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Philips Hue 3 upgrades smart lighting app with refined design, fast controls, photo scenes

Philips is releasing a major new version of its iOS app this month that gives the smart lighting controller an updated look while restoring some missing features. The new version includes 30 new lighting scenes and brings back a feature that lets you turn photos into lighting scenes.

Hue says it consulted lighting designers, UX experts, and customers in developing today’s 3.0 update:

“Our new look app is easier to use than ever. New features include shortcuts which make setting up rooms a breeze, new color pickers as well as 30 new scenes that allow instant scene setting to match your mood or that special moment,” said Jasper Vervoort, Head of Marketing and Product Management, Home Systems & Luminaires at Philips Lighting.

”In designing the upgrade, we took advice from lighting designers, user experience specialists and, most importantly, from our customers. The result is an app befitting the world’s most loved smart home lighting system.”

Hue 3.0 isn’t a total redesign from scratch either — more so a refinement — so it shouldn’t be overwhelming for users like previous upgrades. Instead, the new design is visually less rough around the edges and generally smoother and more responsive to color and lighting changes.

One new feature to try is long-pressing on tiles to quickly change light colors or select from your four most recently used scenes. This feature is a bit hidden since you can also tap on a tile to access standard controls, but it should be useful once you learn it.

The new version also replaces the full-screen color map with a simpler color picker wheel, and scenes can once again be created from user images — a feature available in version 1 but removed in version 2.

The app also comes with 30 new scenes, handpicked from our lighting designers. With a simple tap, you can enjoy a sunset in Honolulu or a night out in London’s Soho district, and match the lighting to your mood. Also, the app update gives you more scenes to choose from and lets you easily create your own personal scenes. The app extracts the relevant colors from your favorite pictures and intelligently applies them to your lights, bringing your pictures to life.

Philips Hue 3 is hitting the App Store this month. Philips Hue smart light starter kits that work with Apple HomeKit and Amazon Alexa start for around $99.

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Avatar for Zac Hall Zac Hall

Zac covers Apple news for 9to5Mac and hosts the 9to5Mac Happy Hour and 9to5Mac Watch Time podcasts.