How to actually turn off Wi-Fi & Bluetooth in iOS 11

How to actually turn off Wi-Fi & Bluetooth in iOS 11

Matt Blowes October 17, 2017 How To

Apple's iOS 11 update has triggered controversy over how it handles the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth settings in the Control Centre.

Since its introduction alongside the iPhone 5s in 2013, the Control Centre allowed users to turn on or off Wi-Fi & Bluetooth by swiping up from the bottom of the screen and touching the highlighted icon. This is no longer the case in iOS 11.

Instead, when touching Wi-Fi or Bluetooth icons, the setting will only disconnect from any connected devices but remain switched on. The settings just stop searching for new devices. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth remain switched on to ensure certain native Apple features, like AirDrop, Continuity and Handoff, continue to operate uninterrupted.

Furthermore, the settings will eventually turn themselves back on. Both the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth setting will switch on fully if they re-enter an area with a known device, or at 5 am the next day. This setting cannot be switched off.


How to turn off Wi-Fi & Bluetooth

The Settings app is now the only location where you can completely switch off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It is the same place where it was located before the Control Centre was introduced.

For iPhone 6s users and later, the fastest way to access the settings is using 3D Touch via the Settings app on the Home Screen. Use 3D Touch by holding your finger and applying pressure on the Settings app icon. 

Earlier iPhone users and iPad users must click through to the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth options manually in the Settings app.

Once turning off Wi-Fi or Bluetooth in the Settings app, the Control Centre will display a new icon. The Wi-Fi or Bluetooth icon will not be highlighted and will have a diagonal line, to indicate the feature is completely switched off.


Wi-Fi switched on (bottom left), Bluetooth completely off (bottom right) in Control Centre

Confusing and a security risk

In addition to being a nuisance, the change to the Control Centre may also pose a security risk according to some security analysts

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) took Apple to task for both compromising device security and confusing users.

"When a phone is designed to behave in a way other than what the UI suggests, it results in both security and privacy problems," an EFF statement said. "A user has no visual or textual clues to understand the device's behaviour, which can result in a loss of trust in operating system designers to faithfully communicate what's going on."

Unfortunately, there is no indication from Apple that they will reverse the controversial changes. 

Learn more about the new features in iOS 11 here, including how the Camera app can now read QR codes and how scan documents in the Notes app. 

This article is current as of the iOS 11.0.3 release.

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