Apple has open-sourced its HomeKit ADK to speed up development

20 Dec 2019

Image: ©PixieMe/

Apple wants to speed up the development of the new universal standard for smart homes so will allow outside developers to contribute to HomeKit accessories.

Following the news that Apple, Amazon and Google have called a truce in the smart home war, Apple announced that it is releasing open-source versions of some of its smart home tools to help speed up development.

In a statement published on Apple’s site for developers, the company said that it wants to speed up the development of the new universal standard for smart homes. From now on, any developer will be able to contribute to Apple’s HomeKit Accessory Development Kit (ADK).

While anyone can contribute to the development, Apple isn’t going to let HomeKit go completely open source, which means that people won’t just be able to build and release their own Apple-compatible smart home accessories.

If an individual or manufacturer does want to release a compatible smart home accessory, they still need to enrol in Apple’s HomeKit MFi programme to access the commercial version of the HomeKit’s accessory protocol specification and to sell devices.

Jump-starting the initiative

Apple said: “HomeKit has grown to become the most extensive, powerful and secure smart home platform available on more than a billion iOS and iPadOS devices.

“Built from the ground up to protect customer data, HomeKit and the Home app use innovative privacy technologies and techniques to help minimise the amount of data anyone – including Apple – can access, as well as powerful security features that protect personal information.”

The tech giant said that by open-sourcing its HomeKit technology, Apple will be helping to “jump-start the initiative” and ultimately deliver a better experience to customers.

Developers are now able to use the HomeKit open-source ADK to prototype non-commercial smart home accessories. Apple will also contribute its HomeKit accessory protocol to the working group.

Apple published the HomeKit open source ADK on Github and shared further instructions on how to participate here.

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic