Wednesday, October 11, 2017

iPhone iOS 11 - how to turn WiFi and Bluetooth positively, absolutely, and most sincerely off

iPhone users, here's something that Apple is trying to slip by you in iOS 11: turning off Wifi and Bluetooth off doesn't really turn them off:
Apple in iOS 11 decided that when you tap the Wi-Fi or Bluetooth buttons in Control Center, the system now will disconnect you from any devices or networks you are currently on but no longer truly switches Wi-Fi or Bluetooth off. 
This means that even though you thought you switched them off, they remain active for things like AirDrop, AirPlay, Continuity, Hotspot, Location services and devices such as the Apple Watch and Pencil. 
An Apple tech support note says this is so you can continue to use those “important features.”
"Important".  Oooooh kaaaay.  Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain selling location-based advertising.

But fear not, there is a way to turn them most sincerely off, even though the iPhone GUI won't tell you how.  The article goes into this in detail, but it boils down to three options:

1. Ask Siri to turn Wifi off.  This one sounds creepy to me, but you know how nasty and suspicious I am about Siri and Alexa.

2. Set the phone in Airplane mode.  Of course, then it won't work as, you know, a phone.  Nice design decision for your phone, Apple.

3. Go to Settings and turn off WiFi and Bluetooth manually.  This is a real pain, especially something that is supposed to have an "insanely great" user experience.  I guess your convenience must be sacrificed to the Apple bottom line.



ASM826 said...

Step 1. Turn off the phone.
Step 2. Put the phone in a lead-lined drawer.

SiGraybeard said...

Wait. There’s a way to turn off WiFi and Bluetooth without going to Settings and manually doing it?

Anonymous said...

I really don't think this is about ads or bottom line. I think this was about implementing a feature a lot of users want, and making the piss poor decision to change the functionality of an existing interface to implement the feature.

90% of the time, my use case for turning off the wi-fi is to disconnect temporarily. For instance, my office has one guest network for 500 employees and all their devices. Lunch time slow downs are a given. So at times, it will be faster to use the cell data rather than wi-fi. Other times, I'll be trying to make a call somewhere with a spotty wi-fi connection, and despite the poor connection, my provider's "wi-fi calling assist" feature will insist on using the network. The result is a stuttery call and hanging up, disabling the wi-fi and calling again. In both of these cases, my use case is wanting the wi-fi disconnected and off *temporarily*. But when I get home I want the wi-fi back on. My home network is good and I don't want to spend my data plan unnecessarily because I forgot to turn the wi-fi back on.

So this is a feature I've actually wanted for a while now, and it's great to have. And I'm betting they have the user data (and complaints) to back up the idea that most people want this functionality. And yes, it's something that could be solved differently with location based profiles, and they should implement those as well, but that's overkill for what I imagine is the most common use case.

The problem is the fact that they took a button that meant one thing, and changed it to mean something else, and took the ability to do the old functionality out of that spot completely. What they should have done was turn the button into a tri-state button or provided the option to choose the behavior of the button.

So why do I think this has nothing to do with bottom line and ads? 1) Because Settings->Privacy->Location Services->System Services->Location-Based Ads is still a toggle and 2) Because if they really wanted your location, they already have a cellular data connection. I think they're telling the truth on their motivations on this, and I think they made a stupid decision in how to implement access to the feature.