Philips recently released a new Hue bridge with support for Apple’s new HomeKit bridge. Read on as we show you how to migrate your old Hue bulbs to your new system as well as how to take advantage of the HomeKit integration.
How And Why Do I Want To Do This?
The entire push behind the new Hue bridge is to add support for Apple’s HomeKit home management and automation system. If you don’t use iOS and you don’t care about HomeKit then there’s little reason to upgrade to the new bridge.
The old bridge works just fine (and even supports the newer Hue Lux bulbs as well as the very newest updated Hue bulbs and products which were released at the same time as the updated bridge). The bottom line is that you only need the new bridge if you want Apple HomeKit integration.
The new bridge can be acquired one of two ways. If you want the bridge right this minute you can purchase a new Hue starter kit for $199. As of the publication of this guide that’s the only place you’ll get your hands on a bridge. (But, for the price, you’ll also get an additional three new Hue bulbs which are brighter and have more accurate color than the older Hue bulbs).
Once supply catches up with demand you’ll be able to purchase a Hue Bridge 2.0 as a stand alone purchase for $59 according to Philips and, per the Hue Bridge 2.0 product page, existing Hue users can use the unique ID of their Hue Bridge 1.0 device to get a coupon code for 33 percent off the upgrade to a Bridge 2.0 unit (which would lower the upgrade cost to $40). The promotional discount for existing users will be available starting November 1st.
Migrating to the new bridge isn’t a herculean task, but the upgrade path isn’t immediately clear and there are a few pitfalls worth avoiding. Let’s dive into upgrading now.
How To Migrate From Hue Bridge 1.0 to Bridge 2.0
The migration process between the first version of the bridge and the second is pretty painless but one thing you’ll notice right off the bat when you unbox your Hue starter kit or replacement bridge is that there aren’t any immediate instructions. There is in fact a migration wizard but the wizard doesn’t appear until you plug in the new bridge and open the Hue app (and things need to be done in the right order) so let’s get right down to ensuring you follow that order and avoid any unnecessary headaches.
Before you go any farther we would recommend a very small preparation: go around your home and ensure that all your existing Hue (or Hue-compatible) bulbs are currently online and operational. Because we tirelessly test everything on your behalf we found, after numerous resets and configuration tests, that the transition went the smoothest when all bulbs were “live” even if they weren’t currently in use.
Add The New Bridge
The first order of business is to unbox your new bridge hook it up to your router via the included Ethernet cable and then plug in the power cable. Do not remove your old Bridge 1.0 from the network or power it down. It is very important that your old bridge remain active for now.
With the new bridge on the network and powered up, open up the Philips Hue application on your iOS device and navigate to Settings via the menu button in the upper left corner.
At the top of the Settings menu, make a note of the ID number of your current bridge (under the My Bridge entry) and then click “Find Bridge”. In the subsequent menu, tap “Search” to locate your new Philips Huge Bridge 2.0 on the network.
Once the bridge is detected you will be presented with a list of the existing bridges. Note, in the above image, that there are two entries that begin with 12 (the physical bridge and the virtual “my Hue” entry that uses the same physical bridge). The new entry, which begins with 21 (the ID number of the new physical bridge) is the one we wish to select. Your ID numbers will vary but the only thing of importance is that you select the ID for the new device.
Initiate Bridge Transfer
After adding the new bridge you can begin the transfer process by navigating to Settings -> My Bridge.
This will start the transfer wizard which, unlike the process for getting to the transfer wizard itself, is pretty self explanatory.
Select “Prepare transfer” and then follow along with the onscreen instructions. You’ll press the link button on your old bridge and then the link button on your new bridge.
Once the two are communicating with each other, indicated by a green check make and a “Read to transfer” text, you simply press “Start transfer” and your old bulbs will be shuttled over to the new bridge. If everything goes smoothly you’ll receive a confirmation and be offered the ability to blink all your lights to visually confirm they are added to the new control bridge.
The very last step is to take your old Hue bridge, emphasis on the old part, and press the physical reset button located on the back of the bridge unit with a pen tip or paperclip in order to reset the device. Once reset, simply unplug the old bridge.
At this point it’s time to check in on your scenes and settings to confirm that everything survived the transfer A-OK. If you do find that a particular bulb didn’t make the jump (if this happens it seems to happen most frequently with third-party bulbs).
Linking Your New Bridge To Siri/HomeKit
While the primary focus of this guide was to help you migrate your old bulbs to your new bridge, the main reason anyone even gets the new bridge in the first place is to use Siri and HomeKit with their light bulbs.
You’ll find the Siri/HomeKit integration under Settings -> Siri Voice Control, within the Hue app. Although the Hue app does a decent job guiding you through the setup process there are most definitely some nuances to a smooth and happy Hue and HomeKit experience.
In light of that we’d highly recommend you check out our previous article How to Use Siri to Control the Lights In Your House for a more in depth look. Even though it takes a few extra minutes to set up and voice-controlled home automation still has some rough edges, it really is satisfying on all kinds of futurology/geeky levels to say “Hey Siri, turn off the lights” at the end of the day and the lights do, in fact, turn off.
Have a pressing tech question about smart bulbs, home automation, HomeKit, or any other smart home concern? Shoot us an email at email@example.com and not only will we do our best to answer it but it just might be the seed for a future how-to guide.
Product images courtesy of Philips.