How to master...Philips Hue

Bright ideas (intermediate)

Got your geolocation and voice control all set up? It's time to learn some blue belt Hue moves...

6) Make it rain (and thunder)


There’s something oddly relaxing about hearing the distant rumbles and flashes of a storm while you’re tucked up in bed. That’s why we’re fans of this – the best of Hue’s thunderstorm simulators.

Thunderstorm for Hue gives you god-like control over your smart light storm, as your Hue bulbs gently flicker and flash in time with the convincing sound effects. You can choose which bulbs to include, set a sleep timer for the storm to conveniently pass, and even add background sounds like crickets and cacadas.

Pipe the sound through some Bluetooth speakers, and it’d also create a suitably unnerving atmosphere for your halloween party.

Download Thunderstorm for Hue (iOS)

Download Thunderstorm for Hue (Android)

7) Get the party started

We don’t host many parties. But when we do, we like our colour Hue bulbs to flash in time with Carly Rae Jepson’s “Call me maybe”.

That’s the dreamland promised by Hue Disco, which picks up the music through your phone’s microphone and turns that into some colourful, customisable strobe effects.

Sure, that means it’s not always perfectly in sync with the music’s drops, but that won’t matter once your guests have gone through a few bowls of your legendary ‘party punch’.

Download Hue Disco (iOS)

Download Hue Disco (Android)

8) Help your monitor see the Ambilight

If your computer’s feeling a bit left out of the Ambilight party, Screenbloom can pair it with your Hue bulbs and lightstrips to recreate a similar effect to Philips’ glowing TVs.

It works by grabbing the average colour of your computer screen, then sending it to your Hue lights, which are best positioned behind your monitor so that they can subtly bounce off the wall behind.

It’s not quite as dynamic as Ambilight, but is responsive enough to make your Doom session extra-terrifying.

Download Screenbloom (Mac and Windows)

IFTTT your spirits (intermediate)

Get your Hue lights and fave web services all singing off the same gadget hymn sheet...

9) Your Uber has landed

If you've summoned an Uber to your flat, then chances are good that you're in a mad rush to get ready to go out somewhere – and so you may lose track of time, and may not even notice the app telling you to get outside for your waiting driver.

No worries. IFTTT is built to creatively link connected services, and in this case, a simple applet will automatically blink your Hue lights once the Uber driver has arrived outside your home. That little visual notification might catch your eye, saving your driver the potential hassle of slamming on the horn.

Turn on the Uber / Hue IFTTT recipe

10) Rise and shine

You can set your Hue lights to turn on or off at certain times, but if you don't always wake up at the same time, then you might be rudely awakened some mornings by your supposedly "smart" bulbs.

If you have a Fitbit that you wear to bed, you can skip the hard schedule. Instead, just link your Fitbit account to your Hue bulbs via this IFTTT applet, and the bulbs will turn on once the rope of consciousness has drawn you out of the abyss of sleep. And that's a handy way to save on energy, too.

Turn on the Fitbit / Hue IFTTT recipe

11) Get ready for kick off

While a lot of IFTTT applets bridge the gap between services with useful, important results, others are pure fun – and something like this falls right between the two extremes.

With this applet, you can make your bulbs flash a certain colour any time your favourite team begins a match, either giving you the signal to turn on the TV or simply riling up your assembled viewing party in the process.

You can customise the colour and pick from various leagues, as well, including the Premier League and La Liga. Come on, er, Malaga!

Turn on the ESPN / Hue IFTTT recipe

12) Make a real entrance

Even if you live alone, coming home after a hard day of work shouldn't be a dreary event. Punch up your return with this brilliant IFTTT applet, which promises a grand entrance every time you enter your flat.

This location-aware recipe lets you pinpoint your home's location on a map, and then every time you enter the location (via the IFTTT mobile app), your Hue lights will cycle through an array of colors. It's like you're coming home to a surprise party, even if your only real plans are to crash on the couch and watch Netflix.

Turn on the 'Make a grand entrance with Philips Hue' IFTTT recipe