Skip to main content

How to easily automate smart lights

The whole point of getting smart lights is so they can activate on their own without you needing to step in. Every smart light comes with its own native application that includes basic automations, like setting a schedule, or turning them off when you leave the house. We’re going to run through some of the ways you can activate these automations with the most popular smart light platforms available.

How to set a light schedule with Philips Hue

Philips Hue four pack of smart bulbs with hub.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Philips Hue is one of the most popular smart lights available, and it has an entire menu within its app for automations. The easiest way to get started with them is to use one of the prebuilt automations (aka recipes). These include recipes for common use cases like waking up with light, going to sleep, and coming home. Here’s how to build an entirely customized schedule.

  1. Tap the Automations tab at the bottom of the Hue app.
  2. Tap Create automation.
  3. Scroll down and tap Custom.
  4. Select a start time.
  5. Select an end time.
  6. Select dates to activate, and tap Next.
  7. Select which rooms for the schedule to activate in, and tap Next.
  8. Select which color recipe should activate, and tap Next.
  9. Type a name for the automation, and tap Done.
  10. Hue can use your location to determine times for sunrise and sunset. This way the light schedule remains dynamic, and can kick in at relative times, like 15 minutes before sunset.

The Philips Labs has a wide selection of fancier automations that are worth digging into if you want to do something more complicated.

How to set a light schedule with Lifx

Smart home devices LIFX Wi-Fi Smart LED Light Bulb.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

LIFX has a similar menu within its app. Here’s how to use it:

  1. Tap the + icon in the bottom-right corner of the LIFX app.
  2. Tap New Schedule.
  3. Pick either New Schedule (user-set times) or Day & Dusk (times set by sunup and sundown).
  4. Select which lights or groups to activate.
  5. Select when they’re to activate.
  6. Select how frequently the schedule repeats, then tap Save.

You can review the entire schedule by tapping the calendar icon in the top-right corner of the app. LIFX and most other smart bulbs plug into If This Then That (IFTTT), which can connect otherwise independent smart home systems. Be sure to dig into what’s possible with IFTTT to set up more advanced triggers and actions.

How to set a light schedule with Wyze

Wyze Color Bulb and Smart Bulbs in a 4 Pack.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Wyze is a little trickier to set up since its app also houses functions for a wide range of products.

  1. Tap the menu button in the top-right corner of the app.
  2. Tap Add/Edit Rules.
  3. Tap the + button in the top-right corner of the app.
  4. Select Schedule from the list.
  5. Select the bulb for your Device action.
  6. Select the brightness and color for when the bulb turns on, and tap Save.
  7. Select when you’d like to turn the lights off, if at all, and tap Save.
  8. Set which days the automation happens.
  9. Tap Save to complete.

This larger ecosystem can interact seamlessly with one another, so, for example, a light can turn on when the security camera senses motion. Wyze also has a clever “Vacation” mode which turns on random lights while you’re away to give the impression that someone’s home. If you’re looking for more light recipe ideas, these are some of our favorites.

Setting your home lights to a schedule is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what you can do. Here are a few other ways in which you can automate your lights in surprising ways.

Editors' Recommendations

Simon Sage
Simon has been publishing in tech since before the first iPhone was released. When he's not busy lighting a candle for the…
Best smart outdoor floodlights
Arlo Pro 3 Flood Light on white house

Smart outdoor floodlights are an easy way to keep your backyard safe and secure at night. They’re also highly programmable, with many of them offering options to only activate when motion is detected or run in a low light mode as needed. Toss in the ability to sync with the rest of your smart home, versatile smartphone apps, and eye-catching designs, and it’s easy to see why upgrading to a smart floodlight is a great idea.

Finding the right one for your home, however, isn’t always easy. If you need some help sifting through all your options, here’s a look at the best smart outdoor floodlights.

Read more
The best smart home tech for your dorm
Dorm room appliances in a bedroom.

Your dorm is the home base for absolutely everything you do in college. It’s probably a bit cramped, however, and you probably don’t have enough space to bring all your gadgets from back home. But with a bit of ingenuity – and the help of smart home devices – it’s possible to piece together a dorm room that’s perfect for studying, relaxing, and hanging out with friends.

From smart speakers and smart light bulbs to power strips and smart plugs, here’s a look at the best smart home tech for your dorm room.

Read more
Best smart patio lights under $100
Govee Smart Outdoor String Lights set up on patio trellis at night.

Looking to make your backyard a bit more festive before your next summer party? Consider adding a few smart lights to your patio, which give you access to a kaleidoscope of gorgeous colors, can be remotely controlled, and clock in at less than $100. That makes them a great way to upgrade the ambience of your party without breaking your budget.

Once you’re done perusing this guide, be sure to check out our smart light bulb guide to find options for the rest of your home.

Read more