Does Apache? No.
The only one it does normally use is
.htaccess, but that's really only due to the default of
AccessFileName .htaccess - change that configuration and Apache will have no special interest whatsoever in files that start with
.htpasswd isn't a normal standard, and really isn't even a good idea; the general recommendation is to keep the auth files out of your web root, since there are other ways (remote file inclusion vulnerabilities) to potentially get at the contents of the file, bypassing Apache's access restrictions.
Do other people? Maybe.
Common usage of
.ht* as "this is a restricted/inaccessible file of some kind" is expected/abused by some people/content/web applications, for many of the same reasons that
.htaccess is misunderstood by many people as the "right" place to put access controls and rewrite rules, despite the fact that it's not intended for that. So, if you disable the default behavior of
<Files ~ "^\.ht"> (why would you need to do this for hardening?), make sure your content isn't abusing that file name convention to hide things.