Being able to use a Wi-Fi network is pretty much an essential feature of any smartphone these days, so if you’re having trouble maintaining a Wi-Fi connection with your iPhone, it can get frustrating very quickly, especially if you have limited have data. available on your plan and don’t want to switch to cellular (5G or 4G) to get a better signal.
Here are a few things you can try if you want to know why your iPhone drops Wi-Fi signal and can prevent it.
Before moving on to more complex solutions, it’s best to make sure simple things aren’t causing the problem. Here are a few settings and processes to check at the start.
Run Software Update
It’s usually* a good idea to make sure you’re running the latest version of iOS, as older versions can sometimes have bugs that are then fixed by updates.
To check if you’re on the latest version of iOS, open Settings > General > Software Update and if you see a newer version available.
If so, tap Download and Install.
*We say ‘usually’, but sometimes the software update is the problem! In the past, iPhone users have complained when they found their iPhone dropping their Wi-Fi connection after an iOS update. In the past, software updates prevented iPhone users from maintaining a Wi-Fi connection, so if you think you fall into that category, check out Apple’s forums to see if others share the same problem).
Check your settings
It may seem silly, but it’s also worth taking a quick look at your settings to make sure you haven’t accidentally turned off Wi-Fi or turned on airplane mode, as both make it impossible to connect to a wifi network.
To quickly check your connection status, open Control Center (swipe down from the top right corner or swipe up from the bottom, depending on whether your iPhone has a Home button).
In the top left, the Airplane Mode icon should be faded out and below that, the Wi-Fi icon should be blue.
You can also open the Settings app and you should see controls for both of the aforementioned features at the top of the page.
In Airplane mode, the toggle switch should be moved to the left, gray not green, while the Wi-Fi option should display a network name instead of the word Off.
Check that you are connected to the correct Wi-Fi
Speaking of which, check if the Wi-Fi network you are connected to is the right one. If there are multiple networks in your area, you may have managed to connect to another network that you may have used in the past (we know someone whose iPhone connected to a printer network, as in the case above). Switch to the one you want to use and follow the instructions below to permanently disconnect from the unwanted network.
Check if your iPhone is set to connect automatically
When our iPhone failed to maintain a connection to our Wi-Fi network, we discovered that it was no longer “auto-joining”.
To correct this:
Go to Settings.
Tap the Wi-Fi network you want to connect to.
Make sure the slider next to Auto-Join is enabled.
Stop your iPhone using Wi-Fi Assist
If your Wi-Fi is a bit temperamental, you may want to prevent your iPhone from connecting to cellular when the Wi-Fi is weak.
Wi-Fi Assist was one of those useful (or not-so-useful) features Apple added years ago in iOS 9 that detects the Wi-Fi network has a poor signal, will ‘helpfully’ drop the signal in favor of you 4G or 3G signal.
Follow these steps to disable this setting:
Go to Mobile data.
Scroll down to the bottom where you will find the Wi-Fi Assist option.
We had deselected this setting years ago, but it seems a recent iOS update has reverted it back to the original setting.
Restart your iPhone
It’s a strange but unalterable fact that many of life’s tech problems can be solved by simply restarting your device. There’s a reason the dudes in the TV show The IT crowd started all tech support questions with the mantra, “have you tried turning it off and on again?” That’s because it’s often the easiest and most effective way to solve problems.
If you’re not sure how to do that, here’s how to force restart your iPhone, but on recent iPhone handsets it should be easy to press and hold the volume up and down buttons and then hold down the power switch ( if you are not sure how to do it). don’t press the volume controls first, just launch Siri).
Restart your router
If it’s your router, it might be a good idea to turn that off and back on as well.
When you turn off your router, you should wait 20-30 seconds before turning it back on. Or even better, unplug your router, wait a few minutes, then plug it back in. Now wait while your router reconnects.
Check that it is not your broadband provider’s fault
It is possible that there are problems with your line that are not fixed by rebooting or resetting.
On a site like Downdetector you can check if there is a local outage at your provider.
We often find that Wi-Fi does worse when it’s raining – which could be a sign that there’s a problem with your cables. It’s worth flagging with your carrier.
If you’ve tried all of these steps and are still having issues with your iPhone’s Wi-Fi disconnecting, we’ve got some slightly more complex steps below that you can follow.
Check the signal strength
If you’ve checked all of the above and are still having problems, the problem must lie elsewhere. A good place to start your research is signal strength. Homes and other locations can have dead spots where the Wi-Fi network becomes unstable. Big, old houses are notorious for this problem.
Start by opening the Settings app and tap the Wi-Fi option.
To the right of the network name you want to use, check how many of the three lines in the Wi-Fi symbol are black. If all three are filled in, the signal should be strong enough to keep the connection, which means the problem is in a different area, but if only one of the lines is black, it indicates that the signal strength is low, which may cause the iPhone connection to drop.
If it’s the latter, you can try moving to a different part of the room, building, or general area to see if the strength improves. Check out our guide on how to improve the Wi-Fi signal for more ideas on how to solve this problem.
Check the password
Another common problem is that the wrong password is used or the existing one gets corrupted in some way. For the first issue, make sure that the password you enter has the correct upper and lower case letters, as Wi-Fi passwords are sensitive to this.
Forget the network
If the above makes no difference, you can try to ‘forget’ the network details and start over.
To do this, go to Settings > Wi-Fi.
Tap the network name you want to use.
You will see the option Forget this network. Tap this.
Then go back to the Wi-Fi section and tap the network name again.
You must enter the data again.
We find that forgetting the network and then resetting it often fixes problems connecting to specific networks.
Reset the network settings
If you’re still having problems, a stronger approach may be needed.
Go to Settings > Reset.
Select the Reset Network Settings option.
You must enter your iPhone passcode to confirm the decision, after which the device will reboot.
When it’s done, go to the Wi-Fi section, select the network and re-enter the password. Hopefully it all works out this time.
Reset all network connections
If all else fails, you can take a more one-sided approach and reset all your network connections. This requires you to enter the details of all data afterwards, but it has been known to solve persistent connection problems. However, this is a destructive method so it may be worth backing up your iPhone before trying.
Go to Settings > General > Reset and then select the Reset all settings option.
Again, you’ll need to enter your passcode to confirm the decision, then your iPhone will reboot.
Visit an Apple Genius
If you have done all these things and still find that your iPhone cannot connect, then there may be a technical glitch with the device itself. So it might be worth making an appointment at the Genius bar to have one of Apple’s technicians take a look.
Sometimes your Wi-Fi network is just bad, but there may be steps you can take to improve it. Read our guide to improving your Wi-Fi signal and speeding up the internet.
We also have a tutorial on how to fix Wi-Fi problems on your Mac and this tutorial on how to fix cellular connection problems on your iPhone.