What is openthread.thread.home.arpa on Mac Network?

Aug 12, 2023 - 4 Comments

What is openthread.thread.home.arpa on Mac Network?

Some Mac users have discovered a seemingly random device called “openthread.thread.home.arpa” in the Network section of Finder, which is where you see other available network computers and devices.

Curiously, if you click on “openthread.thread.home.arpa” to try and connect to it or interact with it, you will find that generally nothing happens.

So, what is openthread.thread.home.arpa in the Network section of MacOS? Is this something to worry about, is it a normal device, and what is its purpose? Don’t stress, because that’s exactly what we’re going to dive into here, so that you can understand what openthread.thread.home.arpa is if you happen to see it on your Mac.

What is openthread.thread.home.arpa on the Mac?

If you see “openthread.thread.home.arpa” on your Mac within the Network section, it is actually a device that is on your network.

openthread.thread.home.arpa is something known as a Thread Border Router. A Thread Border Router (TBR) is basically a bridge between devices on a smart home network, allowing the smart device to connect to the internet, and communicate with other devices.

Thread Border Router devices can be anything from a HomePod, HomePod mini, or Apple TV, in the Apple ecosystem, or even something outside the Apple world like a Raspberry Pi, Nest, Echo, or many other smart home devices including things like smart locks, smart bulbs, smart outlets, smart thermostats, smart doorbells, and much more. Thus, if you see openthread.thread.home.arpa in your Network section of MacOS Finder, you probably have one of those devices on your network.

openthread.thread.home.arpa in this example is a HomePod mini on the same network

Can I remove openthread.thread.home.arpa from Network on the Mac?

If you see openthread.thread.home.arpa and you do not want it to be visible in the Network of your Mac, the only way to remove it is to disconnect the smart home device that is making it appear.

Again, this is usually something like a HomePod, Apple TV, Echo, Raspberry Pi, Nest, Philips Hue smartbulb, or a similar smart home device.

Thus, if you want to remove openthread.thread.home.arpa you’d have to disconnect the smart home device from the internet.

In the example here, the openthread.thread.home.arpa device is actually a HomePod mini on the same network as the Mac. If I were to unplug the HomePod mini from the wall, then refresh the Network in Finder, the openthread.thread.home.arpa device disappears. However, this is not necessary, as there is no reason to remove a known device from your network.

Assuming you have a smart home device that you’re aware of and you use it, there is no reason to remove openthread.thread.home.arpa from the Mac, as it poses no harm or risk to you.

If you were not aware that you had a smart home device on your network and you see openthread.thread.home.arpa on the Mac, then you may want to discuss with your other housemates/family/friends/spouse/lovers/cats/dogs/hamsters to find out what the smart device is.

Have you seen openthread.thread.home.arpa on your Mac Network? What did you think it was? If you have any additional thoughts, insight, or experience, let us know in the comments.


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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS, Tips & Tricks, Troubleshooting


» Comments RSS Feed

  1. Frank says:

    Thanks for the explanation!
    The term “Thread” has me realize my new Schlage Encode Plus door lock uses Thread via my HomePod mini.

  2. BV says:

    Open Airport Utility to see the (maybe long) list of wireless clients attached to your router and extenders. Some are clearly named; some may just be a mysterious IP address.

  3. Mike Barrett says:

    Thanks for this! I’ve been getting this newsletter for a while now and I’m always impressed with it. Keep up the great work.

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