A total reset is probably your best option
As we have written about on GearBrain before, it can make sense to leave some smart home devices behind when you move to a new house or apartment.
Smart lighting is an obvious example here, especially if you have a home full of lights that, if left in place, could become an attractive selling point for buyers.
If you have just a couple of smart lights scattered around, then by all means take them with you. But if you have smart lights spread across the ceilings of every room, connected lighting installed in the garden and switches fitted throughout the home, buyers might well pay a premium to inherit your old tech.
For this piece we will look at Philips Hue, as it is one of the most popular smart lighting systems. That said, the guidance here can be applied to other systems too. As with leaving any smart home devices behind when you move, the key here is to completely log yourself out of the system and leave it in a state where the buyer can easily set everything up for themselves.
Deleting individual bulbs from your Hue system
If you plan to leave just a few bulbs behind – such as those more permanently installed in the garden – the best option is to take the rest of the system with you, including the Bridge, sensors and switches, and delete the bulbs you leave behind.
To delete a Hue bulb from your system, follow these instructions:
Now, when the buyer moves in and connects a Hue Bridge of their own, the deleted bulbs will be ready to add to their system.
What to do with a Hue Bridge when moving house
The heart of a Hue system is the Bridge. This connects to your internet router and to every Hue device in your home. In theory, you could take your Hue Bridge with you when moving home, then connect it to a new set of bulbs at the new property, while leaving the buyer of your home to add a new Bridge of their own.
However, this could cause problems when setting up your new system and we think it is best to make a clean break and a fresh start, especially given how complicated smart lighting systems, along with their various accessories and third-party integration, can be.
If you plan to leave more than just a handful of bulbs behind, we suggest you leave the entire system, including switches, sensors and the Bridge.
You cannot hand over a Philips Hue account to a new owner
In an ideal world, it would be possible to change the email address of your Hue account to that of the new owner. That way, they could log in and take over your system, complete with bulb names, rooms and automations already setup. Unfortunately, this is not possible. The email address associated with a Hue account cannot be changed.
Factory resetting a Hue Bridge
Instead, we recommend giving the buyer a fresh start. This means a factory reset of the Bridge, which cuts all ties between the bulbs, switches and other accessories, and deletes room names, zones and automation too.
To do this, locate your Hue Bridge, turn it over and press a paperclip or similar into the hole labeled 'restore factory settings'. Hold the button for a few seconds until the Bridge light flashes, and the system will be restored to an as-new state.
Now, when the buyer moves in they can create a new Hue account from scratch, connect the Bridge to their router and set up an entirely new smart lighting system. All of the bulbs and accessories you left behind will be reset too, ready to be reconnected to the Bridge and given whatever names the new owner wants. They can then split the lights up into rooms and create automations to suit their own preferences.
A factory reset is also the best course of action if you have connected your Hue system with Alexa, Google Home or Apple HomeKit, as it removes those ties and means there is no way of you accidentally retaining control of the Hue devices you leave behind.
To conclude, whatever smart lighting system you have, we recommend you delete the individual lights you plan to leave behind (if taking the rest of the system with you), or to factory reset the system if you aren't taking it to your new home. Even if transferring ownership of an account is possible, we would not recommend taking this route. It may be the quickest and simplest way to hand over control – and save the buyer from setting everything up again – but for peace of mind we recommend factory resetting and making a fresh start.
GearBrain shows Alexa and Google Assistant controlling the Philips Hue Go www.youtube.com