness, and save specific light settings into scenes to access later. Thanks to iCloud sync, your light settings will be available on all iOS devices.
There’s no need to even open the app to control your lights, as a widget provides access directly from your iPhone or iPad lock screen.
Download: HueMote for iOS (Free)
Unleash the Power of the Best Philips Hue Apps
These apps will give you all the power you need to control your lights just the way you want. They’ll add some serious atmosphere to your house no matter what you have planned—a party, movie night, or just a quiet evening in.
And if you’re just starting out with the smart lighting system, make sure to take a look at our comprehensive guide on how to set up and use the Philips Hue starter kit.