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Turning Off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth in iOS 11's Control Center Doesn't Actually Turn Off Wi-Fi or Bluetooth (vice.com) 226

An anonymous reader shares a Motherboard report: Turning off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi when you're not using them on your smartphone has long been standard, common sense, advice. Unfortunately, with the iPhone's new operating system iOS 11 - which was released to the general public yesterday - turning them off is not as easy as it used to be. Now, when you toggle Bluetooth and Wi-Fi off from the iPhone's Control Center -- the somewhat confusing menu that appears when you swipe up from the bottom of the phone -- it actually doesn't completely turn them off. While that might sound like a bug, that's actually what Apple intended in the new operating system. But security researchers warn that users might not realize this and, as a consequence, could leave Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on without noticing. Numerous Slashdot readers have complained about this "feature" this week.
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Turning Off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth in iOS 11's Control Center Doesn't Actually Turn Off Wi-Fi or Bluetooth

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  • Very Brave (Score:5, Funny)

    by Oswald McWeany ( 2428506 ) on Wednesday September 20, 2017 @01:09PM (#55232865)

    It was very brave and forward thinking of Apple to not allow you to turn off Wifi.

    • Re: Very Brave (Score:5, Informative)

      by sound+vision ( 884283 ) on Wednesday September 20, 2017 @01:15PM (#55232927) Journal
      Another decision to impede security in the name of convenience. People act like Microsoft only does this.
      • Re: Very Brave (Score:5, Insightful)

        by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Wednesday September 20, 2017 @01:19PM (#55232957) Homepage Journal
        You know...while I do not consider myself an Apple Fanboy....I have enjoyed many of their products over the past years.

        But man...after Steve passed away, it does seem to be going downhill there. The UI is just not as intuitive anymore. Gaffs of things not working, like the watch LTE problems on release, and stuff like this.

        I had hoped the folks he'd had following him had had some of the intuition he'd displayed on how things should be (some losers, but mostly good IMHO) and work that make products easy and fun to use for he user, and have them be intuitive.....but alas, that does not seem to be the case and we see blunder after blunder and design and UI flaw after flaw.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ilsaloving ( 1534307 )

          The problem is that they replaced an engineer with a pointy haired boss with an MBA. Tim Cook knows how to do is squeeze people for more cash, exploiting their captive user base until people throw their hands up in the air and walk away.

          It's ironic, Microsoft is trying so hard to be like Apple, but Apple is trying very hard to be like Oracle.

          • I award you some imaginary mod points on this one.

            Hell here's an imaginary grant don't spend it all in one dream.

          • The problem is that they replaced an engineer with a pointy haired boss with an MBA.

            It sounds like you called Jobs an "engineer" -- but he most decidedly was not that, so I assume you were referring to Wozniak.

            And I agree.

          • Facts (Score:5, Informative)

            by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Wednesday September 20, 2017 @02:29PM (#55233435)

            The problem is that they replaced an engineer with a pointy haired boss with an MBA.

            The only thing factually correct in that sentence is that Tim Cook does have a MBA degree and there is no evidence that constitutes a problem for Apple. Steve Jobs was not an engineer and did not have an engineering degree (or any other degree for that matter). Tim Cook IS an engineer and does have an engineering degree from Auburn University.

            Tim Cook knows how to do is squeeze people for more cash, exploiting their captive user base until people throw their hands up in the air and walk away.

            There is no evidence that Apple customers are walking away in any meaningful numbers.

            It's ironic, Microsoft is trying so hard to be like Apple, but Apple is trying very hard to be like Oracle.

            If you think that then I don't think you've actually dealt with Oracle. The experience of working with Apple is NOTHING like the experience of working with Oracle.

            • Re:Facts (Score:4, Insightful)

              by ilsaloving ( 1534307 ) on Wednesday September 20, 2017 @03:46PM (#55234003)

              The only thing factually correct in that sentence is that Tim Cook does have a MBA degree and there is no evidence that constitutes a problem for Apple. Steve Jobs was not an engineer and did not have an engineering degree (or any other degree for that matter). Tim Cook IS an engineer and does have an engineering degree from Auburn University.

              I have great difficulty believing that, considering that there has been virtually zero innovation since Jobs died. Unless you count "making products less useful and more expensive" as innovation. Seriously, only an abject idiot would leave out HDMI on a modern laptop, for example. And have you used the keyboard on the most recent MBPs? It's the single worst keyboard I have ever used in my life.

              There is no evidence that Apple customers are walking away in any meaningful numbers.

              Really? Then mind explaining why their laptop sales figures are tanking? I myself have been using Apple for over a decade. My "current" MBP is a 2011 because every version after that has been worse than the last. Nothing is upgradable on it anymore, and even the stuff that's built into it is crap. I already mentioned the god-awful keyboard. A whopping TWO USB-C ports, or 4 if you wanna splurge, and nothing else. Wanna connect to a meeting room TV? Nope. A projector? Nope. Someone wants to give you a file on a USB key? Nope.

              It's like they took the top 10 use cases for a laptop in the business world, gave a good belly laugh and said, "Fuck'em all."

              If you think that then I don't think you've actually dealt with Oracle. The experience of working with Apple is NOTHING like the experience of working with Oracle.

              I didn't say they were Oracle. I said they were trying to be like Oracle. That takes time, but they're doing it. Have you bought a USB-C power supply from Apple? They don't even provide a USB-C cable in the box. You literally have to buy the cord separately. So you're now paying $125 for a power supply instead of $100.

              And never mind the whole donglegate thing where you literally need to buy dongles if you wanna so much as scratch your nose.

              Apple has taken nickle and diming people to amazing new heights, while *at the same time* jacking up their prices of their products across the board. You cannot possibly tell me that that is anything other than customer hostile.

              It's literally a battle of what you hate less now. Everyone I know who is an apple user is only using apple products because they hate Microsoft's bullshit more than they hate Apple's bullshit. That's not a particularly good long term strategy. It means that should Microsoft ever mistakenly pull their head out of their ass and make a product that doesn't suck, Apple is going to be in serious trouble. Google is slowly gaining ground on both of them with their chromebooks, and that's going to accelerate as they get more useful and people realize they arn't dependent on the encumbents anymore.

              • I have great difficulty believing that, considering that there has been virtually zero innovation since Jobs died.

                I don't see how that relates to the issue of whether or not Jobs was an engineer.

              • And have you used the keyboard on the most recent MBPs? It's the single worst keyboard I have ever used in my life.

                Said the person that it too young to have ever tried to type on a Commodore PET, Atari 400, Sinclair ZX81, or IBM PCjr.

                • And have you used the keyboard on the most recent MBPs? It's the single worst keyboard I have ever used in my life.

                  Said the person that it too young to have ever tried to type on a Commodore PET, Atari 400, Sinclair ZX81, or IBM PCjr.

                  Those examples are all from the distant past (and I'd like to add, Hewlett-Packard Datascope). I think the point is that technology is supposed to be getting better, not worse.

              • I have great difficulty believing that

                Try googling it then. It's a matter of record.

                P.S. Denying actual, verifiable & objective facts gets modded insightful?

            • Tim Cook is an industrial engineer. Great COO material. He can manage the supply chain and make sure the product is manufacturable. But he just does not have the product vision to be a CEO in a leading edge technical company.

          • Cook is a master at logistics. When it comes to optimizing the supply line, I can think of none better.

            I'll leave it up to you to decide if that makes for a good CEO.

        • I submitt to you. The iPhone 4, the G4 cube, etc

          Apple has always hd these gaffs. I personal wonder if the iPhone X and the G4 cube suffer the same fate. Loved by some hated by many and anniversary products are usually pretty crappy.

      • Another decision to impede security in the name of convenience. People act like Microsoft only does this.

        And those complaining about insecure features act like the other 99% of consumers actually give a shit about privacy or security.

        They don't.

        • by torkus ( 1133985 )

          They all CARE...as long as it doesn't interfere with then doing the various inane things people MUST DO ZOMG CAPTURE THAT FOR SNAPCHAT WHERE IS MY EMOJI FACE AND QUICK HIT THE AUTOFIX MY FACE AND MAKE ME PRETTY BUTTON

          Oh...you have your pictures encrypted because you send noodz to your SO all the time and don't want your spouse to know? well...yeah. that needs a password.

          • You folks are insane.

            If you don't want this shit then just turn the phone OFF!

            Not so long ago if I wanted to call yo Mama I had to find a phone and put my dime in. 99.999% of calls can wait. And she can't call me back to take out the garbage!

            I wanna call someone I take out the phone, turn it on and call 'em.
            I see I've got missed calls - if I wanna call 'em back I do - later.

            Take back your life and TURN IT OFF.

            So peaceful.

            Mac

            • It was either here or HN, but someone earlier today said that making phone calls while driving is a necessity. Yup. We need to be able to make phone calls while driving, at least according to them.

              I didn't have the energy to respond to them.

    • courage (Score:4, Funny)

      by slew ( 2918 ) on Wednesday September 20, 2017 @01:18PM (#55232951)

      Courage in the wake of wifi [nist.gov] stack vunerabilities.

      Courage that they won't have a bluetooth stack vulnerability like android. [nist.gov]

      Courage is what it takes, courage...

      • No computer in the world is secure. And yet here you are, still carrying one around in your pocket while you poke fun at a company that makes them, pretending like you're immune to the vulnerabilities.
        • I think you might have missed the point of the parent here... parent's argument is that these things are insecure, thus having the ability to turn them off completely makes you safer.... to leave these features always turned on would be to pretend you are immune to the vulnerabilities. Perhaps the sarcasm confused you?

        • by slew ( 2918 )

          No computer in the world is secure. And yet here you are, still carrying one around in your pocket while you poke fun at a company that makes them, pretending like you're immune to the vulnerabilities.

          Why do you assume I carry one of those attention deficit creation machines around in my pocket? (not saying that I don't)
          Do you also assume I don't also poke fun at my company which also makes chips that go into pocket computing devices?
          FWIW, I don't pretend that I'm not immune to risk, just like I don't pretend to have courage when I take calculated risks so I ridicule those that claim courage...

          Courage is showing strength of will in the face of suffering or sacrifice. Taking a calculated tactic when bei

    • A Tin Foil hat for your iPhone.

      No, seriously. At night you don't want to be disturbed anyway. So a case that is completely opaque to the electromagnetic spectrum.

    • It was very witty and clever of you to use the same old tired joke from last year.
    • It was very brave and forward thinking of Apple to not allow you to turn off Wifi.

      We don't want the kiddies skipping ads in their games, amiright? ;)

  • And the point then? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SeaFox ( 739806 ) on Wednesday September 20, 2017 @01:09PM (#55232869)

    Besides cutting off access to those radios to apps, what would be the purpose of turning them off now if it doesn't really turn them off?

    • It's like the 'close doors' button on the elevator. It's a feel-good button.
      • by Misagon ( 1135 )

        I live in an apartment block where there are many elderly and a few wheelchair-bound. We got a new elevator installed recently where the doors have been configured to take a noticeable long time to close unless you press the "close doors" button.

        I suppose that all the manufacturer's elevators get the button on the stock control panel but that not all are configured in ways that make it stand out.

        • The 1990 ADA set that up. The door has to remain open long enough for those in chairs or using crutches. The button doesn't even exist in some modern elevators, just like the crosswalk buttons don't always have an effect. The lights are operated by computer. Pushing the button does nothing. In NYC, only 120 of them work and those are being disabled. Yes, they will keep the buttons there.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Presumably, cutting off app access would save power, as the OS could tightly manage the connecting polling while "off". Even though the radios are still on, they could be automatically cycled down, and only brought back up periodically to poll for "important" stuff, saving power. Of course, Apple is the one decided what counts as "important".

    • by Okind ( 556066 ) on Wednesday September 20, 2017 @01:24PM (#55233001) Homepage

      Besides cutting off access to those radios to apps, what would be the purpose of turning them off now if it doesn't really turn them off?

      How about theft?

      For a smartphone there may not be a reason, seeing you always carry it with you. But for clunkier items like tablets, an always-on transmitter of a radio signal is a godsend for thieves everywhere. Now they can use a simple scanner to locate items to steal.

      In fact, this is the reason you should turn your transmitting devices off (not standby) when you leave them out of sight in your locked car. It prevents them from being stolen.

    • It apparently disconnects your phone/tablet from Bluetooth devices and wifi networks.

      Of course having those toggles actually turn off the radios - like they did prior to iOS 11 - would also accomplish this.

  • by Wrath0fb0b ( 302444 ) on Wednesday September 20, 2017 @01:12PM (#55232893)

    The takeaway is that if you want to really and completely turn off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on iOS11 you can't do it from the Control Center anymore, you'll have to do it through the Settings app.

    So the takeaway is that there is still a UI element that powers the radio off and the only thing changed is that a different UI element performs a disconnect rather than a power off. So a power-user that knows precisely which of the two she intends can pick the right one.

    Calling it 'stupid' is a bit of an overreaction to what is basically a UI change to map a more-commonly-held button on what is perceived to the more-commonly-intended outcome. Maybe that attribution of intended outcome is wrong (as anyone that has tried to help less technical people, trying to figure out what someone is actually trying to do is a hell of a thing) but it seems at least reasonable to me that "get me off this shitty coffeeshop WiFi but do associate with my home WiFi when I get there" is a more common intent than "don't get on any network whatsoever until I remember to hit the button again".

    • Sounds like Apple is taking lessons from Microsoft - multiple control-panel-esque derivatives in many places with no clear definition of what is supposed to be where.

    • I haven't actually seen the Apple UI. I would hope there's a label telling you that the WiFI or Bluetooth button means "disconnect". When I go to turn these off, it's generally because (a) I'm on an airplane or (b) my battery is running low and I want to conserve power. In both cases, what I intended was to turn the radios off. Maybe I'm weird. When I do want to disconnect from the crummy coffee shop network, my Android phone has a different screen dedicated to picking which WiFi network I'm on (or which Bl

      • by tk77 ( 1774336 ) on Wednesday September 20, 2017 @02:07PM (#55233287)

        If you long-press on one of the buttons in the control center, it pops up a larger display that sort of details whats going on.

        If you tap the wifi or bluetooth buttons to turn them off, the blue highlight turns gray and the text in the larger display will say "disconnected". If you turn them off in the settings app, the highlight turns gray and there's a line through the wifi/bluetooth logos and in the larger display it says "off".

        The airplane mode button which is the first button in the control center, when pressed, turns everything off.

        It's not obvious and I didn't really know that this is how it worked until I saw the Apple support doc. Knowing now how it works, I don't mind so much. It means on my iPad I can have Bluetooth on, but "disconnected" and still be able to use the pencil (rather then having to have BT fully on).

        • It means I can no longer simply tap off BT in the Control Center to stop draining the battery of my Apple Pencil since the motion of carrying it around with the iPad wakes it up and connects it, since there's no "off" button. Because why would it need one when it has motion sensors to know when it's being used or not

    • get me off this shitty coffeeshop WiFi but do associate with my home WiFi when I get there" is a more common intent than "don't get on any network whatsoever until I remember to hit the button again".

      Then it should be a 'disconnect' button. Making it look like an 'off' button is stupid.

      • If you tap the wifi or bluetooth buttons to turn them off, the blue highlight turns gray and the text in the larger display will say "disconnected".

        That sounds to me like a disconnect button.

        • It sounds to me like it's not disconnecting, regardless of what it says. If its by design, as they state, it's not a very good design. When I turn something off, I'd like it to be off and to remain off until such time as I turn it back on again.

          Maybe that's just me? ;-)

          I must have an archaic definition for off. Somewhere, I do have an iPhone but it's not used for anything other than I played with it a few times. Someone gave it to me because I'd done some nice things for them and they thought I'd like it. I

    • by MagicM ( 85041 )

      So a power-user that knows precisely which of the two she intends can pick the right one.

      The annoying part is that one of the two is just a swipe away in the new control center, while the other is in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying âBeware of the Leopard.â

      • Maybe that's because the UI designers believe that the vast majority of users intended the former and not the latter and so they prioritized putting the frequent-intent button in a more convenient place and the infrequent-intent one further away. In fact, that's precisely the job of UI designers is to provide access to the most-used things closer without having massively overloaded UI [jensroesner.de], especially on a phone.

        [ BTW, not knocking wget here. That GUI is intended for the kind of people that use wget, which are h

    • Calling it 'stupid' is a bit of an overreaction to what is basically a UI change to map a more-commonly-held button on what is perceived to the more-
      commonly-intended outcome. Maybe that attribution of intended outcome is

      If my phone behaved like that I sure as heck would be pissed and call it stupid.

      A disconnect button is apparently too hard for Apple to implement or understand. On Android you long press the toggle buttons to manage existing WiFi/BT connections in more detail.

      wrong (as anyone that has tried to help less technical people, trying to figure out what someone is actually trying to do is a hell of a thing) but it seems at least reasonable to me that "get me off this shitty coffeeshop WiFi but do associate with my home WiFi when I get there" is a more common intent than "don't get on any network whatsoever until I remember to hit the button again".

      Really hard to justify UX designs requiring mind reading to work or changing behavior of UX elements everyone understands especially where said cases of mind reading behavior can't be modified by users.

      "More common intent" is hogwash... most people tu

      • most people turn off the radios because they want to save non-removable battery life /quote.

        Sure, but the question is whether they want it to go back to associating with known networks automatically later or whether the user should have to manually manage something the device can handle autonomously.

        Because it seems like users want to turn it off to save battery during the day but also don't want to go home and then burn cellular data despite being in range of their own WiFi network because they forgot to
        set it back.

  • When...? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 20, 2017 @01:15PM (#55232929)

    Can we go back to the 'old' way, where I buy something, its mine, and I get to determine how I want it to work.

    I know, I know, grumpy old man grumbling about progress....

    Maybe just go back to the old dictionary... where "off" meant off, and progress meant something other than "up yours".

    • You can turn it off, it's there in a clear-as-day slider in Settings.

      And the button doesn't say off. It's a blue button that turns gray and says "disconnected" when you've, uh, disconnected. And in my dictionary, disconnected does not redirect to "off".

  • by Spy Handler ( 822350 ) on Wednesday September 20, 2017 @01:22PM (#55232981) Homepage Journal

    my iphone 6+ will stay on 9.3.5 forever, or until the hardware dies... whichever comes first.

    How do I stop the auto updates? It's impossible to stop the phone from downloading updates automatically, unless you jailbreak it... OR you block the following URLs on your wifi router:

    appldnld.apple.com
    mesu.apple.com

    This will prevent your iDevice from auto downloading OS updates. Don't worry, you can still update your installed apps, it only blocks iOS updates.

    • OR you block the following URLs on your wifi router:

      I can't speak to your circumstances... but I suspect most people's cellular phones leave the house occasionally - and probably connect to numerous other wifi networks.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 20, 2017 @01:25PM (#55233013)

    "The instrument (the telescreen, it was called) could be dimmed, but there was no way of shutting it off completely." -- 1984

    • ...except for the part when the modern telescreen (eye-roll) can be turned off in the Settings app, and the other part where no one's making you buy this telescreen (but you can buy an alternate one with an OS written by an advertising company that knows far more about you than Big Brother could ever hope to).
  • Once again, Apple does whatever the hell it wants to in the OS because it thinks the average user is too stupid to know what they actually want. This mindset has been around since the original Macintosh, and yet the fanatic Apple fanbois keep buying their products and insisting that they are more secure than other devices/OSs. That's why I don't buy Apple products, the headaches and risks are just too high.
  • by the_skywise ( 189793 ) on Wednesday September 20, 2017 @01:54PM (#55233225)
    After being outrageously outraged I lied down and took a stresstab and I think I see the usability standpoint. They're probably getting tons of customer support calls from naive users whining that they can't airdrop from their iPhone to their iPad because they turned off wifi on their iPhone. (I do that all the time as I leave my macbook connected to an ethernet connection and turn off the wifi and then can't figure out why my macbook doesn't show up on airdrop but the 15 people's iPhone in the office cubes around me do!)
    That said, they've broken the first law of UI design - DON'T CHANGE THE BEHAVIOR OF A BUTTON ONCE YOU'VE ESTABLISHED ITS USE. If anything it should be a tri-state button now - full on - apple services only - off. That would've clarified the intent to the user of the change AND alerted the user to its valid state.

    Is it any wonder that many considered Steve Jobs an asshole when he would go off? He was probably going off on UI designers doing stuff like this. "DUDE - I PAY YOU A QUARTER OF A MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR AND YOU'RE PUSHING THIS S$*@ ON ME?! WTF?!"
    • They're probably getting tons of customer support calls from naive users whining that they can't airdrop from their iPhone to their iPad because they turned off wifi on their iPhone...why my macbook doesn't show up on airdrop but the 15 people's iPhone in the office cubes around me do...

      I hope you understand you've essentially shitcanned your former statement with the latter here...clearly users are too stupid to ever actually turn off wifi...

    • That depends on what you infer (or divine really) is the user's intended outcome from hitting the button.

      I don't think the user intent (insofar as non-technical users have well-formed notions of intent, which is far from clear) when hitting the button is "I want to disabled WiFi connectivity but keep the ability to AirDrop".

      Let's play a game, which is guess-what-the-user-actually-wants
      (1) Disable all WiFi until I hit the button again, even after I get back at home so that I rack up cellular b

      • That depends on what you infer (or divine really) is the user's intended outcome from hitting the button.

        I don't think the user intent (insofar as non-technical users have well-formed notions of intent, which is far from clear) when hitting the button is "I want to disabled WiFi connectivity but keep the ability to AirDrop".

        Let's play a game, which is guess-what-the-user-actually-wants (1) Disable all WiFi until I hit the button again, even after I get back at home so that I rack up cellular bills (2) Disable all WiFi except for AirDrop and a bunch of other things I don't quite understand (3) Get me off $CURRENT_WIFI (e.g. coffeeshop, airport) but do reconnect to my home network when I get back there even if I forget to hit the button

        I think there's a lot of reasons to believe that the user's intended outcome is (3) rather than (1) or (2). YMMV, and I agree this is something of an imprecise science.

        FWIW, Android does this, too.

        The way Android does it is that the "turn Wi-fi off" switch turns Wifi off. But, in Wifi preferences there's an additional switch for "Turn on Wi-fi automatically", with explanatory text "WiFi will turn back on near high-quality saved networks, like your home network". The screen with the on/off button also has text that says either "Wi-Fi turns back on automatically" or "Wi-Fi doesn't turn back on automatically", and when you turn Wi-Fi off and it's set to turn back on, you

  • by JohnFen ( 1641097 ) on Wednesday September 20, 2017 @02:25PM (#55233407)

    While that might sound like a bug, that's actually what Apple intended in the new operating system.

    It may be what Apple intended, but it still counts as a bug. Any time that the UI is actively misleading, that's a bug.

  • Here's my understanding of what the buttons in Control Center now do:

    Airplane Mode - same as before, turns off all radios - wifi, BT, cell.

    The green cellular lollipop - not intuitively obvious to me that this was for cellular, but anyway it turns off the cellular radio entirely as one would expect.

    Blue wifi icon - this is the one with the new functionality. It's a 'disconnect' button now, not a 'turn off' button. The use case, from what I can tell, is for people who want to not use wifi at a particula
  • While that might sound like a bug, that's actually what Apple intended in the new operating system.

    Hey, Apple. You're programming it wrong.

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