New iPhone Wi-Fi bug could prevent you from connecting to Wi-Fi networks

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New iPhone Wi-Fi bug could prevent you from connecting to Wi-Fi networks
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  • A new iPhone Wi-Fi bug has been discovered that disables the Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi related features on iPhones.
  • There are two variants of the iPhone Wi-Fi bug, and the first one can be solved easily.
  • The second variant is a lot more severe and semi-permanent in nature.
  • Apple is yet to acknowledge the issue.
A new iPhone Wi-Fi bug could prevent you from connecting to Wi-Fi networks. When triggered, the bug disables the Wi-Fi feature on the affected iPhones. Essentially, you won’t be able to turn on Wi-Fi or use features like AirDrop.

Now, a more severe variant of the iPhone Wi-Fi bug has been found by the same security researcher who discovered the original bug in June.

The original bug was triggered when you tried to connect to Wi-Fi networks with the ‘%’ symbol in them. This is because, in some programming languages, the text that follows the % symbol is treated as a command instead of just plain text.

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An example of this could be something like this – ‘%p%s%s%s%s%n’.

Once you connect to the Wi-Fi access point with the % symbol in it, your iPhone’s Wi-Fi feature gets disabled. Thankfully, simply resetting the network settings fixed the original bug.

We tried replicating this bug on an iPhone 11 with the iOS 14.5.1 update installed. We were unable to reproduce or trigger the bug, so it’s possible that not all iPhones are affected by this. But until Apple makes an official acknowledgement, it’s difficult to say exactly which iPhone-iOS combinations are affected.

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New severe variant doesn’t require you to connect to the Wi-Fi access point



However, the new severe variant of the bug is semi-permanent. The severe variant gets triggered when your iPhone comes in the range of a Wi-Fi network named ‘%secretclub%power’.

You don’t even have to connect your iPhone to this access point, which makes it a lot worse than the original bug.

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Once triggered, the Wi-Fi on your iPhone gets disabled. Resetting the phone’s network settings doesn’t help, either. A hard factory reset of the iPhone should ideally solve this problem. You could also try restoring a previous backup of your iPhone, or create a new backup without the network settings and then restore it.

What to do until Apple fixes this issue



It is likely that there could be other variants – less or more severe – of the % Wi-Fi access point bug. As always, it is recommended to not connect to Wi-Fi networks that you don’t know about, even if they are open and offer free internet access.

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There’s not much that can be done about the severe variant except keeping your iPhone’s Wi-Fi turned off when not in use.

A software update from Apple that addresses this critical bug will be the only permanent solution. Until then, keep your iPhone safe.

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