Philips Hue bulbs and light strips are some of the most popular smart lighting options on the market. Their easy setup and straightforward operation make them a logical entry point into the world of smart home technology. Philips Hue bulbs are compatible with Apple Homekit, Google Home, and Amazon Alexa.
Thanks to iOS 12 and watchOS 5, Philips Hue lights now work with Siri’s new Shortcuts functionality. If you aren’t familiar with this function, it allows Siri to perform multistep routines with a single word or command phrase. Shortcuts replaces the Workflow app that Apple picked up last year and operates as an integrated IFTTT (If This, Then That) for Apple.
Siri Shortcuts do not add any more functionality to your smart lights, but they do make it easier to access the most commonly used tasks. The app also allows Siri to learn your habits over time. As you interact with Siri and give various commands, she will begin to learn what time you like to change your lights, the colors you prefer, and other data about you.
If you have a certain setting you use often, such as purple and blue lights for gaming sessions, or the “Relax” lighting preset for yoga, you can set up custom phrases to activate these. When you create the shortcut, you will record a voice phrase that Siri will respond to. These settings can be accessed quickly from your lock screen, through a Siri search, or from your watch face. If you sat down on the couch to dig into the latest Call of Duty, you could say, “Hey Siri, gaming mode,” and the lights would switch to your predefined colors.
Shortcuts can also be used to link your smart lights to music and other expanded functions. While these features can already be used, they require multiple steps to make work. For example, to sync your lights with music, you need to use Hue Sync on a laptop or a third-party app on a smartphone. The Shortcuts app lets you link all of these commands together so that a single phrase can have your lights pulsing to the beat.
The Shortcuts app is still new, but there are already a lot of user-generated shortcuts you can save to your device directly from the app. Create your own or browse the gallery to find the shortcut that works for you.