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iPhone Wi-Fi Won’t Turn On? Here’s What To Do

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Most iPhone users will be able to use their device without any issues whether it is through cellular connection or Wi-Fi, but wireless connection issues may arise from time to time. These kinds of problems can manifest themselves in different ways; sometimes the Wi-Fi on and off toggle switch is gray and unusable (sometimes solved by simply exiting the Settings app and restarting), sometimes it looks like iPhone is connecting to a Wi-Fi router but no data is being transferred, connection speeds are unusually slow, and sometimes the iPhone refuses to connect to a wireless network at all.

There is no one-size-fits-all cause for these issues, and Wi-Fi connection issues can occur completely randomly regardless of iPhone model or iOS software version. We get a lot of questions about connection issues, and in most cases it is an easy fix that is quickly resolved by rebooting or ditching the network settings, but for stubborn cases it may be necessary to fully restore the software while in extreme and rare cases of contacting Apple’s official support channels are needed due to actual hardware issues. If you run into Wi-Fi issues with your iPhone (or iPad and iPod touch), try the following troubleshooting tricks to solve the problem.

1: Force restart iPhone to fix most wireless issues

You can force any iOS device to reboot by doing the following, this can sometimes fix temporary issues and bugs found. It’s easy and fast, so try this first:

  • Hold the power button and the Home button simultaneously until the iPhone reboots

Once the iPhone boots up again up try to use wifi again. In some cases, this solves the problem immediately.

2: Reset network settings to fix grayed out Wi-Fi and network configuration problems

Resetting network settings will dump all existing network preferences, this will cause things like Wi-Fi passwords, custom DNS, manual IPs and other network-specific settings information to be lost, so make sure to write down important Wi-Fi details before doing this. This fixes the vast majority of Wi-Fi problems for most users, including the notoriously annoying gray Wi-Fi problem:

  • Open “Settings” and go to “General”, then go to “Reset”
  • Choose “Reset network settings”, enter the device passcode and confirm the settings reset

Reset network settings can fix wifi problems

If the network settings are reset, try to connect to the Wi-Fi network again. It should be hunky-dory at this point, but if not, you’re left with a few other choices.

3: Back-up and recovery for the persistent Wi-Fi problems

Backing up and restoring an iPhone can be tedious, but it often fixes the most persistent problems resetting network settings and restarting the phone has failed. iCloud makes it pretty easy, but if you can’t connect to a Wi-Fi network that isn’t possible, you should up to iTunes. The following guides walk through this if you are not known:

  1. Back up the iPhone with iTunes or iCloud, preferably both to have duplicate backups available
  2. Recover from the backupup and reconnect to wifi

This is not an overly complicated process, but it will take a while depending on how much data is stored on the iPhone and which method you use.

A variation of this trick includes resetting the iPhone to factory settings and setting it up up as if it were a brand new device. That adds one more step to the restore process, but if Wi-Fi is working and connections are fine under factory settings, you can usually safely restore from backups. On the other hand, if the problem is fine under factory reset, but persists after restoring the backups, you may find yourself in the very unusual situation of a corrupt backup.up a rare situation.

4: Wi-Fi still not working? Reset the router, contact Apple

If the iPhone continues to have Wi-Fi connection problems, you may want to reset the actual Wi-Fi router yourself by turning it off and back on, some Wi-Fi routers are known to be picky with iOS and can sometimes be the source of the problem. If the iPhone connects to the router but the speeds are very slow, an effective strategy can be to use custom DNS through a provider such as Google or OpenDNS, although such a problem is usually representative of an ISP (internet service provider) problem and not for an actual problem with the iPhone or wifi itself.

If other iOS devices and computers connect to the Wi-Fi router and work flawlessly, but iPhone still doesn’t after trying the steps above, it may be time to contact Apple’s official support channels to determine if there is a physical hardware problem. Apple has an automated online troubleshooting guide which collects data directly from iPhone and tries to diagnose issues remotely, but you can also call a support line directly or visit an Apple Store. It’s quite rare for the iPhone to have physical Wi-Fi hardware problems, but if it does and the device is under warranty, Apple will usually phone fast. Make sure you come back up iPhone before sending it to Apple so you can restore where you left off.

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