These are the best routers for iPhone, iPad, and Mac owners

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As gateways to the internet, home network routers are essential and these are the best for iPhone, iPad and Mac users.

Buyers can find almost any router and make it work well for their home. However, in addition to numbers, Apple users should also consider certain network speed and coverage factors such as: B. their smart home connectivity.

Many routers on the market today work with Apple’s smart home standard called HomeKit, but only some of them support special features known as HomeKit Secure. These make a big difference for smart home accessories.

Secure HomeKit router

These routers can protect a network by controlling the communication layer between smart home devices and the internet.

  • Restrict to Home: The most secure setting that only allows accessories to interact with HomeKit through Apple devices. Accessories cannot connect to the Internet or to other devices on the network. The router can block access to third-party services such as firmware updates.
  • Automatic: The default setting lets accessories communicate with HomeKit and manufacturer-recommended connections.
  • No restriction: The least secure setting allows accessories on the network to communicate with any other network device or Internet-based service.

A HomeKit-compatible router must meet a few requirements to control network devices in this way. For example, in addition to an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with the latest software upgrades, there must also be a “hub” on the network.

A hub helps devices on a network communicate directly with each other. Apple devices that can act as a hub include HomePod, Apple TV, or iPad that can act as a hub.

During the WWDC 2022 keynote, Apple said iPadOS 16 will impact iPads used as hubs. The iPads that are already a hub will continue to work, but iPadOS 16 will not allow new iPads to be added as a hub.

The second HomeKit feature a compatible router can enable involves security cameras, and that requires an iCloud+ subscription to work.

Secure HomeKit video

With HomeKit Secure Video, recordings from compatible surveillance cameras can be stored in iCloud. They are secured with end-to-end encryption and do not count towards the cloud storage limit.

  • iCloud+ 50GB Tier: Add a camera.
  • iCloud+ 200GB Tier: Add up to five cameras.
  • iCloud+ 2TB Tier: Add unlimited cameras.
HomeKit Secure Video stores surveillance camera footage for up to 10 days

HomeKit Secure Video stores surveillance camera footage for up to 10 days

The Home Hub analyzes video footage to see if pets, people, or cars appear on the camera so users can receive alerts on their device. In addition, users can view the last ten days of video activity in the Home app.

Types of home networks

After HomeKit, a buyer should decide whether they need a traditional or “mesh” router and refer to how those devices handle a Wi-Fi signal.

Labels for Apple compatibility

Labels for Apple compatibility

Routers emit wireless signals in the form of a “torus,” or donut, that can be blocked or reflected by objects in the home, such as appliances and walls. In a mesh network, a device acts as the primary router with additional nodes connecting to it wirelessly.

Mesh routers still emit this form of signal, but with each device sending out a signal, they overlap to create a resilient network that can overcome obstacles.

Not everyone needs a mesh network, especially with the latest Wi-Fi 6 networking advances. Standard routers and mesh routers can work with HomeKit, so the key factor between the two choices is price, and mesh routers tend to be expensive.

Best for HomeKit Secure: Linksys Velop AX4200 Tri-Band Mesh WiFi 6 System

According to Linksys, this router can handle over 40 devices at speeds up to 4.2 Gbps. It works with all internet service providers and is backward compatible with Wi-Fi 5 and older devices. In addition, the router’s app has features such as parental controls, guest access, and device prioritization.

LinkSys Velop AX4200 router

LinkSys Velop AX4200 router

The Velop AX4200 has three LAN Gigabit Ethernet ports, one Gigabit WAN port and a Type-A USB 3.0 port for connecting accessories. It’s available on starting at $249.95.

Best for Ecosystem Compatibility: Amazon eero Pro 6 Tri-Band Mesh Wi-Fi 6 Router

Amazon’s eero Pro 6 is the company’s fastest mesh network system. It offers Gigabit Wi-Fi 6 speeds, supports over 75 connected devices and covers up to 2,000 square feet.

It is a hub for Zigbee smart home devices and works with the Thread connectivity standard. Amazon added HomeKit support for the eero Pro 6 in 2021.

Amazon eero pro 6 router

Amazon eero pro 6 router

The eero app includes optional paid subscriptions called eero Secure and eero Secure+. These provide security services such as online threat protection, content filtering, and ad blocking.

The eero Pro system costs $229 for a single router, but it’s often found on sale. It offers two Gigabit Ethernet ports and a USB-C power connector.

Best coverage: Linksys Velop AC2200 system

This HomeKit router supports up to 6,000 square feet of home coverage and over 60 connected devices. Additionally, the company’s Intelligent Mesh technology provides fast and reliable range.

Additionally, Velop nodes create a Wi-Fi network that eliminates multiple usernames and passwords. This only requires a name and password to log in.

Linksys Velop AC2200

Linksys Velop AC2200

It offers six Gigabit Ethernet ports and is available for $299.

Non-HomeKit routers

If you decide you don’t absolutely need HomeKit functionality on your router, there are still a few great options to consider.

Best for Multiple Devices: Netgear Nighthawk AX12 WiFi 6 Router

Netgear’s Nighthawk offers speeds of up to 6 Gbps, and the company specifically mentions how ideal this is for 4K UHD video streaming.

Supporting multiple Apple devices is what the Nighthawk does best, utilizing “Multi-User Multiple Input, Multiple Outputs” (MU-MIMO). This transfers data to many devices at the same time without sacrificing speed.

A feature called Netgear Armor provides security for devices on the network. Additionally, the Nighthawk app on the App Store offers remote management, allowing users to connect to their home network while on the go.

Netgear Nighthawk AX12 router

Netgear Nighthawk AX12 router

It has four 1 Gigabit Ethernet ports and one 2.5 Gbps Ethernet port, as well as two Type-A USB 3.0 ports. The Nighthawk AX12 is available from Netgear for $449.99 and can sometimes be found on sale.

This Wi-Fi 6 router offers ultimate connectivity with a 2.5 Gbps WAN port, eight Gigabit LAN ports and two USB 3.0 ports in Type A and Type C. In addition, eight high- Gain antennas provide a mesh coverage that resembles networking.

TP-Link AX6000

TP-Link AX6000

Customers get a layer of security with TP-Link HomeCare with antivirus and parental controls.

Using the company’s AX Wi-Fi Target Wake Time technology, the router can save power to intelligently schedule data transmission times. It is available for $299.99 and can sometimes be found on sale.

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