October 10, 2017

How to Actually Turn Off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on iPhone and iPad in iOS 11

The all-new Control Center in iOS 11 came with a plethora of changes that made Control Center even more useful on your iPhone and iPad. It has brought the ability to add more toggles and remove the ones you didn’t use frequently from the Control Center.

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But not all the changes are straightforward. The major change that Apple has made is in the behavior of the how the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth toggles work in the Control Center, which seems to be confusing a lot of users who were complaining that turning off the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth toggles weren’t disabling them completely.

In iOS 11, if you disable Wi-Fi or Bluetooth in Control Center,  the iOS device will merely disconnect from a Wi-Fi network and Bluetooth accessories, but not actually turn off those wireless services.  The actual Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios in the device remain activated. This strange, unintuitive way Bluetooth and Wi-Fi toggles work in iOS 11 has drawn ire from many quarters.

Here’s how to turn off wi-fi or Bluetooth in iOS 11 Completely:

If you want to completely turn off Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, you’ll need to go through settings. Launch Settings from your Home screen.

  • For Wi-Fi: Settings > Wi-Fi > Off

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  • For Bluetooth: Settings > Bluetooth > Off

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However, Airplane mode, as always, functions as a one-step way for turning off all wireless communication, including Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

iOS 11 works this way so that Wi-Fi and Bluetooth continue to be available for what Apple calls important features such as AirDrop, AirPlay, Apple Watch and Pencil, Location Services, and Continuity features like Handoff and Instant Hotspot. This might seem like a trivial change, but it actually poses a threat to your device’s security. By leaving Bluetooth/wi-fi on all the time, you are exposing yourself to attacks through any vulnerabilities in your device’s software.

How do you identify if the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth toggles have been completely turned off?

When Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are enabled/connected, the icons are blue in color.

When you disable the Wi-Fi or Bluetooth toggle in the Control Center in iOS 11, the color of the icons changes from blue to grey.

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When you disable the Wi-Fi or Bluetooth from the Settings app, the color of the icons change from blue to grey, along with a diagonal line through the icons.

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