Local control using mobile app?

I'm a refugee from Philips Hue who have just mandated a cloud account in order locally control your devices through their app.

After an intial evaluation of Hubitat it seems awesome in terms of both the hardware hub and dashboard environment. And there is all sorts of references to "local control" and "privacy". For example ...


Keep local control of your device data. Your device data is stored locally, not in the cloud.

However, am I right to understand that Hubitat, just like Philips Hue, requires a cloud account for using the mobile app to access your local devices?

Create a Hubitat account by entering your e-mail address, selecting Create an account, and following the prompts. Creating an account will enable use of the Hubitat mobile app and other cloud features.

When I'm home, I access it with a web browser on my phone, just like the laptop. No cloud. When I'm out and about, the app is required. You can use the app locally if you want. It looks the same to me...maybe it is, lol.

Yes that is correct. In order to onboard a hub when it’s first unboxed, the hub must be registered, which requires an email address.

Once it’s registered, you could completely block the hub from access to the internet if you were so inclined and it would continue to function locally, including access via a web browser. The hub would not be able to get firmware updates, and its internal clock would drift unless you have an NTP server on your local network.

The mobile app, while it is possible to directly access your hub locally, does require your Hubitat account info in order to login to the app.


Technically, if you have a VPN set up, you can connect via the VPN with the mobile device and use a local connection.

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It should be noted that registration, while encouraged, is optional.

Going back to the mobile app, it should be emphasized that it is a completely optional part of the Hubitat experience. You don't need it to administer the hub; that is done completely through a web-based interface on the hub itself. You don't need it to control devices, either; the admin interface can technically do that, though it's not really the best for day-to-day control. Hubitat Dashboard allows you to an interface to control devices locally or (optionally) via the cloud, And while the mobile app also provides an easy way to access these, it's ultimately just a webpage that you can access however you want.

One thing you won't get is the "Lights/Switches" tab in the mobile app, which is sort of a basic dashboard (really just a list) built for you without any effort on your part, I suppose. Smart Start is also currently only available in the mobile app (for certain Z-Wave devices), but I think that's on their list to change, and the traditional inclusion methods (which, FWIW, I prefer anyway) work either way.

If you use Apple products, a Dashboard alternative is enabling the HomeKit integration, then using Apple Home (or any app that can access these devices) to control them locally or, with an Apple Home Hub (HomePod, Apple TV, etc.) optionally also via iCloud. Alexa and Google can do something similar but also require the cloud -- and registration.

Without the mobile app, you'll also have to figure out a way to use other features it offers if those are important to you: notifications, presence detection, etc. But there are many options for all of these (some of us have been using the hub since before the mobile app existed :smiley: ).

PS - If you're planning on using all your Hue bulbs on Hubitat, make sure you read: How to Build a Solid Zigbee Mesh | Hubitat Documentation. Many Zigbee bulbs are known not to "play well" with other devices. I'd honestly keep my Hue Bridge and just integrate devices with Hubitat if I wanted to use them on Hubitat, but I suppose the thought of using a Hue account -- which I suspect the vast majority of users have already had for years, as it enables the use of features they probably want like voice integration or away-from-home control in the app -- doesn't bother me...


I’m not sure I realized it was optional out of the box. Assuming it’s not blocked from the internet, does the hub call out directly for things like time and sunrise/sunset to other services? I thought it all went through the Hubitat cloud. Maybe not.

Sunrise and sunset are calculated locally on the hub based on your latitude/longitude and time zone. The default NTP server does require the Internet (can be changed if you have something local) but doesn't require registration to reach.


Thanks everyone, I'm very grateful for the replies.

Starting with a minor point @marktheknife, as @bertabcd1234 notes, indeed the registration is "optional" (for a value of "optional" which is at issue) according to the docs. At Registration and Setup | Hubitat Documentation there's a section "How to register later" ...

If you skipped registration during intial [sic] setup (as described above), it can also be done later

@bertabcd1234 thank you in particular for all that detail.

What's the last "it's" referencing, the Dashboard or the Mobile App? I suspect you mean the Dashboard. That is, the Dashboard allows you to control devices day-to-day (minus some features from the mobile app) and the Dashboard is just a webpage, which you can link to from whatever device's web browser you like: mobile phone, desktop, tablet, etc.

But you'll have the ability switch lights on/off via setting up a dashboard - e.g. as at
Dashboard > Edit Tile; and that dashboard could be readily loaded from you mobile phone's web browser??

I have a set of (Phillips) coloured bulbs throughout the house and a set of (Phillips) motion sensors; and the automations to control these most of the time. However, I do value, and of avail myself of, being able to control the lights from my mobile phone (to change colours and brightness via "scene" switches). The Philips Mobile App here has been (pre cloud account requirement) superb for this.

So I'm trying to clarify the extent to which I could do this via the Hubitat Dashboard (loaded through my mobile phone's browser) taking your suggestion that one could ignore the "Mobile App" (with some loss of function).

That's what I've done for my Philips setup. Blocked the Mobile App from updating and turned off in the Mobile App the autoupdates of the Phillips. But I don't want to be doing that or trying too hard to workaround the unnecessary limits of a system.

I suspect you are right about the majority of users. However, I'm in the camp of the majority of recent reviewers of, for example, the Philips Hue Google Play Store, who are giving 1 star reviews chiefly for the complaint of a move to a forced cloud based account in order to use the App.

In the end it's looking like Hubitat has a similar architecture and that I'll be looking elsewhere. But I'd be grateful if you could clarify the things I've mentioned.

Yes, you can create dashboards on the hubs web UI and then get a local LAN link directly to that dashboard. You can then bookmark that in your browser (or save to home screen). It could be used fully locally with no internet access or account logins. The dashboard is not the most beautiful thing you will see in home automation but it is functional and can be fully local.

That’s correct, dashboards are webpages, so they can be loaded on any mobile or desktop browser.

With a registered account, dashboards can be accessed outside your LAN via the Hubitat cloud. If you can connect to your LAN remotely with a VPN, that would be another way.

I don’t think it’s possible to update the hub firmware without registering it first (though perhaps I’m remembering that wrong too).

That adds to the value of registering it, IMO.


Yes (though that screenshot is really talking about dashboard setup, not use--but it's a picture of what you might see either way).

It's also not the only way you can achieve control, even local control, via something besides the admin interface -- e.g., as I mentioned above, Apple Home could do this too via the HomeKit integration, or there are also third-party dashboards, some of which can work locally, among other integration options you may have (or be able to write as the platform is extensible).

This is possible either way as well.

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Not true. You can generate a WAN link to a dashboard and drop that on your phone’s desktop or bookmark it in your phone’s browser. No monthly subscription or VPN required.

Now, to fully “manage” your hub remotely, the app is probably needed, along with a Remote Admin subscription or VPN.

Personally, I never use the mobile app except when I am on a trip across the country, which may be once or twice a year. I never use it at home. And, while I have created a couple of dashboards, I really don’t use them because our home is automated. In my opinion, your home should anticipate what you want to do.


When outside your local lan. If you want to avoid even that, set up a VPN.

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How would the mobile app discover the hub over a VPN connection? Doesn’t discovery require multicast?

I 've never had a problem using it over vpn.

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Thanks again all.

No registration local dashboard access

Thanks for confirming that one can use the dashboard on a browser, and so one's mobile browser, at least for local control, without registering ...

No registration remote access, dashboard or mobile app

I happen to be not interested in remote access to my home. For security reasons I prefer not to open any ports to inbound initiated packets. And I have no remote home automatons I'd like to trigger remotely (although I appreciate there's many attractive possibilities here, top of the list might be turning on a heater X minutes ahead of arriving home).

However, thanks for the many pointers about the possibility of remote access.

I'm not clear if @thebearmay had in mind by "mobile device" dashboard in mobile browser or the "mobile app". But certainly with a vpn into one's home one can just use any local url. And so with a VPN one could at least access the dashboard in mobile browser remotely.

However, when it comes to using the mobile app (rather than dashboard in mobile browser) remotely, and without registration and without a VPN, @rlithgow1 was the first to claim this could be done.

Perhaps @rlithgow1 you can provide some basic steps. Since both contradicts the official documentation and seems rarely known.

Is the dashboard good enough

Revisiting [quote="bertabcd1234, post:5, topic:126139"]
Going back to the mobile app, it should be emphasized that it is a completely optional part of the Hubitat experience. ... Hubitat Dashboard allows you ...

... That does seem to be born out by a look at How to use Hubitat Dashboard: Setup and Primary Features

@jtp10181 rightly wrote ...

Although even on the issue of beauty the tutorial demonstrates there's some handy out of the box customizations available (font size, rounding the corners of the tiles, etc). And, most impressively, there's even a CSS tab if you want deeper control.

Of course a webpage in a browser just won't have the smoothness of a native mobile app. But here, with Hubitat, it seems it may well make do. Presumably one can, for example, at least reach over to one's mobile by the bedside and change the lights from yellow to red.

Non registered third party mobile app.

I appreciate Apple Home/Homekit is an example. I will state that I'd be avoiding Apple on the basis of it's walled garden approach (presumably Apple requires a cloud account too).

But I'd like to get clarified exactly how open/extensible hubitat is broadly (noting your mention of third-party dashboards and "other integration options you may have (or be able to write as the platform is extensible)") .

Philips Hue's hub was impressively open in being REST API driven, and that REST API was open to all, so third party mobile apps could be used.

(I'm not sure if a REST API specifically is ideal. I suspect providing fuller featured language specific APIs might be easier to work with in a Home Automation context).

On a quick glance of Developer Overview | Hubitat Documentation

Hubitat apps and drivers are written in Groovy and run inside the Hubitat Elevation app and driver execution environment.

I happen to have learnt Android and Java (to some degree). But it's sounding like one couldn't readily write, for example, an Android App (in Java or Kotlin) to interact with Hubitat without also writing a Groovy software bridge. That is, there doesn't appear to be, for example, a Hubitat Android/Java API one could just call.

Are there any third party Android mobile apps that exist to drive Hubitat, that do not require Hubitat registration?

And via cloud without a sub

Only for remote access, otherwise it's 100% local

External stuff like that uses Hubitat maker api (built in) Look at the HD+ dashboard app. 100% local and very robust

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@rlithgow1, thank you kindly.

That's prompts me to see (or at least it seems to me) that Hubitat "Apps" are different kinds of API. Some with UIs out of the box and some are more "programmatic".

The Maker API seems to be exactly the sort of REST API I was referencing in the Philips Hue case (without yet being clear on any limitations of the Maker API).

And I appreciate the example of HD + which (you say) uses the Maker API.

In HD+'s case can you say more about the "1-click login". Is that just generating a local token and thereby avoiding (Hubitat or HD+) cloud registration?

Looking at other Hubitat "Apps" there's also Rule Machine.

Rule Machine is the most powerful built-in tool for creating custom automations in Hubitat Elevation.

And, lo and behold, it also has a HTTP interface

It is also possible to cause Rule Machine to perform these same actions from an HTTP request. To accomplish this, you would create a trigger event with either "Local End Point" or "Cloud End Point." The endpoint URL given by Rule Machine has a form similar to the following:

I see the Maker API also works with access tokens.

Would I be right that access tokens (whether via Rules Engine HTTP or Maker API) can be generated without needing a hubitat registration?

Is webCore another API that could be consumed by a third party Mobile App (without Hubitat registration) webCoRE | Hubitat Documentation?