Why is Philips Hue Unreachable? (4 Main Reason Explained)

James Beetie portrait pic

Philips Hue is one of the most popular smart lighting systems, allowing users to remotely control their lights and change colors and brightness from their smartphone. However, Hue users frequently encounter frustrating issues with lights showing as “unreachable” in the Hue app. Despite being connected to power, these unreachable lights fail to respond to commands or sync settings with the rest of the system.

There are a variety of factors that can cause Hue lights to display as unreachable. Issues with connectivity between the Hue bridge and individual lights, networking problems that disrupt communication between the bridge and router, glitches with the Hue app’s link to the bridge, and even overloading the bridge with too many connected lights can all lead to reachability problems.

There are a few potential reasons why a Hue system may become unreachable.

1. Connectivity Issues Between Bridge and Lights

The Philips Hue system relies on the Hue bridge to communicate with the individual Hue smart bulbs. The bridge connects to your home WiFi network, using Zigbee to connect to the lights directly. If the connectivity between the bridge and the lights is disrupted, the lights will appear as “unreachable” in the app.

Potential connectivity issues include:

  • Faulty or dying Hue bulb – If a bulb is defective or reaching the end of its lifespan, it may fail to communicate properly with the bridge. This will cause it to display as unreachable.
  • Bridge too far from lights – The Hue bridge should be within 30 feet of any Hue lights for best results. Placing the bridge too far away can cause connectivity issues.
  • Interference from other wireless devices – Nearby devices using the 2.4 GHz WiFi band can interfere with the Zigbee communication between the bridge and lights.

Troubleshooting Connectivity Issues of Philips Hue Unreachable

If connectivity issues are suspected, try the following troubleshooting steps:

  • Power cycle the Hue bridge and lights – Unplug and replug the bridge and lights to reset the connection.
  • Move the bridge closer to the problematic lights – Place the bridge within 30 feet for the strongest signal.
  • Check for interference from other wireless devices – Turn off nearby Bluetooth, WiFi, or Zigbee devices to test for interference.
  • Swap in a known good Hue bulb – Replace a potentially faulty bulb to see if the new one connects properly.
  • Update Hue bridge and lamps to the latest firmware – Outdated firmware can cause connectivity problems.

2. Networking Issues Preventing Bridge Access

The Hue bridge must maintain a solid network connection to the router in order to be controlled remotely by the app. Networking problems that affect the bridge’s connectivity can make the lights appear unreachable.

Potential networking issues include:

  • Bridge disconnected from WiFi: If the bridge loses its WiFi connection, remote access will fail.
  • Router firmware/settings changed: Updates to the router firmware or settings could accidentally disrupt the bridge connection.
  • IP address conflict: If the bridge’s IP address overlaps with another device, connectivity issues will occur.
  • Network congestion: Heavy congestion on the network can interfere with bridge communication.

Diagnosing and Fixing Networking Problems

If you suspect a network issue is preventing remote access to the bridge, try:

  • Power cycle the bridge – Unplug and replug the bridge to reset networking components.
  • Check router connections – Ensure router WiFi is working properly for other devices. Reboot the router if needed.
  • Verify bridge WiFi settings – Double check the bridge is still connected to the correct router WiFi SSID.
  • Renew bridge IP address – Use the Hue app to assign a fresh IP address to the bridge.
  • Check for IP conflicts – Scan the network for devices with duplicate IPs as bridges and change as needed.
  • Reduce network congestion – Limit streaming, downloads, and other heavy traffic that could interfere.

3. App Connectivity Issues Between Phone and Bridge

In order to control the Hue system remotely, the Hue app must maintain a steady connection between your mobile device and the bridge over the local network. Any connectivity problems will result in the lights showing as unreachable.

App connectivity issues that can occur include:

  • Outdated Hue app: Old versions of the app may suffer from bugs affecting connectivity.
  • The app needs to be restarted. Closing and reopening the app can clear up temporary connection glitches.
  • Changes to the phone OS or settings: Updates to the phone OS or cellular or WiFi settings could disrupt the app connection.
  • Too much distance from the router: Being too far from the router’s WiFi can lead to poor connectivity between the app and the bridge.

Troubleshooting the App’s Connection

To troubleshoot the app connection and get the lights reachable again:

  • Update the Hue app to the latest version: Install any available updates for the app.
  • Force close and reopen the Hue app: Restarting the app often resolves temporary issues.
  • Verify phone WiFi settings: Make sure the phone is connected to the same router network as the Hue bridge.
  • Move the phone closer to the router: Poor signal between the phone and router can prevent proper app communication.
  • Reset app authorization: Go into the Hue app settings and remove, then re-add the Hue bridge to re-authorize app access.

4. Bridge Overload from Too Many Lights

The Hue bridge can only handle connecting to a certain number of lights – around 50 is the recommended maximum.

The bridge can become overloaded if you expand your Hue system past this amount. This can cause connectivity and responsiveness issues, showing lights as unreachable.

To minimize bridge overload issues:

  • Upgrade to Hue Hub 2.0: The latest version of the bridge can handle more lights—up to 100.
  • For split lights across multiple bridges, consider adding a second bridge for larger installs. Keep 50 or fewer lights per bridge.
  • Limit use of resource-heavy features – Features like entertainment zones and dynamic scenes require more resources. Use judiciously.
  • Remove unused lights – Delete old or rarely used lights from the bridge to free up capacity.
  • Add a Hue range extender – Extenders help strengthen the signal between the bridge and distant lights to improve performance.


Philips Hue lights suddenly becoming unreachable can be annoying and disruptive. However, the issue can be resolved in most cases by troubleshooting the potential causes and carefully going through connectivity diagnostics between the app, bridge, router, and lights. Keeping the Hue system firmware updated, minimizing wireless interference, and maintaining reasonable loads on the bridge will help maximize responsiveness and reachability. With proper care and maintenance, a Hue system can deliver smart lighting connectivity reliably.

James Beetie portrait pic
About James Beetie

James - a self-confessed nerd - has owned smart home equipment for close to a decade, and he loves communicating the best ways of setting them up... and resolving the various bugs and issues that you'll no doubt come across!