How to control the lights in your house with Siri

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Tech Guide

How to control the lights in your house with Siri

Handout: Philips Hue
Philips

There's one super simple product I've added to my house that seems to impress visitors every time they stop by: Smart lights.

You don't have to be a brainiac to install your own smart lights, and controlling them with your smartphone or voice is as simple as owning the right products. Here's a quick guide to adding your own smart light bulbs to your house. Also, as a side note, this guide can help get you most of the way (or all the way) to getting your bulbs up and running for control through Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, too, though for the sake of simplicity we're sticking with Apple's Siri.

Don't worry; it's not as hard as it sounds.


  • Buy the right lights. I highly recommend the second-generation Philips Hue White A19 starter kit. It’s only $70 and includes the required base station and two light bulbs. You can always add more bulbs, and you only need one hub (until you have 50 lights), so this is a good place to begin.


    Handout: Hue starter kit
    Apple
  • Next you’ll just take the bulbs in the kit and replace them in the lamps that you want to “smarten” up. Just unscrew the old bulbs and add the new ones. Flip on the lights.


    Handout: Hue lamp
    Philips
  • Take the Hue hub out of the box. This is a small square box that plugs right into the back of your router. Another wire plugs right into a wall outlet.


    Handout: Hue basestation
    Apple
  • Now download the Philips Hue app from the app store. It works on Android and iOS devices. It’ll walk you through setup of the bridge and lights in a matter of seconds, and that’s basically all there is to it. At this point, you’ll be able to control your lights through the Hue app on your phone. Let’s take it a step further.


    CNBC: Hue app
    Todd Haselton | CNBC
  • Open the Hue App, tap Settings and then tap “HomeKit and Siri.” The app will open up a camera viewfinder, which you’ll point at a small pairing code on the bottom of your Philips Hue base station. Sometimes you need to enter the code manually.


    CNBC: Hue App 2
    Todd Haselton | CNBC
  • Now you’re ready to test Siri. You need to make sure you’re connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your Hue bridge. If you are, just open Siri and say “Turn on my lights.” The Hue lights should turn on or off.


    CNBC: Siri lights
    Todd Haselton | CNBC
  • You can also control your lights with the Apple Home app on your iPhone, in case you have other HomeKit accessories and want to manage everything in one place. Here are all of my lights.


    CNBC: Apple Home
    Todd Haselton | CNBC
  • Own an Apple TV? If so, it’s capable of serving as a smart-home hub, allowing you to control your lights even when you aren’t in the house. Just open Settings > Accounts > iCloud and connect HomeKit. You can do the same from an iPad by going to Settings > iCloud and turning on iCloud Keychain and Home, then going to Settings > Home and activating the option to “Use this iPad as Home Hub.”

    Handout: Home Hub
    Apple