How can I forget network on iPhone but NOT Apple Watch?

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by sorka, Aug 18, 2017.

  1. sorka, Aug 18, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2017

    sorka macrumors newbie

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    Aug 18, 2017
    #1
    How can I get it so my Apple Watch knows about a network that my phone doesn't?

    The situation is that I have a MiFi as wifi connection backup for my daughters Apple Watch. Her school allows her to wear the Apple Watch but all cell phones must be turned off due to school policy. So I have a MiFi that her watch can connect to.

    The problem is I do NOT want her iPhone connected to it when it is on because it will not follow the cellular data restrictions on a per app basis. Both the MiFi and her phone are on the same data plan but I don't want her phone using cellular data for a bunch of apps but if her phone is connect to the MiFi, it will thinks it's on wifi and not obey the restrictions.

    So the bottom line is I need to get her watch on the MiFi but not the iPhone. So far, no matter what I do, when I tell the iphone to forget the network, the watch does so as soon as it's reconnected via bluetooth or via the same network.

    Perhaps there's a timeout of some sort that if I waited long enough before turning airplane mode off of the Apple Watch that it would ignore the forgotten network on the iphone and not delete it from the Watch?
    --- Post Merged, Aug 18, 2017 ---
    Note, I thought I would be clever and rather than "forget" the network on the iphone, just block it from connecting to the MiFi via MAC address. This doesn't work either. As soon as the watch and the phone communicate with each other *after* the phone is unable to reconnect to the mfi because it was blocked, the watch also is unable to connect to the mifi wifi when the phone is shut off.

    It seems that the phone will update the wifi network not just based on added or forgotten networks but also based on connection failures. So the watch will no longer connect to the mifi even though it could because the iphone was unable to connect.

    But even worse, unblocking the phone MAC address and reconnecting to the mifi is not enough to get the watch to connect to the mifi when the phone is shut off or put into airplane mode.

    In addition, no amount of forget and reconnect(re-enter password) cycles will allow the apple watch to reconnect to the mifi with the phone off or in airplane mode. it seems like the mifi has now been blacked listed in some way such that the normal process for getting a watch on a wifi network will not work.
     
  2. BorderingOn macrumors 6502

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    #2
    Seems like you're playing semantics with the rule, but that aside, I don't think you can. The watch simply mirrors what is configured on the phone. Could you have your daughter turn on the MiFi when the phone is off and vice versa?
     
  3. sorka thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 18, 2017
    #3
    Too much process for her to follow. Right now I can't even get her to remember to turn her phone back on after school ends. She only does it when she finally decides to use it.

    But not following the mirror comment.

    In my second attempt to solve this, the watch won't connect to the mifi even though I have NOT forgotten that network on the phone. i.e. the watch still know about this wifi network as it hasn't been forgotten. The only difference is that I'm blocking the phone from the mifi end from connecting. To the iphone, it just looks like it couldn't connect. Why should that prevent the watch from connecting later when the phone is off and the watch is in range of the mifi.
     
  4. sean000 macrumors 65816

    sean000

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    #4
    Private school? I'm guessing because our local public school district can't legally require students to power off cell phones. The student handbook "advises" students to turn them off, but the most a teacher can do is to require that students keep them put away. They can't even require them to silence them, but if a student's phone is causing disruptions, disciplinary action can be taken if the student does not comply with a teacher's request. This encourages most students to keep them put away and on silent alert mode.

    I would think that a policy to completely power them down would be difficult to enforce. An Apple Watch would make it all the easier to keep a cell phone put away and completely silenced. I guess I'm suggesting that you ignore the policy, but it sounds like you are already looking for ways to work around it. Why not just ignore it completely and tell your daughter to keep things silenced? :)

    Of course a teacher could require a student to take off a smart watch in class and put it away. I remember teachers back in the 80's requiring me to remove my Casio calculator watch (at least during test time).

    Sean

    PS: I don't think there is a way to do what you are asking to do with regards to WiFi. Perhaps future versions of WatchOS will provide independent WiFi controls.
     
  5. sorka thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 18, 2017
    #5
    Yes. Private school. And the cell phone policy of strictly requiring the phones to be off is a written policy but is only enforced by the 8th grade teacher.

    Apple Watches are allowed to be worn...at least for now.
    --- Post Merged, Aug 18, 2017 ---
    Is there a legal bassis eithe in the US or California that would prevent private schools from requiring cell phones to be powered off? Even if that were the case and I used that as a club, I suspect they'd then require the watches to be taken off as well.

    For now, I'm trying to solve this with tech.
     
  6. BorderingOn macrumors 6502

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    #6
    Mirror just meant that the networks the phone knows about, the watch knows about.

    A couple notes and tips here: http://www.iphonehacks.com/2015/05/how-to-ensure-apple-watch-is-connected-to-a-wi-fi-network.html
     
  7. sean000, Aug 18, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2017

    sean000 macrumors 65816

    sean000

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    #7
    As a university IT Manager I would probably do the same by trying to solve it with tech. On the other hand I am on a number of committees that make decisions regarding IT policies.

    So this is a school-wide policy, but only this 8th grade teach enforces it? Do they inspect every phone at the start of class,or stand there and watch each student power down? Seems like that must waste 5 minutes or more of the class time! That adds up over a school year. This is one of those cases where I would consider silencing the phone and keeping it in a bag would be complying with the spirit of the policy without following it literally.

    I don't know if there are any federal or state level legal precedents. My brother was on the school board in our district some years ago when this came up. The school board heard from parents who were concerned about the safety of their students and decided that it was too controversial and too risky (in terms of liability) to require cell phones to be powered off. As you say, students forget to turn them back on, and this was a concern for many parents.

    The problem with policy is that it usually lags behind the current technology, and in many cases those who set policy do not understand the technology they are regulating. What is to be gained by powering off a mobile device when silencing it and keeping it put away would accomplish the same practical result? Of course silencing a mobile device is a problem as well for some families when students forget to re-enable audible notification alerts. A smartwatch at least resolves this issue by using silent haptic feedback for notifications. But even when at student is not able to receive notifications, at least a parent can still track their location if necessary... as long as that device is powered on.

    It depends on the leadership at the school, but in some cases the voices of the parents matter quite a lot. I would expect this to be even more true in a private school. If there is no technical way to work around the policy, and it appears that your daughter will not be able to get away with simply silencing and hiding the phone, I would express your concerns to the principal and focus on the safety issue. If you can find some like minded parents that always helps. You could even share an online survey with other parents to see how many of them dislike this policy.

    Mobile device and wearable policies will become even muddier legal water as they are increasingly used to monitor health. Apple and others are developing real-time monitoring for people who have potentially life-threatening illnesses. The Apple Watch itself will improve it's direct monitoring capability, but it will also interface with specialized monitoring devices worn (or embedded) elsewhere on the body. Millions of diabetics will be able to monitor their blood sugar without pricking their fingers. Asthmatics will be able to monitor their blood oxygen level. Policies will have to accommodate these use cases, and I am sure we will see an uptick in legal action against employers and schools with strict technology prohibition policies.

    In the meantime I guess your daughter is getting a realistic lesson in policy: Many policies are of course necessary and do more good than bad. Many others are ill-conceived, poorly defined, and inconsistently applied or enforced.

    Sean
     
  8. sorka thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 18, 2017
    #8
    OK, I figured it out.

    The MAC address blocking works. The mistake I made the first time was after blocking the iphone MAC on the MiFi, for kicks I decided to select that wifi in settings to see what it would do. It popped up the password dialog again even though this was a known network. I did not re-enter the password. I canceled the popup figuring that there was no side effect since I hadn't actually done anything.

    Well apparently the act selecting the already known network on the iphone that I'd blocked on the MiFi was enough to totally mess up the apple watch. I ended up doing a factory reset just so that I could re-add the MiFi and have the watch connect to it again.

    But this time when I blocked the iphone on the mifi, I just left it alone and it's been working ever since. I've turned on and off both the watch and phone multiple times, enabled and disabled bluetooth, etc. Each time the watch is on and the phone is off or in airplane mode, it's now connecting 100% to the MiFi even though the phone itself cannot since it's MAC is blocked.
     
  9. sean000 macrumors 65816

    sean000

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    #9
    Nicely done! I was wondering if the iPhone would have a fit not being able to connect once you blocked the MAC address, but since it's already authenticated perhaps that doesn't matter... at least not until you tap the network, which seems to force it to realize something is wrong.

    Sean
     
  10. sorka thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 18, 2017
    #10
    I wanted to wait a while before posting that I had figured it out on the off chance that the iphone EVENTUALLY decides the network is invalid and somehow tells the watch, but I suspect their doing logging the user interaction and that the watch app on the phone checks the logs to determine if you added a new network. This is why it just doesn't autmotically add the ones that it's already been connecting to. I suspect the act of bringing up the dialog even though I didn't do anything was logged and interpreted by the watch app as a failure.
     

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