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Apple support document details HomeKit router features, complicated setup process

Apple support document details HomeKit router features, complicated setup process

Apple announced HomeKit router support at WWDC last year, but since then, many of the more specific details have remained a mystery. However, a new support document recently released by Apple offers new insights into how HomeKit routers will work, the setup process, and more.

Elevator for HomeKit routers is that they provide extra protection for home accessories. Apple explains that using HomeKit routers "will add more protection to home accessories, controlling the services and devices they communicate with on the home Wi-Fi network and the Internet."

In the Home app on your iPhone, iPad or Mac, you'll be able to customize the security level of the connection for each HomeKit accessory. The safest option will ensure that your HomeKit accessory can no more interact with HomeKit through your Apple devices. Here's how Apple explains the options:

  • Limit at home: The safest. Your accessory can only interact with HomeKit through Apple devices. The accessory will not connect to the Internet or any local devices, so any third-party services, such as firmware updates, may be blocked.
  • Automatic: Default security. Your accessory can communicate with HomeKit and the connections recommended by its manufacturer.
  • Without restriction: At least for sure. This setting bypasses the secure router and allows your accessory to interact with any device on your network or Internet-based service.

As he pointed out Christopher Close on TwitterHowever, the setup process will ask you to remove and add all the WiFi compatible HomeKit accessories again. This sounds like a pretty annoying experience, especially for people with more complex HomeKit configurations:

After setup, add the HomeKit accessories to the Home app. If you already have HomeKit Wi-Fi accessories added to the Home app, remove them and reset them, then add them back to the Home app for a more secure connection.

You need to rebuild from scratch the entire HomeKit configuration is a high question, especially when Apple does not offer any first-party backup functionality for HomeKit accessories. Third-party applications such as Controller for HomeKit allow you to back up and restore your HomeKit configuration, but it's unclear how this could be integrated with HomeKit routers.

Currently, routers are not available for HomeKit. Eero appears to be expanding its function with its mesh routers. In a recent note on its website, Linksys said that its Velop routers are only a few days away from receiving HomeKit support, but have since departed from that promise.

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