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HomeKit Weekly: Despite a slow rollout, Adaptive Lighting in iOS 14 is one of the best new HomeKit features

Adaptive lighting in HomeKit was one of the new features from Apple in iOS 14. While it took a while for manufacturers to begin rolling it out, I’ve finally been able to spend a few weeks with it. It’s another way that HomeKit is providing experiences to automate your life for the better.

HomeKit Weekly is a series focused on smart home accessories, automation tips and tricks, and everything to do with Apple’s smart home framework.

At the moment, only a handful of devices support Adaptive Lighting in HomeKit are a few Philips Hue bulbs (Ambiance and multi-colored) and the Eve light strip. Since Adaptive Lightning is only a few months old, it’s probable that many more HomeKit light bulb manufacturers will add this feature soon, though. Here’s how Apple describes Adaptive Lighting:

Light bulbs that change color can be automatically adjusted throughout the day to maximize comfort and productivity. You can ease into the morning with warmer colors, stay focused and alert midday with cooler colors, and wind down at night by removing the blue light.

With HomeKit, Apple can use the thousands of available color temperatures for its compatible smart light bulbs to create an automatic schedule that changes colors throughout the day when they’re being used. Once Adaptive Lighting is enabled, HomeKit will adjust colors during the daytime to cooler whites while moving to warmer colors as it gets deeper in the evening.

While I don’t own the Eve light strip, I own some Philips Hue products, and I am delighted with how they work. By using the Hue hub as the HomeKit bridge, they’ve become some of the most reliable HomeKit products that I own. If you own a Hue setup and don’t have the Adaptive Lighting option yet, you’ll need to make sure your Hub is updated to the most recent version.

  1. Open the Hue app and tap Settings.
  2. Scroll down and tap Software Update.
  3. A new version is being searched.
  4. Tap Update to install it. The correct version is 1941132070 of the Philips Hue Bridge. There’s no new update is for the lamps to work with Adaptive Lightning

Once your Hub has updated, you’ll get a notification in your Home app that you now have Adaptive Lighting available, inviting you to select the lights you would like to configure. Even if you dismiss the option to change lights over, you can quickly find them in the Home app and change their color to the first option, the icon for Adaptive Lighting.

In practice, it’s been an excellent addition to HomeKit. HomeKit doesn’t get enough get credit for its year over year changes as smart home additions don’t drive the news cycle like-new iPhone features do, but this year brought several nice enhancements like HomeKit cameras on the Apple TV, face recognition for people in your home, control center enhancements, and much more. My favorite has to be the new Adaptive Lighting. With HomeKit bulbs that offer multiple color options, I sometimes struggled to set it on as the thousands of options give it a paradox of choice situations. The new automatic lighting option has taken the guesswork out of control of the color.

If you want to get started with Adaptive Lighting with HomeKit, purchase either the Eve light strip or a Hue starter kit.

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