Sometimes all you want from your Philips Hue lights is for them to just turn on and off when you want them to, but if you’re throwing a party or just want to keep your kids entertained, animating your lights is a great way to kick things up a notch.
While the official Philips Hue app suits most users, it’s not as complete as some of the other third-party Hue apps, and iConnectHue is one of our favorites. It only works on iOS and is one of the pricier options on the iTunes App Store—the iPhone version and iPad version cost $4.99 each, and you can spend an additional $11 when you buy it in the app. But it’s worth it if you want to add more functionality to your Philips Hue lights.
One feature that stands out about iConnectHue is the ability to create animations that can bring your Philips Hue lights to life by automatically switching to different colors. The latest version of iConnectHue makes animation even better by sending all animations directly to your Hue Bridge rather than processing them on your iPhone or iPad, which can save battery life as you can close the app after the animation starts.
If that sounds like something you’re interested in, here’s how to get started creating animations for your Philips Hue lights.
Step One: Download and Set Up iConnectHue
To get started, download and install iConnectHue if you don’t already have it. You can type «iConnectHue» in the search bar and that will be the first result that comes up.
Once downloaded and installed, open it and you will be prompted to connect your Hue Bridge to the app by pressing the Push-Link button on the Hue Bridge and then tapping «I’m Done» on the app.
You should now be able to access the app and start setting up. iConnectHue has a ton of features and it can be a bit of a learning curve, but once you get the basics right it’s pretty easy to navigate and control everything.
Step Two: Group Your Lights
You can only animate light groups, so you need to create a group before you can create and use animation.
Start by clicking the menu button in the top left corner.
This is where your groups will appear, so if you have multiple Hue bulbs in a room, you can group them and control them at the same time. Go ahead and click on the Add Group button.
A list of your Hue bulbs will appear. Select the ones you want to put in a group — there will be a checkbox next to each selected light bulb. Click «Done» when you’re done.
Your new group will appear as «Room».
Go ahead and select it to open the group and see more options.
By tapping and holding on the name at the bottom, you can rename the group however you like.
Clicking on a bulb in a group will bring up that bulb’s color selector, as well as the brightness controls.
Double-tapping a light bulb in the Room screen turns it on and off, while holding and dragging a light bulb to another in the group copies all brightness and color settings.
Step Three: Create Animation
Inside the group, click the little animation button at the bottom. It’s a circle with a play button inside.
You will have free access to a small number of animations, as well as the ability to create your own. You need to spend $2.99 to get an animation editor to create and save unlimited animations.
To get started, try out some of the pre-installed animations by clicking on the play button next to the animation you want to see. To stop the animation, just click the stop button in the same place.
To create your own animation, click Create New Animation.
To start creating animation, you can add a Preset, Favorite, or Color. You can mix them up so you don’t have all presets or all favorites. If you’ve just started using the app, chances are you don’t have any saved presets or favorites, so tap «+Color».
Click and drag on the little circle inside the color selector and move it to a specific color. You can also click on the «Favorites» button to save this color as a favorite. Once you’ve chosen a color, click «Use Color» at the bottom.
This color will appear in the animation diagram at the top.
However, you will need to add at least one more color to complete the animation, so click «+ Color» again and choose another color to use. You can add as many colors as you like.
When you’ve finished the animation sequence, click on the red «X» if you don’t want the animation to repeat and start again when it ends. This will change it to a green checkmark. Leave it as a red «X» if you want the animation to repeat over and over again. This can be a little confusing as the green check mark makes you think the animation will loop, but what it actually means is that it not loops.
Then click in the text box where it says «New Animation» and give the animation a custom name if you like.
The next two settings give your animation meat and bones, so to speak. «Fade duration per step (seconds)» is the amount of time it takes for the light to fade and transition to the next color. «Wait after step (seconds)» is the amount of time each color is displayed before switching to the next color. Adjust them as you see fit.
After that, hit «Start» at the bottom and watch your animation come to life!
If you’re satisfied, click «Done» and your new animation will appear in the list of animations at the top.
Again, most of the time you will most likely want the ability to simply turn your lights on and off, but if there ever is a chance to add some life to a party, animating your Philips Hue lights is a great option. path