Toggling Bluetooth and Wi-Fi via the new Control Center in iOS 11 won’t fully disable the connectivity features. Additionally, the features will periodically re-enable themselves automatically if not turned off in Settings, according to an Apple support document published Wednesday.
For example, rather than disabling Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connectivity entirely, the new Control Center toggle will only disconnect certain accessories and disable Wi-Fi auto-join. The connectivity options will still be available for first-party platforms like AirDrop, AirPlay, Apple Pencil, Apple Watch, Location Services and certain Continuity features, according to the document.
In addition, the toggles will reportedly turn themselves back on automatically when certain conditions are met, such as if a device is restarted, if it’s 5 a.m. local time, or specifically for Wi-Fi, if a user walks or drives to a new location. Connecting to a Wi-Fi network or a Bluetooth accessory will also toggle the options back on in Control Center.
Now, the only way to actually completely disable Bluetooth or Wi-Fi for your device is turn them off manually in Settings. Presumably, they won’t re-enable themselves if they’re hard-disabled this way. Of course, you can also quickly disable Bluetooth and Wi-Fi by turning on Airplane Mode, but that also disables cellular connectivity.
The change is bound to be slightly confusing or even inconvenient for many iOS device owners. It could also be annoying for users who are particularly concerned about their device’s battery life or security (there’s never been a better time to download and use a VPN on your iPhone). While the change has been around since iOS 11 was in its beta testing phase, it’s now gaining more exposure since the software’s general rollout.
Apple has long recommended that users keep Bluetooth and Wi-Fi always enabled for the best iOS experience. In iOS 11, that recommendation has been baked into the software itself as a default functionality.