Wink to begin charging a subscription fee for smart home access next week

Wink Hub and accessories
Wink Hub and accessories (Image credit: Wink)

What you need to know

  • Wink has announced that it is switching to a subscription model on May 13th.
  • The new subscription will cost $4.99 a month.
  • Customers who do not subscribe will lose access to their devices and automations.

Wink, the smart home platform best known for integrating first and third party accessories into a single app and hub, has announced that they will begin charging for automations and controls starting on May 13th. The company states that the move, which is almost guaranteed to backfire, is the result of the "recent economic events", which has caused "additional strain" on the business.

Wink has taken many steps in an effort to keep your Hub's blue light on, however, long term costs and recent economic events have caused additional strain on our business. Unlike companies that sell user data to offset costs associated with offering free services, we do not. Data privacy is one of Wink's core values, and we believe that user data should never be sold for marketing or any purpose.

Starting next week, users of the Wink platform and app will be required to subscribe for $4.99 for continued access to their smart home accessories. If users decide not to subscribe, they will lose the ability to use the Wink app, voice controls through the app, automations, and API access. If customers decide to subscribe later on down the road, all of their existing features will be restored.

Should you choose not to sign up for a subscription you will no longer be able to access your Wink devices from the app, with voice control or through the API, and your automations will be disabled on May 13. Your device connections, settings and automations can be reactivated if you decide to subscribe at a later date.

While subscription models are becoming the norm and the new fee isn't the highest around, Wink's one week notice is simply not fair to the users of the platform. Now Wink users, some of which that chose Wink specifically for the lack of fees which was proudly advertised by the company, have just 7 days to figure out where to go or they risk losing access to things that they have come to depend on.

Thankfully, most smart accessories, outside of those specifically designed by or for Wink, can integrate with other platforms through hubs or account linking. If you use Wink and are ready to make the switch to another platform, then now would be a great time to read up on Apple's HomeKit, which requires local access for accessories and doesn't have a subscription. Check out our guides below to help get you started.

Christopher Close

Christopher spends most of his time writing and dreaming about all things HomeKit and the Home app. Whether it is installing smart light switches, testing the latest door locks, or automating his households daily routines, Christopher has done it all.