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iOS 6 device users report baffling range of Wi-Fi problems

Wi-Fi disabled, flakey, slow; forums jammed with complaints

By , Network World
September 26, 2012 07:47 AM ET

Network World - Some number of iPhone and iPad users upgrading to iOS 6 are reporting a range of Wi-Fi problems, as are some iPhone 5 users. The solutions, when there are any, seems as baffling as the problems.

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The continuing posts at Apple's tech support site and at online forums show users with existing iPhone and iPads frustrated by a flurry of different problems, including a "grayed out" Wi-Fi option, dropped connections, slow connection speeds, and having to connect manually to a Wi-Fi access point. Separately, there are posts by some owners of the new iPhone 5, released last Friday, also about Wi-Fi problems.

Confusedly, these are problems that are unrelated to the Wi-Fi glitch last week when iOS 6 was first released. In that situation, the iPhone or iPad pings an Apple Website to determine if the device is on a hotel or airport Wi-Fi network and needs a network "terms of agreement" page. That webpage was temporarily offline, but its absence prevented a lot of users from getting Wi-Fi access for a few hours. But it was quickly fixed.

Because of the nature of online postings, it's difficult to see patterns or to gain a sense of how widespread these problems are. When queried last Friday, an Apple PR spokesman replied via email "Thanks for bringing this to my attention." Two follow-up emails asking for a statement from Apple have not been acknowledged by either of two PR persons contacted.

A typical post on Apple's own support boards is this one from bigfirefighter, in Ohio, who posted Tuesday morning Sept.25: "I have been through 2 levels of Apple Support and they can't help, they said they "kicked it up to the engineers". IPhone 4 updated at the same time as iPad, which works perfectly. Cannot turn on wifi on the phone since it is grayed out. Did several hard resets, restored twice, restored to factory settings once, reset network connections twice, nothing works..."

That post was part of a thread titled "iOS 6 WiFi Disabled" which by Tuesday afternoon had received 70,496 views, and 835 comments.

Another poster named VeeDom reported the same problem. "I called Apple Care and told me that they know about this issue and are working on it for a new release of IOS6 to fix this...Until now, we are stuck!" He added a new twist: "Also, just found out that aside from the greyed wifi switch, I can't seem to detect my [iPhone] 4S on my macbook via wifi (using personal hotspot) even if it is enabled. I'm not sure if it is related to the wifi issue but you may want to check if yours is working."

Solutions seems as inexplicable as the problems. Kenishialala posted: "I had the same problem since yesterday but thank goodness it's back now! I've been restoring my iphone for I can't remember how many times now. But for the nth time today, it finally worked! The original plan was to downgrade to iOS 5.1.1. I failed twice so on the third time, I decided to bring back the iOS6. MIRACLE, I am now able to use the wifi again. Toggle it on and off and connect it to our Wifi."

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