Solving Problems With Wireless Networking on iOS Devices

Get your network running and devices connected

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As smartphone technology continues to advance, devices have more features and perform more advanced tasks. However, there are more chances for things to go wrong. This guide explains how to solve (or avoid) common wireless connection problems on Apple iPhone and other iOS devices.

Instructions in this article apply to iPhones running iOS 12 but should work on iPhone, iPad, and iPad devices running older versions of iOS.

Update iOS to Improve Wi-Fi Connectivity

iPhone owners have complained about Wi-Fi connectivity issues since the famous iPhone 4 death grip controversy. Apple provides solutions for the connection problem through fixes to the phone's firmware. Install an iOS upgrade if one is available when experiencing Wi-Fi connectivity issues on your iPhone.

To check the version and upgrade iOS, go to Settings > General > Software Update.

Settings, General, and Software Update menus on an iPhone

Turn Off LTE

Apple added LTE capability to the iPhone starting with the iPhone 5. LTE allows a device to send and receive data over cellular connections faster than older network protocols. These are some of the disadvantages of LTE:

  • LTE generates radio interference that causes an iPhone to disrupt the signal of digital televisions and other home electronics.
  • LTE reduces battery life in some locations.
  • LTE high-speed transfers use a larger amount of data and may cause you to exceed data caps on your service plan.

Giving up the speed benefits in return for avoiding these problems can be a worthwhile tradeoff. To disable LTE on iOS, open Settings, go to Cellular > Cellular Data Options, then turn off Enable LTE.

The Enable LTE settings option on an iPhone

Forget a Wi-Fi Network

Apple iOS may automatically connect to networks that you have connected to before. This feature is convenient for home networking but can be undesirable in public locations. iOS contains a Forget This Network feature that stops the device from automatically connecting to certain networks.

To disable auto-connection for a network, open Settings, tap Wi-Fi, tap the Information (i) icon for the network, then select Forget This Network.

You can only forget a network the device is currently connected to.

Forgetting a wireless network on an iPhone

Reset Network Settings

If the iPhone has difficulty connecting to a network, the administrator may have recently changed the network configuration settings. The iPhone remembers settings such as wireless security options that it previously used for Wi-Fi, VPN, and other connection types. Update individual network settings on the phone to match the new network configuration to solve this problem. However, if network connections still do not function properly, the iPhone also provides an option to fully erase all of the phone's network settings, and start with a fresh setup.

To reset iOS network settings, open Settings, tap General, tap Reset, then select Reset Network Settings.

Reconfigure the wireless networks you want to connect to after the network settings are reset.

Reset Network Settings on an iPhone

Disable Bluetooth When You're Not Using It

Bluetooth connects a wireless keyboard or another peripheral device. A few third-party apps also enable Bluetooth file transfers between iOS devices. Except in these special situations, though, keeping Bluetooth enabled presents some security risk and reduces battery life.

To disable Bluetooth on iOS, open Settings, tap Bluetooth, then turn off the Bluetooth toggle switch. Or, to turn off Bluetooth from the iPhone Control Center, swipe up from the bottom of the screen and tap the Bluetooth icon.

Turning off Bluetooth on an iPhone