Wemo and a New Router

Cliffs Notes: Delete the Wemo app. Reboot your iPhone. Reinstall the app and go from there.

I got my first Wemo devices at least as far back as 2015. I’ve been happy with them. They work. Yes, they can be occasionally stubborn — but I think that’s mostly due to wifi dead spots in my home. A built-in ethernet port would be a nice option. And yes, the Mini Smart Plugs that never stop broadcasting their setup wifi network? Also annoying, but hardly a dealbreaker.

Today I considered getting rid of all my Wemo devices in favor of a competitor. It didn’t matter which competitor. I was frustrated. I couldn’t get any of my Wemo devices to connect to my new wifi network. (I have entered the world of mesh wifi with a pair of Nest Wifi routers.)

I did some research before I created the new network. Based on what I found, I would have to factory reset each Wemo device in order to get it onto the new wifi network. Fine. Not ideal, but fine.

Wemo devices, like many smart devices, broadcast their own wifi network in order to perform initial setup with help from another device like a phone or tablet. It makes a lot of sense — modern phones have a screen. Things like light switches or doorbells or speakers tend not to.

I was able to get each of my Wemo devices to broadcast its setup wifi network. I was able to get my iPhone to connect to each of these devices (though not always on the first try). But that was where my progress stopped. For the each smart plug, I was prompted to use my phone’s camera to snap/scan the plug’s Homekit code, or type in the code manually. But none of my plugs are new enough to have Homekit codes printed on them. For the light switch, I was just shown basic instructions about installing the hardware in wall. Not what I was looking for.

I gave up and moved on. I got every non-Wemo smart device in my house connected to the new wifi network. Then I did some more Googling, and found this on Reddit: Wemo Smart Plugs do not play well with SSID name change The crucial advice? Delete the Wemo app from you iPhone. Reboot your phone. Go from there.

What do you know? It worked. For devices that I didn’t factory reset, the name and ID photo were still stored. So the factory reset didn’t help anything, and actually lost my customization.

You would think a line of devices that depend on wifi would walk users through the process of moving devices to a new wifi network. For contrast, the Ring Doorbell app has a Device Health screen with an action called “Change Wi-Fi Network.” In the Alexa app, the screen for each Echo device shows the wifi network it is currently connected to, and a “Change” action.

User flow shouldn’t lead to a dead end. Users shouldn’t have to delete and reinstall an app to get back to a setup phase. And an ecosystem like Wemo shouldn’t have a massive blind spot for moving devices to a new network.

Wemo and a New Router