UniFi - Device Adoption


This article will explain how to adopt UniFi Devices to a UniFi Network controller. The UniFi Security Gateway (USG) adoption will have some important differences when the USG is replacing a router in an already existing and functioning network. Please see this article for more: UniFi - USG: How to Adopt a USG into an Existing Network.

Please refer to the Related Articles below for information on "Managed by Other" devices, or remote adoption.

Table of Contents

  1. Requirements
  2. WebUI: How to Adopt UniFi Devices
  3. Mobile App: How to Adopt UniFi Devices
  4. How Device Adoption Works
  5. Related Articles



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  • See the device's Quick Start Guide to verify the hardware setup is done correctly. Find the QSG in the device's box or in the Downloads page, under the Documentation section. Use the menu to the left to filter down to your specific device. Using the QSG, you can also adopt the device when setting up the Controller for the first time by following the QSG and then the Setup Wizard.
  • UniFi devices can be adopted when connected directly to the same network as the controller (local adoption), or remotely if remote access is enabled on the controller. The process described in this article is for local adoption.
  • The device needs to be powered up, and unadopted as indicated by a steady white LED. If the device were previously connected to another UniFi Network Controller, reset the device so they're in factory default state before attempting to adopt. If they appear as "Managed by Other" you can follow the instructions in the article found in the Related Articles below if you don't wish to reset them, although that's the easiest way to adopt them.
  • The controller and devices must be able to send and receive traffic over determined ports. See this article for information: UniFi - Ports Used. You will not need to change anything about this unless you face issues or have already changed default ports before.
  • Only if adopting UniFi Security Gateway (USG) - Verify that the default LAN network in Settings > Networks, does not conflict with the network to which your USG’s WAN interface will be connected. If your USG will be given a DHCP address on the default 192.168.1.x subnet, make sure to change the subnet of LAN network in controller settings to a different subnet, for instance: change to, then “Update DHCP Scope” prior to adopting the USG. As an alternative, we recommend in these cases that if possible the upstream router be put in Bridge Mode as to limit potential complications.

WebUI: How to Adopt UniFi Devices

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Make sure the computer where you are launching the UniFi Network Controller is connected to the same network where the controller is hosted (in other words: connect locally) before proceeding.

1. Launch the UniFi Network Controller on a web browser (Google Chrome is recommended) by typing the IP address of the Controller host in the search bar, or launching the UniFi app if hosted on a computer or server.

2. Select the option to Launch the UniFi Network and log in with your Controller credentials. If presented a warning page first, go ahead and click Advanced > Proceed to <local host IP number>.

3. Within the Controller, navigate to the Devices section.

4. Your locally connected, unadopted device should appear with a Pending Adoption status, or when hovered over (when viewing in list), show an option to Adopt.

NOTE: If the unadopted devices are not visible, it will be necessary to determine why the controller is unable to discover these devices before proceeding. Double check the requirements above and take a look at the Troubleshooting article in the Related Articles below.

5. Click on the device to display its Properties Panel and click Adopt; or if in list mode, hover over the device and click on the Adopt action that appears.


The adoption process can take a few minutes to complete. If there is a newer firmware version available it will also show the Upgrade action. Adopt it first, and then upgrade once the adoption is successful and the device appears as Connected.

6. The status of the UniFi device will change from “Pending Adoption” to “Adopting”.

User Tip:If you experience an issue where the status of the device loops from trying to adopt > disconnected > trying to adopt, it may be an issue with the firewall of the machine hosting the UniFi Network Controller. Port 8080 must be open for inbound traffic. Either open up that port or turn off the firewall if that’s a possibility. See what ports are needed for UniFi here: UniFi - Ports Used. 

7. Once a connection between device and controller has been successfully established, the status will change to “Provisioning”. This indicates the controller is pushing configuration to the device.

8. After this has been completed, the status will return “Connected”. In rare occasion, you will need to leave this screen and come back to see this Status change.

Mobile App: How to Adopt UniFi Devices

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Devices can be adopted via the mobile app as easily as with the webUI controller. This section describes how to adopt a device to a network that does have a running UniFi Network Controller (using Controller mode). For users interested in just setting up a standalone UniFi Access Point without the controller, please take a look at this article: UniFi - Mobile App: Setting Up an Access Point with Standalone Mode.

User Tip:This same process will work if your mobile is connected locally to the same UniFi network as the controller's host and the device being adopted; or remotely to another network, as long as remote access is enabled on the webUI Controller and the device being adopted is connected to the same network as the controller.

1. Launch the UniFi mobile app and select the UniFi Network Controller.

2. Go to the Devices tab. In the iOS app, this button is on the bottom bar. In the Android app, select from the menu shown when you press the menu button in the top left corner. The Devices screen will list all adopted devices as well as any detected unadopted devices with a status of "Pending Adoption".


If after a few minutes the device doesn't appear in this list and all the requirements are met, please see the Troubleshooting article in the Related Articles below.

3. Click on the device that is pending adoption and click Adopt under the Actions header at the bottom of the screen. If a newer firmware version is available it will show an upgrade option there as well. Adopt it first, and upgrade after adoption.


4. The app will show the device go through Adopting and then Provisioning statuses. After the device is fully adopted, it will display the green Connected status. Do not disconnect the device from power while the adoption is on going. You may have to refresh the app's screen if the device's LED has stopped blinking and is a solid blue but the app still shows provisioning.


How Device Adoption Works

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When you plug in a UniFi device like a UniFi Access Point or a UniFi Switch, the UniFi device will boot up and eventually show a static white LED. This white LED indicates that the device is not currently managed by a UniFi controller and ready to be adopted by a UniFi controller. When the device is in this state it makes itself available for discovery and adoption.

When using the UniFi Network Controller, the Device Discovery tool scans the local network for any UniFi device. All UniFi devices, if detected show up with a status of either Managed or Pending Adoption. Devices with a white LED should show up as Pending Adoption within the UniFi controller, while other devices that have a Blue LED should show up as “Online” if managed by this controller, or “Managed by Other” if still adopted and managed by a different controller.

When the administrator clicks Adopt, the adoption request is sent to the AP over port 22, using SSH to authenticate the default credentials and issue the inform command. The AP then executes the set-inform command and sends the inform packet to the URL provided by the UniFi Network Controller, and sends it over port 8080.

The device, if successful in adopting will start provisioning and be configured to match the controller’s configured wireless networks or other settings. Once it is finished the device will show as connected in the controller.

Most often when there are issues with the adoption process it is because something in the environment obstructs the above process from completing. Understanding where the device stops working can help pinpoint the issue and make it easier to resolve the issue.

Related Articles

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UniFi - Troubleshooting Device Adoption Failures

UniFi - Advanced Adoption of a "Managed By Other" Device

UniFi - Device Adoption Methods for Remote UniFi Controllers

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