UniFi- Managed by other status

Managed by other


This is the most annoying problem I have faced while troubleshooting and handling the issues with unifi controller and adopted devices. Many of us don’t even know what does it means and why the devices which are working fine on the network shows that annoying gray message with the text managed by other”.

Managed by other

Hopefully, this is something easy to understand and resolve than scratching your head all day and thinking about it as I did. The first question was, why do they say managed by others? Who is managing my devices? How this got messed up. The exclamation was they are working fine and still showing an error! Why??

First, let’s understand that message and drill it down.

Each type of UniFi device can only be managed by a single UniFi Controller since a binding exists between the device and the controller. Okay, let me explain what binding meant there. Each adopted and configured unifi device in particular unifi controller does inform to the IP of that controller  (The Ip of the controller will be the Ip of the system where the controller is hosted like your PC, cloud key or URL of your cloud-hosted controller). So, in simple words, the devices informing that controller are the property of that controller and if another controller show or discovers those devices they will show a message that they are being managed by other” controller.

So it is like one device friends with one controller only and other controllers are strangers to it.


What is the cause?

The status managed by other could cause by many scenarios some of them are mentioned below:

  • Your old controller system crashed and you have decided to install the controller on the new system.
  • You have brought a new device that was used by someone else.
  • Brought/rented house which has unifi perks but now you want to configure them for yourself.
  • The reinstalled controller on same system.
  • The IP of the system changed on which the controller was installed.
  • Newly brought/refurbished a device from Amazon, eBay, etc

Many more…..


Its the best practice to always reset the unifi device before adopting and configurating on the new controller so that all old configuration will be factory default and that will help to discover as well.

Here are the steps to reset the unifi device to factory default: https://help.ubnt.com/hc/en-us/articles/205143490-UniFi-How-to-Reset-the-UniFi-Access-Point-to-Factory-Defaults


How to Adopt a Managed By Other Device

If you DO have access to the original controller where those devices were adopted then follow these steps:

1. Open the original Controller (currently managing the devices) and navigate to Settings > Site.

2. At the very bottom of the Site page, you will find Device Authentication

Device authentication SSH

Write down the username and the password (password is viewed by clicking on the input field), you will be using these credentials in the next step. If your Controller doesn’t display this section within Settings > Site. Make sure you have enabled Advanced Features on this page to be able to see this section (you can later disable it, once a username and password are created, even if you disable Advanced Features, the Device Authentication section will remain visible). Remember to save changes with the green button at the bottom of the screen and refresh the screen, to see this new section.

3. Return to the new controller where the devices appear as Managed by Other in the Device page’s status column.

Advance adoption

4. Click on the device to open its Properties panel. Choose Adopt, and then enter the proper username and password you took note of in step 2 (from the original Controller). If a static IP is to be used for the UAP, enter it here. Leave the port field blank. The Inform URL should list the network location of the controller in the following format:


NOTE: Use the local IP address if the UAP is local to the controller, but if it’s a layer-3 adoption use the public IP address or DNS. For example:
  • If the local Cloud Key IP address is, then enter the following address in the Inform URL space:
  • But if the controller is behind a public IP address, such as, then you would use http://publicIP:8080/inform where “public” is replaced with a real public IP.

5. Click Adopt and the UAP will begin the adoption process to the new Controller and provision with new settings.


If you DON’T have access to the original controller where those devices were adopted then follow these steps:

If you don’t know the Device Authentication username or password, there is no other choice but to Factory Reset the device. This is set up this way for security reasons. If the device is completely inaccessible, a physical reset will be the way to go. Follow these steps to perform:

All devices have a small reset hole usually located in the back of the device. Find specific instructions per device in the Related Articles below.

1. Use a paperclip to depress the button and reset the device back to its factory default settings. Press and hold the reset button for 15 seconds.

2. Release the button (the LED on the device will stop glowing).

3. Do not disconnect the device from its power source during the reboot process.

4. The device will restore factory settings. Once the white LED re-appears and remains steady (White or Orange depends on the generation of your AP), you can commence with adoption.


I know this is something nobody like to troubleshoot with plug and play device but if you look to the positive side of that you will understand the reason for making this chaotic issue so that only one authorized person can only manage the unifi device who has access to the system on which the devices were adopted and other intruders (Hackers!!) won’t.  If they want they either need device authentication credentials or they need to come to your home physically to reset the devices which less likely to happen unless you allow them. 🙂

Please comment if you have any queries or have suggestions that really motivates me. Thanks!


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