Philips Hue Will Soon Require Online Accounts to Control Lights

Not everyone is happy about it.

Philips Hue was one of the first options for smart light bulbs, and the company has expanded over the years to include light strips, accent lighting for computer desks, and even smart cameras. Unlike many other smart home ecosystems, you didn’t strictly need an online account to set up and manage devices on your local network. Unfortunately, that’s now changing, and not everyone is happy about it.

According to screenshots shared on Reddit, Philips Hue app now displays a message stating, “A Hue account lets us send important, security-related information straight to you. Starting soon, you’ll need to be signed in.” Another screen explains that the email address won’t be used for marketing purposes without consent. The X (Twitter) account for Philips Hue confirmed the change in a post, stating, “Believe us, this change can only benefit the users, when it comes to security. Soon it will indeed be mandatory to have a Hue account in order to control the lights.”

The option for completely local control made Hue popular among buyers concerned with the privacy problems of other smart home solutions — a perfectly reasonable position — and many of those people are now upset. “Well looks like I’ll have to change every light in my house. I purchased them specifically because they don’t need an account to work,” one person said, while another complained, “The problem is privacy, the data they collect, will the app work if my internet connection goes down, in the future will they start charging for features.”

It doesn’t seem like this change affects the ability for Hue lights to be controlled entirely through your local network, so if your internet connection goes down (or the servers for Hue), your lights should continue working. However, you would need to sign in through the app for at least the initial setup. After that, third-party controlling services like Home Assistant should still work.

We’ve reached out to Signify (the company that owns Philips Hue) to clarify if any functionality will break because of the login requirement. This article will be updated when we hear back.

Source: Reddit, Twitter/X