Does Philips Hue iOS app work with VoiceOver?

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iOS & iPadOS

I want to use Philips Hue bulbs with my Amazon Echo devices. Can anyone tell me if the Philips app is accessible with Voice Over. Also would I need a Bridge to use the more modern bulbs?

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Submitted by Andy Lane on Saturday, August 15, 2020

Hi, As per my subject line, The strangest thing just happened. I recently added about 6 motion sensors and 4 smart plug sockets to my hue system and over the last week the Hue app has been driving me mental. Its pretty accessible, most of it works with VO however setting up devices like dimmers and motion sensors is not very easy at all you’ll need someone sighted to do it for you. I was accessible but something changed recently and now its a nightmare. You can’t select the right accessory and even if you can most of the options aren’t clickable. The weird thing is that I came here to check if anyone else was having the same problem recently as I’m sure it was fine last time I set up similar devices and your post was top of the list. I’ve never seen anything about Hue on here before although I’m see there are links to Hue articles under yours so it has been discussed in the past but not often. Just strange I thought I’ll check to see and bam... there was your post. The short answer is its pretty accessible. As long as you aren’t trying to do anything too complicated. You can set up lights, turn them on and off etc with no problem at all. As you are setting them up with Alexa you will only need the app once anyway so you’ll be fine. Re the bridge, there are 2, the old one is discontinued and useless now but the second gen is great. It will also enable HomeKit access to the bulbs so you CAN USE SIRI AS WELL AS AMAZON.

Thanks Andy for the useful information. Aye, it's a funny old world. :-]. I really want a smart things app to be able to set up new devices and use them not only with my Amazon Echos but to use advanced features in the app independently. Sighted assistance isn't always available when I want it. Although I've got very little sight left, I am sensitive to light and shade contrasts in home lighting. And, I just fancy the idea of having different lighting schemes. Great fun for family gatherings! I've found other apps like Kasa, Smart Home and TuyaSmart to be pretty inaccessible. Thought that Philips Hew would have been better. Think I'll contact the app developers to tell them that they've lost a good sale due to lack of accessibility. I'd planned to replace all of my smart lights if I could only find one truly accessible app to rule them all.

Submitted by A. Hamilton on Sunday, August 16, 2020

Chris, this is excellent information and just what I needed!
I'd probably go for the bridge and hard wire it to my router and go for a couple of bulbs to start with.
What I really, really want, is to play with colour saturation. So yes I want the ability to go from mint to forest green, get a good dark purple or set up automatic colour change themes for particular occasions. I have a Google Home mini so that might get me close to what I'm after if I can ask for shades by name? I wonder if these colour wheels or sliders in the app could be made accessible. Say you chose a colour and Voice Over could speak in percentages? Or, somehow voice to you that you've gone over from the deep yellows into orange?
The bridge and hew bulbs are definitely a bit pricey but I've faffed with cheaper and less reliable bulbs and their apps for long enough.
Thanks so much for the help.

Submitted by OmniverseAgent on Saturday, September 12, 2020

Chris my God you are an information Goldmine! I literally just decided to start learning about smart home things but I’m starting straight from scratch.

It’s like I know that there is an Alexa… There’s something called Hubs or bridges, something to do with Zigby and somehow you can get three different boxes to connect to your Wi-Fi so you can ask it to turn on the living room light. No clue what I’m doing but hopefully one day I can sort through this tangled mess of gibberish and have a cool robot house

Submitted by DJ on Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Currently discussing accessibility issues with the Hue developers as I am unable to change the fade duration without relying on sighted assistance. No problem adding lights and creating an automation.

They have responded by telling me that this feature is not implemented at this time which is odd because the app for the most part is accessible. If anyone has any further comments re accessibility of the Hue app please add them here.

Submitted by Andy Lane on Wednesday, September 15, 2021

In reply to by DJ

Hi, I wrote a post about this in this thread last year although I don’t actually remember writing it lol. Anyway. You can add new motion sensors if I remember right but you can’t access any of the settings to adjust the parameters that trigger lights. The only thing you can do is double tap the sensor to disable it. If you are speaking to Philips that would be my number 1 request. Many thanks in advance of changes they may make. Fingers crossed.