Here’s why Apple equipped the iPhone 15 Pro with a Thread radio. The most apparent application for Thread on the iPhone is as a border router for many new Apple Home and Matter-enabled Thread smart home devices from companies such as Eve, Nanoleaf, and Belkin WeMo. This would imply that you would not need a HomePod Mini, Apple TV 4K, or other Thread border router to utilize Thread smart home devices with your iPhone.
Jonathan Hui, the vice president of technology for the Thread Group and a software engineer at Google, affirmed that a smartphone can technically function as a Thread border router, even when operating on battery power. The Thread Group specifies that border routers must always be energized. “Like any Thread device, a smartphone can serve as a Thread end device, Thread extender, and Thread border router, as well as a Thread provisioning device,” he said.
But it would be unwise to use your iPhone as your only Thread border router. Connecting Thread devices, such as intelligent sensors, locks, shades, and lighting, to the internet and other IP-based smart home networks requires a Thread border router. If you used your phone for this purpose, your Thread devices would encounter problems when you leave your home or when your phone’s battery dies. This is comparable to connecting Apple Home devices to your phone via Bluetooth without an Apple Home hub.