New iPhone and iPad iOS 11 Can Quietly Override Your Attempt to Be Secure

by | Sep/25/2017

The new Apple iOS 11 has a feature that appears to permit you to turn Wi-Fi on and off from the easy to reach Control Center. However, some people in the security community are concerned since the setting does no such thing.

Your iPhone and iPad will prompt you to upgrade to the new iOS 11 soon. Having the most recent version of iOS is one strategy for being secure. Like Google does with the Android OS, Apple focuses on keeping the newest iOS free from security vulnerabilities.

But, with Apple’s new iOS 11, you need to be aware of a feature that might cause you to believe you are safe from Wi-Fi attacks when you are not.

Mobile devices are vulnerable to Wi-Fi attacks, and people who are serious about the security of their phone or tablet choose to turn off Wi-Fi except when they are at their office, home, or somewhere else they know they want to use W-Fi.

In the new iOS, turning off Wi-Fi in the Control Center does not really turn off Wi-Fi. Apple says this is a feature that keeps you from losing connectivity with Wi-Fi devices like an Apple TV or a Pen. But the practice of Apple leaving Wi-Fi on without your knowledge has created some discontent in some of us who want to help you be as secure as you want to be.

If you turn off Wi-Fi in the Control Center, your device will indeed disconnect online connections to Wi-Fi networks, at least temporarily, so it appears to work.

But Apple says that, as soon as the user walks or drives to a new location, the auto-join feature will turn itself back on without notifying or asking the user’s permission. I tried that, turning off Wi-Fi in my Control Center, and then drove a few miles just to see. To my happy surprise, the Wi-Fi did not re-enable. However, a little time later in my office, I noticed that the Wi-Fi had turned itself on again on its own.

Apple also says that auto-join will come on again automatically at 5 am. Sure enough, I turned off Wi-Fi in the Control Center at night, and when I checked the icon in the Control Center at 5:15am, the Wi-Fi was re-enabled.

You can read about this unexpected feature, on Apple’s own website:

You will be OK, as long as you know that if you want to turn off Wi-Fi, you have to go to the settings menu and turn Wi-Fi off there.

Please forward this to anyone you know who knows that turning off the Wi-Fi on their phone can increase their safety from attackers. Help them know that the only way to turn off Wi-Fi is to go to settings, not to the easy to reach control center.