What you need to know
- A specific WiFi network name can completely disable WiFi on your iPhone.
- The only fix appears to be a full device restore or some plist diving.
A new network name has been discovered that can semi-permanently disable an iPhone's WiFi. At the time of writing the only confirmed way of restoring service is to manually edit a plist entry, although a device restore may also work.
According to engineer Carl Schou, having an iPhone come near a network with the name of %secretclub%power is enough to cause it to disable WiFi completely. And while previous issues like this have been resolved by resetting the iPhone's network settings, that doesn't appear to work here.
The only way Schou could get things working was to manually edit a plist entry in an iPhone backup and then, presumably, restore that backup to the device in question.
What makes this particular issue so troublesome is the fact that an iPhone doesn't appear to have to connect to the network for it to be impacted — at least, that's the impression Schou gives in these tweets. The good news is that there are multiple people on Twitter who have since said the issue doesn't seem to occur when running the iOS 15 betas, so it's possible it has already been patched.
Regardless, I wouldn't suggest anyone test their own device to see what happens. Editing plist files to get an iPhone to connect to WiFi again doesn't sound like my idea of fun and we don't even know exactly which plist files need to be edited, either.
Can I suggest you spend your time much more productively? Like checking out our list of the best iPhone deals instead?
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Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.
Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.