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UniFi Protect - Set up the UniFi Protect Controller

The UniFi Protect Controller manages every aspect of your UniFi Protect deployment, including configuring your cameras and devices, viewing live feeds, setting user roles and permissions, and more. It is required to set up your Protect system.

This article describes the process of setting up the UniFi Protect Controller on a UniFi Protect Network Video Recorder and connecting cameras to it.

In this article, you will find the following sections:

Before you begin

To set up the UniFi Protect Controller, you will need either a UniFi Network Video Recorder (UNVR), or a UniFi Dream Machine Pro (UDM-Pro), or a UniFi Cloud Key Plus (UCK-G2-PLUS).

Before you begin with the Controller setup, make sure that:

Set up the UniFi Network Video Recorder

Note: For the purposes of this guide, the setup process for a UNVR is shown; however, the setup process for other Protect devices will be identical.

You can set up the UNVR on the UniFi Protect mobile app, or on the web UI. If you haven't set up your UNVR yet, watch the video or follow the written steps below before you set up the UniFi Protect Controller.

If you've already set up your UNVR, go to the next section of this article.

Set up the UNVR via the mobile app

To set up the UNVR using the UniFi Protect app:

  1. Download and install the UniFi Protect mobile app (available on the App Store and Google Play).
  2. Connect your mobile phone to the same network that the UNVR is connected to.
  3. Wait for the UNVR to get detected and launch the setup wizard.
  4. Complete the setup by following instructions on your mobile device.

If your UNVR isn't discovered on the mobile app, a "Select Device to Set Up" screen will appear. Tap on the device you want to connect, and follow the on-screen instructions. 

If your UNVR is still not discovered on the mobile app, please try the troubleshooting steps on UniFi Protect - Device adoption.

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Set up the UNVR using the web UI

1. Access the startup wizard via the UNVR's IP address.

Use the UniFi Wifiman app's (iOS / Android) Discovery feature to locate the device's IP address. Enter the IP address in your browser (Google Chrome is recommended).

2. Name your UNVR and log into your UI.com account, or create a new one.

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3. Specify the update schedule and confirm whether you would like to submit your device's diagnostic and performance information.

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4. Review the changes and click Finish to finalize the setup process.

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Once the device has been updated to the latest firmware version, you will be redirected to the Protect Controller's home screen.

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Set up the UniFi Protect Controller

1. Update the UniFi Protect application to the latest controller software version

To do this, access your UNVR via unifi.ui.com and go to Settings > Applications. Click Check for Update and click Update if there is a new version available.

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2. Wait for the controller to complete HDD formatting and RAID array forming

Raid formatting is the process in which your HDDs are split logically to prepare for redundant data distribution. If a specific partition or the entire HDD fails, its data will still be recoverable since it’s been distributed across other hard drives.

Note: This process might take some time. You will see the process status in the Protect controller host device settings within the General section.
For more information on hard drive formatting, see UniFi - Hard drive compatibility and management.

Once you've set up your Protect Controller, you can access its dashboard by clicking the Protect icon on the UNVR's home screen.

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Use the UniFi Protect Controller

After completing the controller setup process, you can proceed with adopting the Protect devices and managing your controller.

For more guidance on these tasks, see these articles:

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Frequently asked questions

Can I install the UniFi Protect Controller on Windows, Linux, or macOS?

No, UniFi Protect is designed with the best software and hardware integration in mind; therefore the controller can't be installed independently.

Related articles

UniFi Protect - Using the UniFi Protect Controller
UniFi Protect - Device adoption
UniFi Protect - Device management
UniFi Protect - Hard Drive Compatibility
UniFi - Hard drive compatibility and management

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