Smart Home

6 Philips Hue Automations You Need Right Now

Joe Coburn 02-01-2018

So you’ve bought yourself a Philips Hue starter kit Philips Hue Starter Kit Review and Giveaway The market is flooded by bulbs with wifi, all with their own silly mobile app that you need to fuss around with to turn them on. Is the Hue any different? We find out. Read More , maybe installed some awesome Hue apps The 7 Best Philips Hue Apps for Android and iPhone Looking for the best Philips Hue apps to use with your smart lights? Here are several great apps for iPhone and Android. Read More , and set up Hue voice commands Best Amazon Alexa Voice Commands for Phillips Hue Take your Philips Hue lighting system to the next level with these easy-to-use voice commands for Amazon Alexa. Read More with an Amazon Echo Amazon Echo Review and Giveaway Amazon’s Echo offers a unique integration between voice recognition, personal assistant, home automation controls, and audio playback features for $179.99. Does the Echo break into new ground or can you do better elsewhere? Read More . What’s next?


Setting up home automation is surprisingly easy with Hue, and the app itself allows you to configure simple automations. Today I’ll be showing you some of the best home automations you can configure right now!

What You Need

practical philips hue home automations

You’re going to need some smart bulbs to get started with Hue automation. The Hue white and color ambiance starter kit is the easiest place to start, but many Hue alternative bulbs will also work just as well (although the setup steps may differ).

Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance A19 60W Equivalent LED Smart Bulb Starter Kit (4 A19 Bulbs and 1 Hub Compatible with Amazon Alexa Apple HomeKit and Google Assistant) Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance A19 60W Equivalent LED Smart Bulb Starter Kit (4 A19 Bulbs and 1 Hub Compatible with Amazon Alexa Apple HomeKit and Google Assistant) Buy Now On Amazon $192.72 ($48.18 / Count)

You’ll also need a smartphone, but you probably already have one of those, right?


That’s all you need for the vast majority of these home automation skills. I’ll be showing you how to enable all these automations on an Android phone, so some of these steps may differ if you are using an iPhone or iPad.

1. Automating a Wake Up Routine With Philips Hue

Let’s start simple for our first automation. The Hue app (Android, iOS) is able to turn your lights on at a set time every morning, or even a different time every day.

You can configure bulbs to fade in gently, which can act as a pseudo-sunrise alarm clock, although you could always make your own sunrise alarm Arduino Night Light and Sunrise Alarm Project Today, we'll be making a sunrise alarm clock, which will gently and slowly wake you without resorting to an offensive noise-making machine. Read More if you want a bit more control.

Inside the Hue app, press the Routines button; it’s the clock symbol on the top navigation bar.


Press the Wake up button, and then the Add new button on the bottom right. In this New screen, you’ll be presented with several options. You can set the alarm time, and assign it a name. You can also choose which days to have this alarm repeat on, just like your regular mobile alarm clock.

practical philips hue home automations

Selecting Fade in allows you to configure how long the lights take to fade in (for a gentle awakening) although your options are strangely limited to 10, 20, or 30 minutes. There’s no option to disable this fade in, and have your lights instantly turn on. You’ll have to put up with it for now.

The final option, called Where, allows you to choose up to four rooms that respond to this alarm. You can choose the whole house if you’d prefer. After choosing a room, the Room name underneath Where allows you to add or remove specific bulbs from the alarm.


practical philips hue home automations

Once configured, select Save from the top right and you’re done.

After you have configured at least one alarm, the Wake up page now shows all available alarms. Tap an alarm to modify it, or toggle the on/off switch to the right to enable or disable it. You can delete alarms from within the edit page.

practical philips hue home automations


By using the day selector, you can create different light alarms for different days. For example, I have a 6am alarm setup for weekdays, but my weekend alarm turns on the lights at 7:10am.

2. Automating a “Go to Sleep” Routine With Philips Hue

Now that you’ve automated your mornings, it’s time to automate your bed time.

practical philips hue home automations

From the Routines page, select the Go to sleep button. This page is almost identical to the wake up page, and you’re able to configure the lights, time, and name.

The key difference here is that rather than fade in duration, you get a fade out duration. Your four options here are 15, 30, 45, or 60 minutes. It’s not possible to have the lights instantly turn off from within this routine.

practical philips hue home automations

For example, if you set a sleep routine time of 10pm, and a fade out time of 30 minutes, your lights will slowly fade out at 10pm until they are fully off at 10:30pm. Your lights need to be switched on before this routine begins in order for the fade out automation to take place.

3. Automating Alternative Routines With Philips Hue

Are you confused by the seemly random fade durations of the wake up and sleep routines? Fear not, for there is a simple solution!

practical philips hue home automations

The Other routines page allows you to configure a totally custom alarm or routine.

Press the Add new button on the bottom right, and choose At a specific time. This page provides a way for you to configure your custom routine. Nearly all of the parameters from the previous two routines are available here, although you are able to choose a fade in or fade out duration ranging from instant to 30 minutes.

practical philips hue home automations

Pressing the random times button will randomly adjust the start and stop time for your routine. You are also able to choose a specific color or scene when choosing a room.

If you head back to the Other routines page, and then press the Add new button in the bottom right, you’re able to choose At Sunset or At Sunrise. These pages allow you to schedule your lights to turn on or off depending on the sunrise or sunset. You can choose the room, day, and fade duration, but the specific sunrise or sunset time every day will determine the time this routine activates.

practical philips hue home automations

This sun-based schedule does require your phone’s location, however.

4. Automating Philips Hue Timers

practical philips hue home automations

Once you’re confident with these basic routines, timers are another great way to automate your life. From the Routines page, choose Timers, and then the Add new button in the bottom right.

Select a name and duration, and then select a room under What should happen. After selecting your room name at the bottom of the timer page, you can choose a scene or light recipe, along with various effects such as blinking the lights, turning them off, or returning to the last light state.

practical philips hue home automations

5. Automating Philips Hue Sensors

practical philips hue home automations

After mastering the basic automation tasks with the Hue app, it’s time to branch out into presence sensing with the Hue motion sensor.

Philips Hue Indoor Motion Sensor for Smart Lights (Requires Hue Hub, Installation-Free, Smart Home, Exclusively for Philips Hue Smart Bulbs) Philips Hue Indoor Motion Sensor for Smart Lights (Requires Hue Hub, Installation-Free, Smart Home, Exclusively for Philips Hue Smart Bulbs) Buy Now On Amazon $39.74

Priced around $40, this little sensor connects wirelessly to your Hue setup. You can enable it from the Accessory setup page of the Settings screen.

Once enabled, you can configure several automations based on any motion detected. Not only can you enable or disable lights or scenes when there is motion detected, but also when there is no motion detected for a period of time. You could, for example, dim the lights if the sensor detects no motion after five minutes, and then turn them fully off after 10 minutes.

practical philips hue home automations

You’re able to adjust the sensitivity of the sensor, so things like flies or pets won’t trigger it, and different actions can be set up depending on the time of day. One popular automation is to turn on the lights very low if the sensor detects motion at night.

Finally, you can adjust the daylight sensitivity. There’s no need to turn on your lights if the room is bright enough already.

6. Creative Philips Hue Automations With IFTTT

It’s no secret that we’re big fans of IFTTT here at MakeUseOf. This neat little service lets all your favorite apps and devices talk to each other.

Naturally, IFTTT can automate Hue in response to a huge variety of events. Here are five of our favorites:

  1. Random colors hourly: This recipe will change your bulbs to a different random color every hour.
  2. Rain detection: Want to know if you should bring a coat? Your lights will turn blue if there’s rain in your area.
  3. Light up doorbell: This simple IFTTT automation will blink your lights when the doorbell rings.
  4. Hue by mobile: This cool recipe will change your bulb colors whenever you send a text to your IFTTT number.
  5. Hue by email: Whenever you get an email from that special someone, all your lights will blink.

Now that you know everything there is to know about automating Philips Hue, all that’s left to do is to turn them on!

You can create routines for almost anything: red when it’s time to start washing up, blue for your children’s bedtime, a two-minute timer for brushing your teeth. The possibilities are practically endless.

What’s you favorite Philips Hue smart home automation? Let us know in the comments below!

Related topics: Home Automation, IFTTT, Philips Hue, Smart Lighting.

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  1. harry
    January 5, 2019 at 3:20 pm

    not one of these i seen have been worth having how you can say SMART HOME
    6 Philips Hue Automations You Need Right Now is beyound me.....possibly the most awful selection of IFTTT