Apple added Control Center in iOS as part of a new quick menu in iOS 7. On your Apple iPhone or iPad, you can swipe up from any screen and toggle various services on/off. One such service is the Wi-Fi. While Control Center makes it quick and easy to manage Wi-Fi and other connectivity options on your iPhone, most people don’t fully grasp how it works. That’s one reason why users are left wondering how their iOS Wi-Fi is turning on automatically.
You may have turned off Wi-Fi to use cellular data or save battery juice while you’re away from a known network. Realizing that toggling off the Wi-Fi didn’t actually turn it off can be baffling how your battery drained gradually and how come the Wi-Fi network got turned on automatically.
Let’s understand it in more detail.
How Control Center Works
The Control Center was designed as an easy-access menu where you can toggle a bunch of services like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and torch on and off from anywhere on the screen. Turning off the Wi-Fi from the Control Center will only disconnect your smartphone from the connected Wi-Fi network/router for roughly a day. It will not turn off the Wi-Fi service itself, and after 24 hours, the iPhone or iPad will connect to that Wi-Fi network automatically.
Your iPhone will disconnect from the Wi-Fi router or hotspot and instead use mobile data temporarily. The Wi-Fi is still on. You can check that from the Settings. Turn off Wi-Fi and open Settings > Wi-Fi to check.
You should notice the message ‘Disconnecting Nearby Wi-Fi Until Tomorrow’ when you use the Control Center to turn it off. That is why your iPhone reconnects to the saved Wi-Fi network even though you have turned it off, or should I say disconnected it.
In short, turning off Wi-Fi from Control Center will disconnect it temporarily or for 24 hours only. If you want to shut it off entirely, head to Settings > Wi-Fi to turn it off entirely. Otherwise, if your mobile data connection is intermittent, then the iPhone might fall back to the Wi-Fi network.
Why Doesn’t Control Center Turn off Wi-Fi Completely
A lot of thought seemed to have gone behind this reasoning. Wi-Fi is used for more activities than just connecting to the internet and surfing the wild web. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are necessary for using options such as AirDrop, AirPlay, Apple Watch, Mobile Hotspot, and other such connected services. Turning off the Wi-Fi will disrupt one of those services. That’s why toggling off the option from Control Center to disconnect Wi-Fi temporarily and not entirely makes sense.
Turn Wi-Fi Off Properly
Use the Settings if you want to turn off the Wi-Fi for good. That will stop iOS from turning Wi-Fi on automatically later. Go to Settings > Wi-Fi and toggle the option off. As discussed in the above point, other features that depend on the Wi-Fi will stop working too.
Note: Wi-Fi will turn on and connect to the saved Wi-Fi network automatically if you reboot your iPhone. That is irrespective of which method you use to toggle off the Wi-Fi.
Auto-Join Is Disabled Until
When you use Control Center to disconnect Wi-Fi, it will not auto-join the network again until:
- It’s 5 AM where you live (local time)
- You reboot the iPhone
- You move to a new location
- You connect to a Wi-Fi network from Settings
- You turn on Wi-Fi from Control Center
Now you know why your iPhone connects to the Wi-Fi network automatically in the morning even when you turned it off at night. You should toggle it, not disconnect it.
What Happens to Wi-Fi in Airplane Mode
I don’t recommend using the Airplane mode to turn off Wi-Fi. That will also turn off all other network connectivity options like Cellular services, GPS, Bluetooth, and mobile data.
Forget Wi-Fi Network
One way to keep the Wi-Fi on and still make sure your iPhone doesn’t automatically reconnect with the Wi-Fi network is by using the ‘forget network’ option.
Step 1: Open Settings > Wi-Fi and select the Wi-Fi network name that you are connected to presently. It can be your home or office router, for example.
Step 2: Tap on Forget This Network option and confirm when asked.
Note that you will need to enter the Wi-Fi password again to join the network. Make sure you have it. Even better is when you disable Auto-Join and enable Low Data Mode options in the same menu. That way, you won’t have to forget the network and hence re-enter the password. Just disable Wi-Fi from the Control Center and toggle off Auto-Join. Your iPhone won’t connect to the selected Wi-Fi automatically again. When you do connect manually by re-enabling Auto-Join, it will consume low data.
Using Wi-Fi Assist
Wi-Fi Assist will force the phone to use cellular data in case Wi-Fi is working slow or not working at all. A lot of users turn off Wi-Fi from the Control Center instead and then wonder how their Wi-Fi connected automatically again.
Go to Mobile Data under Settings and scroll to the bottom of the screen to find the Wi-Fi Assist option. Enable it to enjoy uninterrupted internet even when Wi-Fi is acting weird. No need to launch the Control Center and mess with Wi-Fi settings over and over again.
Connecting the World
The Control Center acts as a window to most commonly used and essential features. It is suitable to turn on and off services from any screen on the iPhone. The Wi-Fi option is one of them. Considering how widely Wi-Fi is used these days, toggling it off only disconnects the Wi-Fi momentarily instead of disabling it. Now, you know why iOS keeps connecting to the Wi-Fi network repeatedly.
Next up: Not sure who else is using your home’s Wi-Fi services? Is it your neighbor? Click on the link below to learn of three tools to find just that.
Last updated on 02 February, 2022
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