Philips Hue accidentally leaks its own cool new smart home lighting upgrade

Now you see it, now you don't: Natural Light is coming, but somebody pressed the go button at Philips Hue too early

Philips Hue natural light smart home lighting upgrade shown on mobile phone
(Image credit: Hueblog)

I love my Philips Hue lights: I've got smart bulbs in every room, a sync box and gradient strip for my TV and I'm keen to get my hands on the outdoor portable Hue light that's coming in late summer. I think Hue is the best smart lighting system around, and it's about to get a whole lot better. I know this thanks to a new leak from, er, Hue.

Hue is bringing new Natural Light scenes to its Scene Gallery, and while the feature hasn't launched yet Hue accidentally enabled it in the app. reader Sebastian spotted it before Philips removed it again: the scene was available via the new search feature coming to the Scene Gallery, but it's since been taken out.

I hope they put it back soon, because this is a really great feature.

Why natural light will brighten your day

I spent many years in horrible buildings lit with horrible artificial light, and the difference decent, more natural light makes is really dramatic. In a typical office environment artificial light makes me feel really lethargic and tends to bring on headaches; stick me next to a window and I'll feel and work much better. Unfortunately I live in Scotland so even that's only available some of the year: once we get past the summer months I'm firing up the SAD lamp and munching vitamin D.

Natural lighting attempts to mimic the sun by changing the colour temperature of your lights throughout the day. That means cooler tones first thing in the morning, with the light getting warmer as the day progresses. In the screenshots of the Hue implementation it shows a blueish cast until 10am, moving through white in the middle of the day and then becoming more yellow from late afternoon onwards. After dinner the tone is a welcoming warm yellowy-orange. You can adjust the transition times and the colour temperatures to suit your own preferences. 

Philips isn't the first to bring this kind of lighting to smart homes: Apple introduced Adaptive Lighting for HomeKit lights in iOS 14, with compatibility for the likes of Hue and Eve. But having it right there in the Hue app means it's going to be available to many more people, and as the good weather starts to fade in the coming months that means it'll help a lot of people feel better too.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (