Philips Hue Setup For First-Time Users

This how-to guide will provide instructions for Philips Hue setup for the beginner. Starting with unboxing, it will guide you through the steps to quickly and easily set up your new lighting system. It is aimed at those users with smart lighting in more than one room of their home.

The Unboxing

Your new tech is sitting in front of you, waiting for installation. The first step is to unbox everything – the bridge and the bulbs. Remove the bridge from its box and set aside any instructions, registration cards, etc. Place the bridge near your WiFi router. Make a note of the 8-digit accessory set up code. You may need to enter this manually later on. Keep the box and reusable packing material in the event that the bridge must be returned for any reason.

Now, remove the bulbs from their packaging. Again, set aside any instructions or other paperwork that is included in the box. Then, make a list of each bulb’s serial number and the location (room/fixture) where you intend to place the bulb. Move each bulb into position, but don’t install them yet. That comes later.

While it is not required to write the serial numbers down it’s a good idea. Doing so will prevent you from having to climb back up the ladder later in order to get the serial number should you need to add it manually to the app.

philips hue
Photo Credit: Harvey Norman

Connecting the Hue Bridge

Your next step in the Philips Hue setup is to connect your Hue Bridge. Philips Hue Bridge setup is simple. Plug the provided power adapter into the Hue Bridge but do not connect it to a power source at this time.

Next, connect the enclosed Ethernet cable to your WiFi router. Note: This is NOT a WiFi connection to your home network, it is a hard-wired Ethernet connection. The Hue Bridge does not have WiFi capabilities of its own.

The Philips Hue Bridge is necessary because the smart bulbs cannot connect directly to your WiFi network. The Hue Bridge acts as a “traffic cop” to properly route network traffic between your bulbs and your home network.

Installing the Bulbs

It’s time to install your bulbs. Screw the light bulbs into the desired fixtures and turn on the power to those fixtures. Your bulbs should come on, indicating that they are ready to be connected to your Hue Bridge.

Now it’s time to plug in the Hue Bridge, i.e., connect the power adapter to an outlet. Wait for the lights on the Hue Bridge to come on (there are four of them), this indicates that it’s time to start the setup process.

philips hue
Photo Credit: T3

Download the App

Download the new Phillips Hue Gen2 app from the Apple Store (iOS devices) or Google Play Store (Android devices). Be advised that there are several third-party apps that may appear in your search results. Make sure to download the official app from Philips in order to set up your Hue Bridge and bulbs appropriately.

There is no registration required. The app will automatically detect your Philips Hue Bridge. If it does not, the app will walk you through the necessary troubleshooting steps to get started.

Once the app detects your Hue Bridge, tap “Set Up”. Press the push-link button (located in the center of your Hue Bridge). Once connected, the app will prompt you to accept the Terms & Conditions, so tap the “Accept” button to continue.

If you are an iOS user, at this point you will want to connect Apple HomeKit and Siri to your Hue Bridge. You can do this by tapping the “Pair Bridge” button at the bottom of the screen. (This is not necessary for Android devices).

At the bottom of the screen, tap on “My home” and name your home. While “Home” works just fine, have a little fun and get creative. No one is going to see this but you. When finished, tap on “Create home”.

Use your phone to scan the 8-digit accessory set up code on the bottom of your Hue Bridge. If you have trouble with this step, you can manually enter the code now. Your Hue Bridge is ready to detect your Hue bulbs.

Setting Up Your Lights

Press the “+” button in the bottom right-hand of your screen to begin adding bulbs. Next, tap “Search” to find the bulbs that you have installed, if there are problems with the automatic detection of your bulbs.

It usually takes a few minutes for the app to find all of your bulbs. When complete, it will tell you how many bulbs it found in the app. Don’t worry if it didn’t find them all, this is a fairly common problem. If it didn’t find a bulb, this is where you can manually add the bulb’s 6-digit serial number that you wrote down during the unboxing process.

If you have more than two or three bulbs to set up, you may find it helpful to power the lights on in one room at a time, rather than all at once. This will allow you to be sure where you’re adding bulbs as you proceed in setting up your groupings.

Phillips Alt
Photo Credit: Homecrux

Once your bulbs have been discovered, the app will prompt you to create groups. You do so by tapping the “+” in the lower right of the screen. In the text box that appears, give your first room a name, then select “Room Type” to bring up a list of various rooms. Choose one of the proffered room types. Then, go to “Light Selection” and check off the bulbs that you want to be associated with this room prior to choosing “Save”.

This is actually kind of poorly designed as by default, all of the bulbs of the same type have the same name with a number, aka Hue. Color Lamp 1, Hue Color Lamp 2, etc. This is why, since it is easy to add bulbs one at a time, it is recommended, after making sure that all your bulbs power on, to cut the power off to all but one bulb at a time.

This way, you can power on one bulb, add it to a room, and then move to the next bulb. Power it on, add it to the room, etc., continuing to add bulbs to rooms until you are finished.

Once you have added all your bulbs to rooms, your Philips Hue setup is complete. You can rename and regroup your bulbs with the app, it’s actually pretty straightforward and self-explanatory. Enjoy your new smart lighting system!

Buying Philips Hue Bulbs

Editors’ Recommendations

Did you enjoy our Philips Hue set up guide? If so, read some of our other reviews to learn how to turn your home into a smart home. 

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