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Why your iPhone and iPad don't fully disconnect from Wi-Fi and Bluetooth in iOS 11

Control Center iOS 11
Control Center iOS 11

If you've recently installed iOS 11, you may have noticed that no matter how many times you toggle Bluetooth off in Control Center it's still automatically on when you reboot your phone. It's not just you. Nor is it a bug — that's actually just how the operating system works. Not a huge deal if you're privy to that particular information, but without seeking out the specific support page (opens in new tab) on Apple's website, most of us who were used to iOS 10 had no way of knowing about this feature change.

Now when you tap to power Bluetooth or Wi-Fi down in the new Control Center, it doesn't shut them off completely. Instead, it just disconnects you from most accessories or devices you may have been connected to and disables auto-join capabilities. To actually turn off Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, you have to go into the Settings app and do it there. All of this is because Apple wants to keep users' connection intact so they're able to utilize things like Air Play, Air Drop, Apple Watch and Apple Pencil, even if they wish to disconnect from other devices.

The jury is still out on whether this change to the functionality of Control Center is a positive or negative thing. Most people seem to be feeling touchy about it, and with good reason: leaving Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on willy-nilly can jeopardize the security of your iPhone or iPad, make you an easier target for hacking and other potential attacks. Many Apple users are taking to Twitter to air their grievances:

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For a list of everything you can actually do with iOS 11's Control Center, check out our article here.

Thoughts?

Are you a fan of this new feature or do you find it bothersome? How are you feeling about the new Control Center in general? Let us know in the comments!

Tory Foulk is a writer at Mobile Nations. She lives at the intersection of technology and sorcery and enjoys radio, bees, and houses in small towns. When she isn't working on articles, you'll likely find her listening to her favorite podcasts in a carefully curated blanket nest. You can follow her on Twitter at @tsfoulk.

13 Comments
  • Not really a big deal. Usually I just want to disconnect from a public hotspot that my phone auto-connects to (like an At&t hotspot that's super slow) and I don't really want to have to re-enable after getting to work.
  • I know there are potential security risks with leaving WiFi and BT on all the time, but seriously, when am I ever able to turn them off. I get up in the morning, where my phone is my clock radio using WiFi. Next, it does the iCloud backup while I shower. After that, I put on my Apple Watch and head off to work, connected to my car's BT kit. I get to work, where I connect to the WiFi and go about my day. I head home, again connected to the car BT. A couple of hours at lacrosse practice (still using Apple Watch), and I head home to re-connect with WiFi, after unlocking my Kevo door lock using BT. When exactly am I supposed to turn these radios off!?! I think that is what Apple was thinking...
  • People who are moving about the city doing things and not staying stationary may not want their WiFi on all day. Also most people don’t have Apple watches or Bluetooth headphones and may not want that on all day. But if their not completely knowledgeable of this change they’ll think it’s off when it’s really not which is kind of like that hid it from the user. This shouldn’t be. And of course there’s the needless battery usage from having it on.
  • I think there should be a user option available. 1) the current iOS 11 method to just kill current connections and, 2) turn off completely. To each, his own.
  • This would only apply to 6s and higher with Force Touch, but a hard press on the WiFi or Bluetooth icon could present the option to disconnect or shut off entirely. Works for the flashlight and camera options...
  • A very sensible suggestion and I'm completely non plusses as to why Apple didn't use it.
  • Always leave em on. These hacks, I understand they can be vectors, but is there anything in the wild that is that commonplace we need to fear for iOS users? If that's the case, might as well not be connected at all.
  • I don't like it at all. I often turn off wi-fi and bluetooth then travel in my car I don't want them on as they will use a fair amount of battery life when no wifi around. I also don't want them back on at 5am the next day. This is very inconvenient. Would like to have the choice because control center is the way to go for me! Sent from the iMore App
  • The old "It's not a bug. It's a feature!" But seriously, as long as there is a way to turn them off (there is), then this is a minor issue. OTOH, easports82's suggestion above is a great compromise. It will probably show up in 11.0.2 or something.
  • I used to love how iPhones gave the user a lot of control while being simple. iOS also had a good reputation when it came to privacy. Now it seems that with every update everything is getting worse.
    For quite some time already, Photos app now scans your photos and stores peoples biometric data. There is no way of turning this off. It might depend on country, but in lots of places, a person must have a complete control over how their private data is collected/stored/processed. This feature (I'd call it a privacy violation) goes against this principle. Even people in the background of photos are scanned and their biometric data is stored. I don't like the fact that my biometric data is stored in some persons iPhone which might have accidentally snapped me in their photo.
    The same now continues with the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth in the Control Centre. One more hurdle to be safer. I used to be able to switch the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth in previous version of iOS via Control Centre, now I have to unlock the phone, go to Settings and find the corresponding Off switch every time I want them off.
    If this is Apples direction for the future - then my next phone and tablet won't be from Apple anymore.
  • At least Apple promises to keep your data private and as for the photo processing that processing is done on the device, not in the cloud like Google does. But if you say your next phone may not be an Apple device I can assure you that would be a big mistake since going to Google would be an even worse mistake. Google doesn't care one bit about your privacy.
  • See, they *SAY* it is to keep you connected to devices. Everyone knows it will disconnect you if you turn the thing off. I think it's really doing this so that their beacons still work.
  • They should at least provide a setting in the iOS Settings app to allow people to make the Control Center buttons behave like they once did aka when I turn off WiFi, WiFi does indeed turn off. Just give us the option, disabled by default but if you want the old behavior you have to enable it.