How to: turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on iPhone and iPad in iOS 11

Posted:
in iPhone edited October 2017
Apple recently caught flak from the Electronic Freedom Foundation for misleading consumers by incorporating "off-ish" Wi-Fi and Bluetooth settings in its iOS 11 operating system, a byproduct of decisions that favor user experience. We show you how to completely turn off the radios.




Last week, the EFF criticized Apple's latest mobile operating system for misleading Control Center user interface choices the group says amounts to a security loophole.

The group is taking specific aim at Control Center mechanics introduced in iOS 11. According to Apple, toggling Wi-Fi and Bluetooth buttons in iOS 11's Control Center disconnects a host device from Wi-Fi and Bluetooth accessories.

The radios stay active, however, to communicate with Apple devices like Apple Pencil and Apple Watch, as well as facilitate first-party features including AirDrop, AirPlay, Continuity, Instant Hotspot and Location Services.

Both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth automatically reactivate after 5 a.m. local time or when a device restarts. Further, an iPhone or iPad's Wi-Fi connection will revert to "on" when a user travels to a new location.

These Control Center changes, or optimizations depending on who you ask, caused a bit of a stir last month. As the EFF says, "When a phone is designed to behave in a way other than what the UI suggests, it results in both security and privacy problems." Beyond potential security risks, the revamp stymies user attempts to save battery life with a quick Control Center switch.

That said, there are a couple ways to make sure your iOS device's Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios turn off and stay off until you manually reactivate them.

How to turn off Wi-Fi in iOS 11




Step 1. Navigate to the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.

Step 2. Tap on Wi-Fi and switch the radio button at the top to off. Buttons that are switched off are shown as a gray button receptacle -- or a O if button labels are activated -- not green.

How to turn off Bluetooth in iOS 11




Step 1. Navigate to the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.

Step 2. Tap on Bluetooth and switch the radio button at the top to off.

Airplane Mode




Step 1. Open Control Center by swiping up from the bottom of your iPhone or iPad.

Step 2. Tap on the Airplane Mode button, which bears an airplane icon. When active, the Airplane Mode button will appear orange, while all other connectivity buttons change from blue -- indicating they are active -- to gray.

Note: Airplane Mode disables all radio communications hardware, including cellular modems.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 59
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 1,550member
    This is so idiotic. We shouldn't need articles telling people how to REALLY do what the GUI lies to them about, by digging beyond the settings promoted up front.

    it reminds me of the mindlessness involved in my Mazda 3's entertainment system having no effing OFF mode. The most basic functionality missing and argument offered to justify going against the most basic and common behaviors people expect from their devices...
    sdw2001lollivercgWerksajllondon11philboogieairnerdlarryabradipaomuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 2 of 59
    Good article. These "optimizations" undermine user control.
    airnerdDavidAlGregorydysamoria
  • Reply 3 of 59
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 16,854member
    I didn’t think this was a huge deal at first, but god damn, it is annoying.  I turn Bluetooth off a lot in the car due wired CarPlay.  I noticed two days ago that it was back on.  I then remembered how dumb the control center situation was.  I can obviously go into settings, but that’s kind of annoying when I need to turn it back on.  Dumb.  Apple needs to fix it.  
    lolliverlondon11philboogieairnerdlarryaargonautDavidAlGregorybradipaomuthuk_vanalingamdysamoria
  • Reply 4 of 59
    Note: Airplane Mode disables all radio communications hardware, including cellular modems.

    The last time I checked GPS was a “radio” and it is NOT disabled when you turn on Airplane Mode.
    philboogiedysamoriaE’Tallitnics
  • Reply 5 of 59


    The last time I checked GPS was a “radio” and it is NOT disabled when you turn on Airplane Mode.
    GPS is only a receiver, doesn’t transmit so technically doesn’t matter, airplane mode turns off transmission.


    On my iPad with 11.1 beta, this seems to be ‘fixed’ the control Center actually does turn off these things, not sure if it is only my iPad or not, I’m not game enough to beta my iPhone again after iOS 11 beta 3 bricked it, had to hold down the usual buttons to reset to ‘iTunes’ mode and rebuild as new, ( I was unlucky my laptop with backup was at home and I was on a flight, used a friends laptop to reset)
    lolliverargonautdysamoriajony0
  • Reply 6 of 59
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,487member
    It’s annoying. Apple should make 3 way button: on, press to disconnected, press/hold to turn off. 
    willcropointlondon111983croprphilboogiepeterhartairnerdsdw2001muthuk_vanalingamdysamoria
  • Reply 7 of 59
    iqatedoiqatedo Posts: 1,527member
    onlyhope said:
    Note: Airplane Mode disables all radio communications hardware, including cellular modems.

    The last time I checked GPS was a “radio” and it is NOT disabled when you turn on Airplane Mode.
    Shhhh... a future industry news headline might read 'Hacker spoofs GPS signals to implant malicious code on phones' and a future AI headline might read 'Hacker spoofs GPS signals to implant malicious code on phones running the Android operating system'.
    1983pscooter63dysamoriaE’Tallitnics
  • Reply 8 of 59
    I fear I'm forever doomed to creep along the earth saying System Preferences rather than these purported "Settings."

    System Preferences forever! Settings never!
    london11
  • Reply 9 of 59
    SoliSoli Posts: 6,183member
    onlyhope said:
    Note: Airplane Mode disables all radio communications hardware, including cellular modems.

    The last time I checked GPS was a “radio” and it is NOT disabled when you turn on Airplane Mode.
    Aren't GPS microwaves?
    edited October 2017
  • Reply 10 of 59
    misamisa Posts: 821member
    sdw2001 said:
    I didn’t think this was a huge deal at first, but god damn, it is annoying.  I turn Bluetooth off a lot in the car due wired CarPlay.  I noticed two days ago that it was back on.  I then remembered how dumb the control center situation was.  I can obviously go into settings, but that’s kind of annoying when I need to turn it back on.  Dumb.  Apple needs to fix it.  

    The unfortunate problem is that "user friendliness" often outfavors security. To give you an example, on Windows, if you have a Laptop tied to your microsoft account, you CAN NOT LOGIN TO THE LAPTOP WITHOUT INTERNET CONNECTIVITY. Like what genius decided that was a good idea? So this annoying security feature means that the laptop stays off while I travel because clearly there is no way to turn it on while I'm on an airplane.

    Compare that to how iOS/MacOS works, where the account is not dependent on authenticating online, yet the iCloud data is available no matter which iOS/MacOS device you use.

    This idea of iOS/MacOS never being completely off means that in theory you should never lose sync with your devices. The catch is that you have no control over metered connections over WiFi or Bluetooth. I logged into my Windows laptop while the iPhone was somehow still connected via bluetooth and burned through the entire data cap in 30 minutes.


  • Reply 11 of 59
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 824member
    re: "... a byproduct of decisions that favor user experience ..."

    Maybe re-read this, and then try re-writing that:
    '... the EFF says, "When a phone is designed to behave in a way other than what the UI suggests, it results in both security and privacy problems."'

    A bad UI doesn't favor user experience!

    Maybe better, "... another failed attempt by Apple to to try and 'help' the user by making decisions for them, much akin to the infamous Microsoft dancing paper clip."
    philboogiedysamoria
  • Reply 12 of 59
    SoliSoli Posts: 6,183member
    Perhaps I missed it when I skimmed the article, but the easiest way for me to disable specific radios isn't to go into Settings but to simply swipe up on hte wonderful, new Control Center, tap Airplane Mode, and then tap the radio(s) I want toe reenable.


    PS: For those of you that want to wear your Watch to bed I only use about 1% of power by enabling Airplane and Theater Modes at bed time, both of which are two features I don't need while sleeping. I hope that built-in sleep tracking for the Watch comes sooner rather than later, especially since they bought a company that specifically focuses on that.
  • Reply 13 of 59
    iqatedoiqatedo Posts: 1,527member
    Soli said:
    onlyhope said:
    Note: Airplane Mode disables all radio communications hardware, including cellular modems.

    The last time I checked GPS was a “radio” and it is NOT disabled when you turn on Airplane Mode.
    Aren't GPS microwaves?
    Still electromagnetic waves that are received by a device that can be thought of as a radio. Radio astronomy operates routinely at these frequencies.
    dysamoria
  • Reply 14 of 59
    iqatedoiqatedo Posts: 1,527member

    cgWerks said:

    ...much akin to the infamous Microsoft dancing paper clip."
    Such a horrible memory, did you really need to bring that up hahaha?
    cgWerks
  • Reply 15 of 59
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 824member
    iqatedo said:

    cgWerks said:

    ...much akin to the infamous Microsoft dancing paper clip."
    Such a horrible memory, did you really need to bring that up hahaha?
    I'm sure the new Apple 'paperclip' will come with fashionable dress. ;)
  • Reply 16 of 59
    If one has a force touch screen, they could press settings, then select wifi Or bluetooth and then select off. 

    It's not as easy as in 10.3.3, but it saves a bit of time. 
    dysamoria
  • Reply 17 of 59
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 824member
    Other than maybe the flashlight, these settings are about the only reason I use Control Center. So, Apple basically just removed that feature for me and put me back into the days of Settings -> Wifi (Bluetooth) -> on/off. Gee, thanks Apple.
    london11airnerdlarryadysamoria
  • Reply 18 of 59
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 316member
    dysamoria said:
    This is so idiotic. We shouldn't need articles telling people how to REALLY do what the GUI lies to them about, by digging beyond the settings promoted up front.
    Agreed - one of the more moronic decisions made by apple in recent memory. Steve Jobs must be rolling in his grave.
    Soli said:
    Perhaps I missed it when I skimmed the article, but the easiest way for me to disable specific radios isn't to go into Settings but to simply swipe up on hte wonderful, new Control Center, tap Airplane Mode, and then tap the radio(s) I want toe reenable.

    Except that requires you to disable the cellular radio. Why in God's name did they design a system that requires you do do a back-assed maneuver like that anyway?
    muthuk_vanalingamdysamoria
  • Reply 19 of 59
    SoliSoli Posts: 6,183member
    MplsP said:
    Soli said:
    Perhaps I missed it when I skimmed the article, but the easiest way for me to disable specific radios isn't to go into Settings but to simply swipe up on hte wonderful, new Control Center, tap Airplane Mode, and then tap the radio(s) I want toe reenable.
    Except that requires you to disable the cellular radio. Why in God's name did they design a system that requires you do do a back-assed maneuver like that anyway?
    Why in God's name would you expect Airplane Mode to NOT disable the cellular radios?
    GG1StrangeDaysjony0
  • Reply 20 of 59
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 824member
    Soli said:
    MplsP said:
    Soli said:
    Perhaps I missed it when I skimmed the article, but the easiest way for me to disable specific radios isn't to go into Settings but to simply swipe up on hte wonderful, new Control Center, tap Airplane Mode, and then tap the radio(s) I want toe reenable.
    Except that requires you to disable the cellular radio. Why in God's name did they design a system that requires you do do a back-assed maneuver like that anyway?
    Why in God's name would you expect Airplane Mode to NOT disable the cellular radios?
    If you go into Airplane mode, then re-enable WiFi... your cellular is still disabled.

    The old way, you could simply toggle WiFi and leave your cellular state alone.
    dysamoria
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