Hueblog: Why the new Philips Hue app doesn’t offer widgets on iPhone and iPad

Why the new Philips Hue app doesn’t offer widgets on iPhone and iPad

Siri shortcuts as an alternative on iOS

Since Thursday, the new Philips Hue app is available for iOS and Android. And there is one major criticism, especially among iPhone and iPad users: the previously available Today view widgets have been completely removed from the new Hue app. Why Signify had no other choice, I'll explain in this article.

“When we started the project, we simply wanted to adopt the existing widget in exactly the same way,” Hue creator George Yianni tells us about the original plans. At least in theory, there would have been even more possibilities, because after all, Apple introduced the new homescreen widgets with iOS 14, which offer many more options.

“However, each of these widgets must open the associated app if an action has to be performed. And if the app has to open, then the idea of the widget is lost,” George Yianni continues. The only hope at the moment: Apple will present new features for iOS 15 at its big developer conference next week.

Hue widgets on iOS currently only possible with shortcuts

For a widget that allows control from the homescreen, Philips Hue had to rely on Siri shortcuts, which can be placed as small icons on the homescreen, for the completely redesigned app. “These shortcuts are very versatile, but they take up a lot more space and aren't as pretty,” explains George Yianni, who notes in the end, “Unfortunately, we had no other choice.”

By the way, there are some changes for Android users as well, although they are not nearly as big. For example, previously you could make one big widget with four buttons, but with the new app you can only make individual widgets with one button – but four of them are just as big. “Also, you can no longer create widget buttons that control multiple rooms at once. From our point of view, that works much more intuitively with zones and offers the same possibilities in the end.”

Philips Hue
Philips Hue
Price: Free
‎Philips Hue
‎Philips Hue
Price: Free+

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Check your local Philips Hue Online Store for availability of Hue products in your country. There you will also find all the technical information and prices.

In den letzten Jahren habe ich mich zu einem echten Experten in Sachen Hue & HomeKit entwickelt. Mittlerweile habe ich über 50 Lampen und zahlreiche Schalter im Einsatz. In meinem kleinen Blog teile ich meine Erfahrungen gerne mit euch.

Comments 39 replies

  1. The negative reaction has echos of the last app rebuild. Personally, I really like the new app, although I would like to see more advanced configuration options added around sensors and controls.

  2. As far as the android changes are concerned, they are complete garbage. You can create a widget that performs one action. Either turning off a light, or last state which is also the current state so useless. Also, the previous widget could be expanded beyond just for “switches” by simply expanding the widget space on screen then adding more “switches” in the app to the widget. The new app my look “prettier” but it’s functionality is exactly the same. Less any widgets for any users regardless of phone ecosystem of choice. Signify really screwed the pooch with this update and actually has me actively looking at other smart bulb options before they make more horrible decisions regarding user experience.

  3. I just want my Hue controls I have on iPhone control centre ported over to my Apple TV control centre 😭

  4. Not all widget options had to necessarily open the app. There were quick buttons to change hue or brightness. Super convenient for bedroom lights, just a flip and a tap away. These people didn’t know how to use their own app.

  5. Bring back the widgets. I don’t want the shortcuts cluttering my Home Screen and I certainly don’t want to talk to my f…ing phone!

  6. Bring back the hue widgets! This new shortcuts to widget thing is useless and slow. Don’t fix what isn’t broking. If this doesn’t change I’ll just switch brands and tell people to stay away from hue!

  7. Don’t know that I completely understand the explanation, as I don’t really even see what the new app brings to the table that was so necessary for them to remove useful functionality like widgets. Luckily I still have the original hue app installed and can use those widgets.

  8. How in the world did you remove the most practical, useful and irreplaceable aspect of the entire hue experience? Absolutely maddening. Truly embarrassing stuff

  9. Use(d) the widget at least 20 times a day! I want it back. And also not very happy with the design of the new app. Generally I love updates to apps and GUI’s and better developed applications overall, but this is not a step forward. Anybody else also having the “Connecting to Hue” notification happening while in the new app?

  10. Shortcuts, 🤯 your having an absolute laugh, just get some decent programmers stop hiring cheap its a fix that would take all of 5 minutes and you wouldn’t have all this backlash. Put the only hue saving grace back, widgets. Poor performance Phillips

  11. This is SO ANNOYING. I have wasted an hour of my life trying to get the widgets back only to learn that it isn’t even an option. Figure out a way to get these back.

  12. Wow, what a failure. Just tried to get the same kind of widget-settings I used for the last few years into Shortcuts, hellish. Please, please, please bring back the widgets.

  13. Wow, what a failure. Just tried to get the same kind of widget-settings I used for the last few years into Shortcuts, hellish. Please, please, please bring back the widgets.

  14. I only use the Hue app because of the widget. What’s the point if you can’t make ut work? Pls rollback the version!

  15. Iphone widgets are not more versatile. I used to be able to select the brightness and color the lights would turn on to. Now it’s just on/off. Very dissappointed.

  16. If you remove widget feature, at least you give your customer a way to export their old widget settings to the new shortcut system. And there is no such thing, it’s just been obliterated completely.

    I have a full room of hue lights, literature few tens of widget settings and it’s now all gone.

  17. No widgets is bullshit, shaft cuts are garbage and rarely work like they’re supposed to.
    Please bring back the old widget system

  18. Sooooooooooooooooo annoying. I literally never used the app before and only used the widgets. The app update has only extremely negative value for me.

    No longer a fan of hue.

    LIFX bulb still has the widgets there.

  19. This is the WORST choice Hue ever made. The widget is the most useful function by far.
    Imagine owing a TV that lacks the remote. My hue bulbs are now as usefull: I turn them on using my house’s switches.. Not changing the color anymore.
    Their explanation on why they removed the Widget is PURE BS.
    The widget did not have to open the app to work. LUCKILY YOU CAN STILL USE A WIDGET IF YOU HAD THE V1 APP!!
    Now we’re left with stupid shortcuts that doesn’t turn off lights when pressed again and take twice more space (4 if you take the second “off” button you need to create).

    I will not buy Hue bulbs anymore because they are now unusable. Screw the one who had this idea.
    And the new UI is more confusing than ever.

  20. Get my Widgets back !!!
    No more Hue light buying!
    Spend too much time fuss around Shortcut that so obsolete.

  21. This version is useless. Bring back the widgets! I always used those and only used the app for configurations…

  22. Well, developers and users seem to disagree on what is good UX experience. I would listen to the users. The developers are lost… Give us the widgets back!

  23. Hey, I don’t mind if widgets will open Hue app until Apple make some changes. I want to use widgets no matter what. Care to add at least an option?

  24. Really incredible they removed this feature, it was the most accessible and brilliant part of the app. Being able to easily swipe to the widget and change brightness presets on the fly was 99% of the user experience after setting up using the app.

  25. This is so stupid and more complicated. I used to be able to walk into the room and easily turn on/off, choose or swap between scenes I’ve setup easily with the widgets and now it’s stupid complicated and slow AF. What moron thought this was an improvement? I get the idea that you’re looking to change and add features but there’s no cost to keep a feature that already exists.

    I’m so bitter and annoyed. I’ve spent SO MUCH MONEY setting up my house with these lights and now it’s a huge waste of time and super frustrating.

    I especially regret updating the app. I want to go back to a older version. This is a step backwards and a huge pain in the ass. For the love of god at least warn your customers you’re going to remove these features BEFORE they update the app.

    I’m done recommending this garbage to my friends and coworkers. I cannot express my disappointment enough.

  26. My previous high opinion of Hue, which I shared with others often, is down the toilet!
    Change is good only if it offers more simplicity, speed or better features (remember your slogan Philips – “Sense and Simplicity” ?) The new Hue app, simply put, stinks! Not simple, not more sensible – so Why, why why …. ?!? So damn frustrating.
    You are turning into GE with your lack of customer satisfaction. Not a place you want to be! Done buying Hue, as are many others – better sit up and take notice Philips.


    I have installed a total of 140 Hue lamps in my apartment. These are roughly evenly distributed across three bridges. Since I have a lot of RGB lamps and light sources in the living room, I installed 3 of the Senic-Gira switches on the bridge to be able to switch scenes. I created my widget with the “Shortcuts” app from Apple (iPhone 15 latest IOS). Since I added the 3 Senic switches to the bridge, the widgets I created no longer work. Only the lamps that are in the same bridge are switched.

    Shortcuts for the lamps on the other 2 bridges work without any problems. As soon as I delete the switches from the bridge, the shortcuts work again. Does anyone else have the same problem? Does anyone know about this software bug?

    fyi: I don’t use any third-party apps other than Philips Hue to switch the lamps, nor do I have any other product that supports the Zigbee protocol. I would be happy to provide more information.


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