How to stop other people from controlling your smart lights

In the world of connected gadgets, smart lights are an easy favorite. With a simple tap or voice command, you can change up the entire lighting scene in your house. Unfortunately, no gadget is perfect and one of the downsides of devices being always connected is that there is a chance they can be controlled by someone you don't want, whether that be someone with bad intentions, or simply a former roommate or partner. There's no need to worry, however, because we've compiled an easy guide to ensure that your gadgets are as protected as they can be. If you need to reclaim control of you smart lights, follow the steps below.

Note that the product we discuss in this guide is the Philips Hue but many of these principles will apply to other smart lights as well.

Products used in this guide

First things first

The first thing we will want to do is to reset the name and password of your home Wi-Fi network. These steps can vary slightly depending on who your internet provider is but they should follow the same basic order.

  1. On the back of your router, no matter if it was provided by your internet provider or if you bought it on your own, there should be instructions to access the router. These instructions will include a website you need to visit beginning with the numbers 192, then there should be an access code.
  2. Go to the website and access the security settings for your router.
  3. Change the name of your Wi-Fi network. Feel free to choose something fun.
  4. Make sure to change the password as well. Don't forget to store the password somewhere you will remember it. I prefer a password keeper like 1Password myself.
  5. Close your browser window.
  6. Now for the annoying part. You will need to re-login to every device you have connected to your network. It's a pain but it's necessary.

Part two

After you reset your Wi-Fi network name and password, you will need to reset the Hue Bridge to its factory settings, then reconnect all your lights to it. It's a bit of a pain but it's worth the added security.

  1. First, unplug the ethernet cable from your Hue Bridge.
  2. On the back of the Bridge, press and hold the reset button for five seconds. You'll need a paper clip or other small pointed tool for this.
  3. In the Hue App, log back in to your Hue Bridge.
  4. Go to the settings and reconnect your lights.

Congrats! You can now rest easy again that no one but you (and others who you choose to give access to) can get at your smart lights. If you had a recent breakup, a roommate moved out, or essentially anyone who previously had access is no longer around, now they have no way of controlling your lights without your permission.

Our top pick

The Philips Hue Bridge that is one of the most popular smart hubs around. We chose Philips Hue for this guide as it is the most common connected ecosystem for households, especially in the U.S. In addition, most other smart home systems will have the same set of processes for resetting and reconnecting their devices.

Jason Cockerham