All Devices Wi-Fi "Ask to Join Networks" setting rant

BerryCurrant

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 27, 2020
32
18
Canada
When you go to your Wi-Fi setting there's a setting called "Ask to Join Networks". In iOS 12 you could set this to On or Off, in iOS 13 you can set it to On, Off, or Notify.

This setting has got to be the most confusing setting in iOS because of the way it is worded.

For most people "Ask to Join Networks = Off" would literally mean "don't ask me to join available Wi-Fi networks, just do it" (i.e. without asking). This assumption is supported by the many articles I see online claiming that setting this to "Off" will make your device join unknown/open networks without asking, which would obviously be terrible. Here's an example. Here's another. But is that really true? If you read the fine print below the setting it seems to say that this setting is actually just about notifying you that there are Wi-Fi networks around, not joining them. So which is it? Is Apple actually dumb enough to allow your phone to join open networks without asking?

Now, with the introduction of a third "Notify" option in iOS 13, this setting becomes even more confusing! Previously, in iOS 12, "On" meant that iOS would notify you of available Wi-Fi networks. Now there's "On" and "Notify" which means almost the same thing. 🙄

Honestly, it's gotten to the point where I'm just too paranoid to enable Wi-Fi on my phone. I just leave it off. Obviously I do NOT want my phone to join an open Wi-Fi network without me knowing about it. Ever! I also don't want to constantly be notified about nearby Wi-Fi networks. With all the conflicting information online, seems like the only way to guarantee that, is to leave Wi-Fi off.

Rant over. Thanks for listening! 😇
 
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Evaldas

macrumors newbie
Aug 1, 2019
25
5
If Off is selected, the unknown networks will never be joined automatically.

If Notify is selected, and no known networks are available, a list of unknown networks appears.

If you have Ask selected, only one prioritized network appears, and this choice is based on this security list:
1. HS2.0/Passpoint
2. EAP
3. WPA3
4. WPA2/WPA
5. WEP
6. Unsecure/Open

Here's more information on how iOS decides which wireless network to auto-join: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202831
 
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teeshot44

macrumors 6502
Aug 8, 2015
356
262
US
The explanation for each choice is pretty clear to me. Read what it says and don't try to read something else into it.
 
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BerryCurrant

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 27, 2020
32
18
Canada
The explanation for each choice is pretty clear to me. Read what it says and don't try to read something else into it.
You missed the point of this rant.

If Off is selected, the unknown networks will never be joined automatically.

If Notify is selected, and no known networks are available, a list of unknown networks appears.

If you have Ask selected, only one prioritized network appears, and this choice is based on this security list:
1. HS2.0/Passpoint
2. EAP
3. WPA3
4. WPA2/WPA
5. WEP
6. Unsecure/Open

Here's more information on how iOS decides which wireless network to auto-join: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202831
Thank you for a thoughtful and intelligent response! That link was a good read too, thanks! I have mine set to "Off" so I was surprised to see that iMore article claiming that "Off" means iOS will join open networks without asking, which contradicts the fine print below the setting.

Apple should really rename it to "Notify me of available Networks". That would make a lot more sense IMHO.
 
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