Philips Hue is the biggest name in smart lighting, and by most measures, Alexa is still the best smart assistant, so it figures that the two have come together in smart home harmony.
Or at least mostly harmonious, since there can be the occasional glitch where lights don’t respond. If you’re experiencing such issues, then here’s our guide on how to tackle Philips Hue lights that won’t work with Alexa. Below, we’ll run through some of the most common problems that arise when using Hue with Alexa, and how to get address them.
First of all, try turning it off and on again…
We know, we know… But honestly, many of our Philips Hue and Alexa problems have been fixed with the classic turn-off-and-on-again routine, so we implore you to try it. After all, it’s a much easier route to take than a full factory reset. We recommend unplugging the Hue bridge, giving it a few seconds, and then plugging it back in again. Give it a short while to reboot and reconnect with all of your lights. Do the same with the Echo speaker(s), too.
You could also try cycling the power of the glitchy Hue bulb(s) by simply switching them on and off from their power source, either at the light switch or power socket.
Related: Amazon Alexa guide
Disable (and re-enable) the Alexa skill
In order to use Hue with Alexa, you’ll have to enable the Hue skill in the Alexa app. At times, where Alexa seems to have lost its connection with Hue, disabling and re-enabling the skill has solved the issue. To do this, go into the Alexa app and tap the menu button (top left); then select Skills & Games. Select Your Skills from the top menu, select the Philips Hue Skill and tap Disable Skill. Tap Enable To Use to switch it back on. You’ll be prompted to reconnect and authorise your Hue account.
Solve grouping problems
You can use groups to put your Hue lights in the same room as your Echo, so you can simply speak commands such as “Alexa, turn the lights off.” It’s great in theory, but we’ve encountered instances where not all of the lights respond.
Part of the problem is how Alexa sees Hue lights: it can see both individual lights and the group names you set in the Hue app. For example, your kitchen may consist of multiple individual bulbs and a group called Kitchen lights. Our advice is to add both individual lights and the groups to rooms. Our guide on how to create Alexa smart home groups explains how you go about this.
Fix unresponsive lights
If you have only one light that won’t respond, it could be the result of a couple of issues. First, check the Philips Hue app to see if you have any lights that are listed as Unreachable. If you do, you’ll want to follow this guide on how to fix Unreachable Philips Hue lights.
If this doesn’t fix your problem, or you don’t have any Unreachable lights, then one method that often addresses grouping problems is to simply remove the glitchy light and re-add it.
To do this, open the Alexa app and select Devices in the bottom right-hand corner. Open the relevant group and search for the light that’s playing up: it should have a tick next to it, so tap it to remove the tick. Hit Save, then select the group again, tap on the light so that the tick appears and hit Save again.
Try asking Alexa to turn on the group and your missing light should now be back in action.
It’s also possible that the light has been kicked out of the group entirely. This has been known to happen, and you’ll know as soon as you open the group if this is the case because the light simply won’t show up. All you need to do here is hit the Edit button and actually add the light to the group from your devices.
Avoid duplicating your Hue lights
One major Hue headache can arise when Alexa duplicates your lights in the app. This makes everything will go south, as Alexa will start responding to your requests by informing you that there are multiple devices with the same name.
Duplication can happen when you bring another system into the equation – such as Samsung SmartThings, for example. Say you connect your Hue lights to Samsung SmartThings and to Alexa individually, and then connect SmartThings to Alexa, you’ll find this causes your Hue devices to clone in the Alexa app. It’s a nightmare that’s best avoided by connecting Hue to only one system (in this example, Alexa).
To fix the problem, wipe away the devices and re-pair. Sometimes, completely deleting devices from Alexa can be difficult; reconnecting them will cause Alexa to automatically rediscover all of the same devices. One solution is to use the Alexa web interface to forget your Hue lights, rather than the app, and then start again.
In third-party systems, you can usually use an option to set which devices are visible to Alexa. It’s worth removing all Hue lights to avoid duplication in the future.