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Apple has effectively abandoned HomeKit secure routers

Craig Federighi Unveils HomeKit Secure Routers at WWDC 2019

Apple HomeKit secure routers were announced in 2019 but manufacturers never supported it, and now some suppliers are saying Apple is no longer pursuing the technology.

HomeKit Secure Routers were introduced by Craig Federighi at WWDC 2019 along with HomeKit Secure Video. The latter took time to come to market, but it was used and many manufacturers adopted it, even if others did not.

During CES 2024, two router makers separately told AppleInsider that Apple was no longer accepting new routers into its program. If this statement is true — and it probably is, since it came from the same rejected manufacturers — Given the lack of rugged HomeKit routers on the market, it looks like Apple has abandoned the idea.

Please note that AppleInsider cannot absolutely verify manufacturers' claims. And Apple still has active support pages on this issue.

But it still has support pages for AirPort routers, and they are dead as a doornail.

Apple's original proposal

The idea was that “with HomeKit on the router, we We'll automatically turn off the firewall for every accessory you own.” That way, “even if one of them is compromised, it won’t be able to access your other devices.”

“Many accessories don't just connect through HomeKit,” Federighi said in 2019, “they also connect over the Internet and through your router, and unfortunately, this can leave them vulnerable to attacks.”

“We want to make sure that doesn't happen,” he continued. “And that's why we're putting HomeKit into routers.”

At its 2019 presentation, Apple said that “the first HomeKit-enabled routers will come from Linksys, eero, and Internet service providers such as Charter Spectrum.”

HomeKit secure routers have been abandoned in all but name

Even if both of these unrelated vendors were wrong, and Apple hasn't abandoned HomeKit secure routers, it actually has.

More than four years later, Apple has listed two HomeKit routers on its website. These are Linksys Velop AX4200 and AmpliFi Alien.

eero currently has a notice stating that its eero Pro 6E and eero 6+ do not support the Apple Home Kit” and that “we have no plans to offer Apple Home Kit router functionality on the eero Pro 6 E and eero 6+.

Linksys Velop AX4200 router

Linksys has so far ignored requests for comments. An eero representative provided comment but did not respond to AppleInsider's question.

“HomeKit devices can connect to eero via Wi-Fi and Thread,” an eero spokesperson said, “but we do not offer Apple's HomeKit router functionality on our latest devices.”

Although eero isn't saying why it dropped HomeKit Secure Routers, and doesn't appear to have plans to reintroduce them.

We asked Apple about this directly. We received a response — but we were not allowed to use it in any way, and in any case it did not contain any information about the product line as a whole.

Of the two remaining rugged HomeKit routers from Apple listed on its site, the Linksys Velop AX4200 and AmpliFi Alien, AmpliFi's own description does not mention HomeKit. Linksys' current listing says it works with HomeKit, but doesn't mention HomeKit Secure.

So one of Apple's 2019 launch partners has left and the other has become one under-promoted product. Even at the time of its launch in 2019, the partnership with Charter Spectrum seemed somewhat strained, and today it is difficult to prove that it ever released a product.

This is an abandoned standard.

Apple hasn't killed the program, but it's effectively dead and reeks of vendor disinterest. Perhaps other vendors will sign on, or perhaps Apple has bigger plans.

However, after all these years of the line's inactivity, this seems unlikely.

Apple itself could create such a router, since it was producing them long before the idea of ​​​​HomeKit Secure Routers was announced. However, the company discontinued its last such AirPort in April 2018, a year before it announced the HomeKit Secure Routers program.

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