This strange iOS bug can stop your Wi-Fi from working completely: How to keep your iPhone safe

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Apple’s iOS operating system is considered one of the most reliable and stable experiences on mobile devices, but occasionally, a bug will appear that will break functionality and can even disrupt a users workflow until Apple issues a fix. The latest such bug causes a new headache for iPhone users, by cutting them off from Wi-Fi access, if they connect to the wrong network. Simply connecting to an odd Wi-Fi hotspot can simply break Wi-Fi connectivity on your iPhone, according to a new report by Bleeping Computer.

If you’ve tried to connect to a Wi-Fi hotspot in the past, you know the procedure – it's the same as connecting to a regular Wi-Fi network. However, the report states that Twitter user Carl Schou found an odd bug with his iPhone, when trying to connect to his own hotspot. The moment he connected to his own hotspot named "%p%s%s%s%s%n" the Wi-Fi on his iPhone was disabled and refused to connect at all.

According to the report, Schou found that as soon as he connected to the hotspot, he found that the Wi-Fi on his iPhone stopped working. Tapping the toggle to enable Wi-Fi didn’t work – it would automatically turn off. Meanwhile, even a reboot or modifying his SSID (the human-readable Wi-Fi network name) did not fix the issue. He added that he first tested the experiment on an iPhone XS that was running the older iOS 14.4.2, but Bleeping Computer confirms that the hotspot bug also affected an iPhone running iOS 14.6 as well.

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If you’re worried about the bug and how to keep your device safe, it’s best to ensure your iPhone connects to known networks. There’s no word on when a fix will arrive, especially considering this bug could simply break functionality on the phone.

After joining my personal WiFi with the SSID “%p%s%s%s%s%n”, my iPhone permanently disabled it’s WiFi functionality. Neither rebooting nor changing SSID fixes it :~)

— Carl Schou (@vm_call) June 18, 2021

As the report suggests, a malicious user could simply set up Wi-Fi hotspots in public areas to trick iOS users into connecting their iPhones to the dummy network and disable their Wi-Fi.

If you somehow get affected by the bug, it turns out that there is a fix available for users. If your Wi-Fi doesn’t work after connecting to this network, you must had over to your iPhone’s Settings app and tap on General, then tap on Reset. You can then tap the ‘Reset Network Settings’ that will get rid of all the network settings you changed and restore Wi-Fi connectivity to your iPhone. However, prevention is definitely better than cure, especially when you can avoid having to set up all your network settings all over again.

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