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Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Dan Moren

Applications Folder: iConnectHue

If all you want to do is turn your Philips Hue smart lights on and off remotely, and perhaps occasionally change their colors, you can probably get by with the standard Hue app, or even Apple’s HomeKit. But thanks to Philips’s rather open platform, you can turn to a handful of third-party apps for some more complicated automation options that let you control your smart lights in clever and interesting ways.

Of those, one of the most powerful is iConnectHue. Like the Hue app or HomeKit, it lets you set up and control your lights by individual bulb or by group, set time or geofence-based rules, and configure smart switches or sensors that you have installed. It’s user friendly too, for example letting you drag and drop colors from one scene to another, and having lights blink when you select them, so you can easily tell which one you’re editing.

But what really sets iConnectHue apart from many of the other third-party apps is its robust support for animation. If you’ve ever wanted to have your colored Hue lights change tones and intensity to a preset pattern, well, iConnectHue delivers in spades. It offers a variety of preset animations, along with more packages you can grab as in-app purchases for just $2. Some of the animations are simple one-and-dones: dimming lights à la sunset or slowly brightening them like sunrise; others are more complex, rotating through a sequence of colors like your own disco or rave. With an in-app purchase, you can even design your own animations.

This past Halloween, I used iConnectHue to set up a spooky set of changing color lights in our front room for the kids coming by to trick and treat. Combined with some spooky music playing out of our Sonos speakers, it was a quick and easy way to add some holiday flavor. iConnectHue also offers Christmas-themed animation packages, as well as more generic animations.

There are a ton more features in iConnectHue, including sleep timers, powerful automation based on conditions, interaction with the new Hue Entertainment features, and way, way more. More than a few of them do require in-app purchases to take advantage of, but you can do a lot with even the base $5 app. If you’re looking to take your smart lights game to the next level, iConnectHue is an indispensable part of your arsenal.

[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Twitter at @dmoren or reach him by email at dan@sixcolors.com. His latest novel, The Nova Incident, comes out in July and is available to pre-order now, so do it!]

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