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New iOS 8 widget lets you control Philips Hue lights from Notifications Center

The Philips Hue smartphone app has come a long way since it was first released, but even so, the process of flipping on your lights with it is still a bit cumbersome. No matter how you approach it, you’ve still got to unlock your phone, open the app, and navigate to the correct tab before you can turn anything on.

philips hue widget ios8But not to worry — thanks to the fact that the Hue API is open to third-party developers, there’s a new tool called Hue Widget that helps streamline the process a bit.

Once installed, the Hue Widget allows you to switch your lights on from the iOS Notification Center. This basically reduces the number of steps required to make things happen. Instead of unlocking your phone and navigating to the app, you can just swipe up from the bottom of the screen and hit a button. The interface is pretty bare-bones, but it still offers access to the Hue App’s most crucial functions — flipping lights on or off, adjusting brightness, and even activating preset lighting scenes.

The app is currently live and available for download in the App Store, but you’ll need to be running iOS 8 in order to install and use it. Unfortunately, iOS 7 doesn’t support widgets, so if you’re still rocking apple’s older OS, you’ll need to upgrade.