How to Prevent Wi-Fi From Connecting Automatically

Change settings to prevent automatic Wi-Fi connections to public hotspots

What to Know

  • Windows 10: In Network & Internet settings, uncheck Connect Automatically When This Network is in Range.
  • iOS: Go to Settings > Wi-Fi. Tap the (i) next to the network name and then toggle off Auto-Join.
  • Android: Go to Settings > Network & Internet > Wi-Fi > Wi-Fi preferences. Toggle off Connect to public networks.

This article explains how to manage your Wi-Fi settings if you want to turn off Wi-Fi auto-connect. Turning off Wi-Fi auto-connect is a good idea because connecting to an open Wi-Fi network, such as a free wireless hotspot, exposes your computer or mobile device to security risks.

How to Disable Automatic Wi-Fi Connections

Computers and mobile devices work differently, but the process of disabling automatic Wi-Fi connections is simple to do on all of them.

On Windows 10

To disable automatic Wi-Fi Connections in Windows 10:

  1. Go to the Network and Internet settings.

  2. Select Wi-Fi Status > Change Adapter Options.

  3. Double-click the Wi-Fi connection.

  4. In the General tab, select Wireless Properties.

  5. In the Connection tab, uncheck Connect Automatically When This Network is in Range.

'Connect automatically when this network is in range' selection in Wireless Network Properties window

The process is similar for Windows 8 and older versions of Windows.

On iOS

iPhone and iPad devices associate an option called Auto-Join with each Wi-Fi profile. When enabled, your device connects to that network automatically when it's within range.

To stop that from happening for any specific Wi-Fi profile:

  1. Open to the Settings app and select Wi-Fi.

  2. Tap the small (i) next to the network name.

  3. Turn off the switch next to Auto-Join.

Wi-Fi, info icon, and Auto-Join items on an iPhone

If you want your phone or tablet to quit asking you to connect each time you're within range of a network you haven't used before, such as an open network in a hotel or restaurant, go to the Wi-Fi settings page and disable Ask to Join Networks.

If you keep it on, you're prompted to connect to each network your device finds, so turning off the feature means you have to open this screen to manually select the networks you want to join.

This works in iOS 14 through iOS 11 versions of iPhone. On iPads with iPadOS, the path is Settings > Wi-Fi > Auto-Join Hotspot > Never.

On Android

To stop your Android device from auto-connecting to open networks:

  1. Open the Android settings and go to Network & Internet.

  2. Select Wi-Fi > Wi-Fi preferences.

  3. Turn off the Connect to public networks toggle switch.

Path to stop connection to open networks on an Android phone

This is confirmed to work in Android 10 Q for Pixel, but might work in older versions of Android, too. If you don't see these specific screens, look through Settings for Mobile Networks or Connections.

Select the Settings icon (the gear) next to the network to which you're currently connected to forget the connection details so that you don't auto-join the next time you're in range.

Instead of turning off Wi-Fi auto-connect, consider completely disabling Wi-Fi to avoid using it altogether, regardless of the network type or whether it's a saved, new, open, or secured network.

Forgetting Wi-Fi Networks

Something else to remember beyond open networks is that your device may be set up to remember connections you used in the past, whether open or not. Saving network information is a great feature so that you don't have to re-enter or reselect each network you want to reuse.

However, if you want total and complete control over which networks you connect to, forget the network. Most devices have an option to delete the profile associated with the connection.

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