EFF Says iOS 11's Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Toggles in Control Center Are Misleading and Compromise Security

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Oct 6, 2017.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Apple recently confirmed that Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are not fully disabled when toggled off in Control Center on iOS 11, and the change has generated some fresh criticism from a prominent non-profit digital rights group.


    For background, when Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are toggled off, an iPhone or iPad on iOS 11 merely disconnects from a Wi-Fi network and Bluetooth accessories. The actual Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios in the device remain activated.

    Moreover, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth automatically reenable at 5:00 a.m. local time each day, or if the device is restarted.

    iOS 11 works this way so that Wi-Fi and Bluetooth continue to be available for AirDrop, AirPlay, Apple Pencil, Apple Watch, Location Services, and Continuity features like Handoff and Instant Hotspot.


    As a result of the change, the Electronic Frontier Foundation believes that iOS 11 compromises users' security. In a critical article, the EFF said the toggles are "misleading" and "bad for user security."
    The EFF said the "loophole in connectivity" can potentially leave users open to new attacks, and it linked to a white paper that unveils apparent zero day vulnerabilities and security flaws in modern Bluetooth stacks.

    The article added that, at a bare minimum, Apple should keep the Control Center toggles off until the user flips them back on, rather than overriding the user's choice at 5:00 a.m. local time the next morning.

    Overall, the EFF's arguments are generally the same as those shared by iOS 11 users who are unhappy with the change. The toggles still behave the same in the iOS 11.1 beta, however, so there's no indication Apple will reverse course.

    iOS 11 users can still completely disable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for all networks and devices by toggling them off in the Settings app. A device can also be placed in Airplane Mode with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth disabled.

    In a support document, Apple said users should try to keep Wi-Fi and Bluetooth turned on for the best experience on an iOS device.

    Article Link: EFF Says iOS 11's Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Toggles in Control Center Are Misleading and Compromise Security
  2. btrach144 macrumors 65816


    Aug 28, 2015
    I couldn’t agree more.

    I like another user who said, “the iPhone used to not require a user manual. Not anymore...”
  3. madmin macrumors regular

    Jun 14, 2012
    Quick supplemental update ! red dots are dangerous too
  4. Oldfash33 macrumors regular


    Sep 5, 2011
    Bingo! For the longest time I couldn’t figure out why my Apple Watch was still connected when I had bluetooth turned off through control center. Apparently it wasn’t Truly off.
  5. 840quadra Moderator


    Staff Member

    Feb 1, 2005
    Twin Cities Minnesota
    I do understand their and apples viewpoint. I think much of this could have been avoided with a better explanation from Apple on the release, and a notification when they are first toggled.
  6. Rocko99991 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 25, 2017
    So turning off Wifi and Bluetooth via control center doesn't really turn them off. Turning them off in settings does? Oh that makes sense....
  7. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    I agree, I think Apple really needs to fix it.
  8. OldSchoolMacGuy Suspended


    Jul 10, 2008
    EFF always feels the need to define things for everyone, even where they don't understand them. They've turned into a group that does nothing but complain and have given up on actually taking action as they use to.

    Apple made this change because it's the intension most users have when they use that functionality. For most, they don't care if it's truly on or off, just that they can disconnect from the current network/device quickly. If you're that paranoid that you need to turn off everything, airplane mode it is.
  9. BMcCoy macrumors 68000


    Jun 24, 2010
    That is certainly true.

    But I think I agree - if you toggle Wi-Fi and BT off.. they should be off. Until you, the user, decide to turn them on again.
    That just makes sense to me.
  10. jerryk macrumors 601

    Nov 3, 2011
    SF Bay Area
    I did not know this. I assumed off meant off. Stupid me. I guess Apple knows better, and I am not turning the radios off correctly. </sarcasm>
  11. jsmith189 macrumors 65816


    Jan 12, 2014
    They just need a 3D Touch toggle. Disabled and off. I prefer the way it works now.
  12. Oblivious.Robot macrumors 6502a


    Sep 15, 2014
    I second this, really hate having to go in settings just to turn off the WiFi as I really don’t need it while driving, or during a transit.
  13. polymersayb macrumors regular

    Dec 12, 2012
    I seem to be the only one who likes this functionality...

    But I agree that it needs to be made clearer to the user somehow. Or maybe an option in the settings for the user's preferred control center behavior.
  14. Archmage macrumors member


    Jan 30, 2003
    Michigan, USA
    It says "disconnect" and disconnected state and disabled state have different icons! It's articles that say it's "broken" that are the problem. Tell users that the features have changed.
  15. Rigby macrumors 601

    Aug 5, 2008
    San Jose, CA
    I couldn't agree more. And the Wifi doesn't just turn back on at 5am, but also when you "walk or drive to a new location". How silly is that? There are valid reasons to turn Wifi/BT off, be it to conserve battery power, avoid being tracked by retail stores, or security. Just in iOS 11 they fixed yet another vulnerability in the Wifi controller ("An attacker within range may be able to execute arbitrary code on the Wi-Fi chip"). When I turn it off I mean "off", and not "off until I move".
  16. TroyBoy30 macrumors 68020


    Jun 9, 2009
    Atlanta GA
    the toggles work normally when the device is in airplane mode
  17. big-ted macrumors regular


    Feb 24, 2013
    I hope Apple fix this, without a manual the general public isn't going to know that turning off the radios doesn't turn them off unless you turn them off in another menu
  18. macTW Suspended

    Oct 17, 2016
    Agreed. If it was always like this, not a problem, but ten years one way to then change it to a compromising style?

    When I’ve turned WiFi “off” I’ve found myself connecting to random unprotected networks. That’s a massive security issue.
  19. ravenstar macrumors regular

    Jan 12, 2005
    Well, if that isn't infuriating. Take the controls out of the control panel if they're not going to do the intuitive thing. How'd you feel about a light switch that just hides the light, but doesn't really turn it off?
  20. Avieshek Suspended


    Dec 7, 2013
  21. Mad Mac Maniac macrumors 601

    Mad Mac Maniac

    Oct 4, 2007
    A little bit of here and a little bit of there.
    I for one prefer it this way. That’s all the average person (and me) wants when they turn off Bluetooth or WiFi.
  22. viperGTS macrumors 68000

    Nov 15, 2010
    Apple really needs to fix the behavior of these toggles. I don't know why they thought changing the functionality was ever a good idea.
  23. thejtray macrumors newbie


    Sep 19, 2017
    Boise, ID
    IMO the main reason was done because the Apple Pencil has to be repaired each time you turn off Bluetooth. It’s a failure in that hardware that results in customers turning off Bluetooth on accident and coming into the Apple Store to complain about the Pencil disconnecting. Garbage in garbage out.

    Speaking of which anybody get DND while driving to work automatically? Only seams to work when I manually engage. Of course that’s not a new feature.
  24. rdinterman macrumors member


    Sep 17, 2012
    This is actually one of my favorite things about iOS11. The ability to drop a slow network without having to turn off WiFi completely I think is brilliant. Although I agree a 3D toggle with a choice would also be good.
  25. mi7chy macrumors 603


    Oct 24, 2014
    When no and off used to have real meaning. Now it's maybe.

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