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UniFi Protect - Adopt devices

To use your Protect cameras and other devices, you first need to adopt them to the UniFi Protect Controller. 

Device adoption is the process of connecting a UniFi device to its corresponding UniFi controller so that said device can be managed by it. 

This article explains how UniFi Protect device adoption works and helps troubleshoot common issues that may arise during the adoption process.

For more information about the device adoption process, see UniFi - Device adoption.

Pre-adoption requirements

Before adopting your UniFi Protect device(s), make sure they are:

  • Set up correctly according to their respective Quick Start Guide.
  • Turned on and displaying a steady LED indicator light.
  • Connected to an NVR device on the same network as the UniFi Protect Controller.

Note: Most Protect cameras are powered via Power over Ethernet (PoE), so you may need a switch or PoE adapter to power them.

UniFi Protect device adoption methods

Depending on how you manage your UniFi Protect Controller, you can adopt a new UniFi Protect device using either the UniFi Protect mobile app or via the controller's web UI.

Adopt a UniFi Protect device with the mobile app

  1. Open the UniFi Protect app, wait for the device adoption prompt to appear, and tap Add.
    1. If this prompt doesn't appear, tap on the ellipse icon in the upper-right corner and select Add Elements from the drop-down menu to add devices manually.

      Note: If no devices are discovered, a help wizard will launch and walk you through applicable troubleshoots for your Protect camera or device.

Adopt_a_Protect_device_with_the_UniFi_Protect_mobile_app_1.pngAdopt_a_Protect_device_with_the_UniFi_Protect_mobile_app_2.png

  1. Name your device and click Next to finalize its adoption. Once complete, you will be redirected to the app's home screen, which will now show the new device's live feed.

Adopt_a_Protect_device_with_the_UniFi_Protect_mobile_app_3.pngAdopt_a_Protect_device_with_the_UniFi_Protect_mobile_app_4.png

Adopt a UniFi Protect device with the controller's web UI

  1. Go to the Devices section, wait for the device adoption prompt to appear, and click Add.
    This prompt will only appear if the UniFi Protect device(s) are connected to the NVR correctly.
    1. If the prompt doesn't appear, click Add devices to adopt device(s) manually.

      protect-adopt-manage-devices-1.png

    2. If you still don't see the device(s) you wish to add, click Find More Devices in the bottom-left corner of the Devices page and follow the help wizards instructions.

      protect-adopt-manage-devices-2.png

  1. Wait for the new device(s) to finish the adoption and update process, signified by the following:
    1. A blue circle next to a new device's icon indicates that it is currently undergoing the adoption and update process, which may take a few minutes to complete. 

      protect-adopt-manage-devices-3.png

    2. A green circle and an Online status indicate a successful device adoption.

      protect-adopt-manage-devices-4.png

Troubleshooting common Protect device adoption issues

The Protect device doesn't appear for adoption.

  1. Ensure that the controller host device (UDM-Pro, UNVR, or UCK-G2-PLUS) and the Protect device share the same physical network (e.g., connected to the same switch).
  2. Verify that the device is receiving enough power consistently.
    1. If you are using a PoE adapter to power the device, confirm that the cables are fully plugged into their ports and ensure that the corresponding lights on the adapter are lit (if applicable).
    2. If you are using a PoE switch, verify that its output is sufficient enough to power the Protect device.
    3. If neither of the above troubleshoots help, try using different ports, another set of cables, or a different power outlet to eliminate the possibility of a faulty cable or power source.

      For more information on power requirements, check your device's product page in the Ubiquiti Store or see UniFi - Supported PoE Input and Output Modes.

  3. Update the firmware of your Protect controller and controller host device to the latest version to ensure maximum stability.
    1. To update the firmware of a UniFi OS controller host device, click the dot grid icon in the upper-right corner of the portal menu, select Settings from the drop-down menu, and click the Update Available link in the General section.
    2. To update the UniFi Protect controller, click the dot grid menu in the upper-right corner of the dashboard, select Settings from the drop-down menu, click the Application tab and click the Protect section's Update button.

Note: If you are running outdated controller host device firmware, you may need to perform a manual upgrade via the device's management interface.

The device is "associated with a different controller".

When a device is "associated with a different controller", it means it is being managed by a different Protect controller. 

There are two ways to resolve this depending on whether you have the original controller credentials or not.

If you do not have the original controller's login credentials, factory-reset the device and readopt it to the new Protect controller (Recommended):

  1. Press and hold the device's Reset button for 10 seconds.
  2. Release the Reset button and ensure that the device's LED turns off. If not, try holding down the Reset button again for longer.
  3. Wait for the device's LED light to show steady white, then follow the normal adoption process.

If you have the original controller's login credentials, readopt the device without resetting on the web UI:

  1. Log in to the original controller.
  2. Go to SettingsGeneralAdvanced to locate the device's password, then write it down.
  3. Log in to the new controller and click Add Devices in the device's Properties panel.
  4. Click Learn more in the notification stating that the device is associated with a different controller.
  5. Enter the device's password from the old controller and click Adopt. A message will confirm that the device is being adopted to the new controller and provisioned with its settings.

    Troubleshooting_device_associated_with_another_controller_issue_1-2-2.png

    Troubleshooting_device_associated_with_another_controller_issue_2-3.png

The adoption process fails or stalls.

  1. Reboot the Protect device and the controller host device; or
  2. Factory-reset the Protect device.

If this doesn't help, you may need to update the Protect device firmware manually. See Manually upgrade a Protect device's firmware.

Advanced adoption troubleshooting

Manually adopt a Protect device via its interface

If the device doesn't appear for adoption and the steps above don’t help, try the following:

  1. Use the UniFi WiFiman app to discover the Protect device and the controller host device, then write down their IP addresses.
  2. Type the device's IP address into your browser's navigation bar to access it locally (Chrome is recommended). A warning may appear, but you can proceed to the address safely.
  3. Use ubnt/ubnt or root/ubnt as the credentials. If this doesn't work, you may need to reset the device and try again.
  4. Click Skip to skip setup, then select the Configure tab.
  5. Enter the IP address of the controller host device in the UniFi Protect server field (or the UniFi Video server field, depending on your firmware version).
  6. Click Save Changes.
  7. Wait for the device to complete its provisioning process, which usually takes a few minutes.
  8. Open the Devices section of the UniFi Protect controller to see if it appears. If it is ready to adopt, click Add Devices.

Manually upgrade a Protect device's firmware

To upgrade your UniFi Protect device's firmware while it's inaccessible in the Protect controller, you will need to use the device's management interface:

  1. Download the latest firmware (.bin file) from the Downloads page.
  2. Use the UniFi WiFiman app to discover the Protect device and write down its IP address. 
  3. Type the device's IP address into your browser's navigation bar to access it locally (Chrome is recommended). A warning may appear, but you can proceed to the address safely.
  4. Use ubnt/ubnt or root/ubnt as the credentials. If this doesn't work, you may need to reset the device and try again.
  5. Click Skip to skip the setup, then select the System tab.
  6. Scroll down to the firmware section and upload the firmware you downloaded earlier.
  7. When the firmware is uploaded, click Continue in the top banner to confirm the update process.

Once the firmware update process is complete, you should be able to adopt it to the Protect controller by following the steps above.

Check your network configuration

Your network layout and settings may affect the UniFi Protect adoption process.

For more information about troubleshooting network-specific adoption issues, see UniFi Network - Advanced adoption troubleshooting.

Related articles

UniFi Protect - Device management
UniFi Protect - Manage motion detection and privacy zones
UniFi Protect - View camera streams and manage recordings

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