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iOS 11 Control Panel Does Not Always Do What You Think

From Vice, “Turning Off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth in iOS 11’s Control Center Doesn’t Actually Turn Off Wi-Fi or Bluetooth”:

Motherboard tested this behavior on an iPhone with iOS 11 installed and verified that Bluetooth and Wi-Fi remain on in the settings after turning them off in the Control Center, as some users have started to notice.

I had thought the toggle buttons in control center did what they appear to do and what they had done in previous versions of iOS. This is a non-obvious and misleading change in functionality.

Turning off these radios have legitimate purposes. For example, where I live, my Internet speed can fluctuate wildly. When it’s bad, I use Control Center to turn Wi-Fi off so that my iPhone will automatically switch to LTE for data. This is a pretty common use-case. Now read this:

It’s worth mentioning that both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi will become active again when you toggle them off in the Control Center at 5 AM local time, according to Apple’s documentation.

So if my Internet service is flaky and I turn Wi-Fi off to use the phone’s cellular connection for Internet access in the middle of the night to finish a download or have my email updated (things I sometimes do), this may no longer work. iOS will flip these settings back and it may be before all that data is received.

Having Control Center behave differently than expected is frustrating, and it’s worse that the settings are also temporary. To turn Wi-Fi and Bluetooth off completely, you now can only do this in the Settings app. Apple must think keeping these radios on when possible is valuable, but I think they should not have changed this. Users should determine when they want these components operating or shut off and be able to do it as easily as before.

John Gruber and Dave Mark have more details about this change and are worth reading.

Categories    Apple    Technology