Philips will release a revamped iOS and Android app for controlling its Hue smart lights this month. The updated Hue app largely works and is laid out the same as the existing one, but it’s been redesigned to appear a lot more modern — the old app looked like it was made for Android in 2011 — and to be a little bit faster to use.
I’ve been using a beta of the updated Hue app for the past few days, and while it’s definitely an improvement over the old app, there isn’t really much that’s changed. On Android, the app now has tabs on the bottom (instead of the top), like the iOS app. But mostly, there are just some minor visual differences, like rounded corners and more compact controls.
Philips says it’s redesigned the app to make it easier to quickly get to whatever controls you’re looking for, but I’m not so sure it accomplishes that. Every option is still there; they’re just slightly shifted around in ways that seem neither helpful nor detrimental.
That said, the new app is still an improvement. It feels a little snappier and more responsive to me, which makes it at least somewhat nicer to use than before. I still found the logging-in process — which kicks you out to a web browser — to be strange. I also had to do it three times, for some reason. And syncing problems still pop up when you’re trying to control the lights remotely.
Still, one of the great things about the latest versions of iOS and Android is that... you don’t have to use this app at all. Once you’ve got everything set up in the Hue app, Siri and Google Assistant are both able to control everything through voice commands.
Until I got the beta for testing, it had been months since I last opened the Hue app. This updated version will make things somewhat nicer the next time I open it back up, but I don’t expect I’ll have to for some time.
Philips didn’t say exactly when the updated Hue app will be available. It’s supposed to launch on iOS and Android sometime “this month.”