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

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."
When a phone is designed to behave in a way other than what the UI suggests, it results in both security and privacy problems. A user has no visual or textual clues to understand the device's behavior, which can result in a loss of trust in operating system designers to faithfully communicate what’s going on. Since users rely on the operating system as the bedrock for most security and privacy decisions, no matter what app or connected device they may be using, this trust is fundamental.
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.


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Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Aren’t Fully Disabled When Toggled Off in Control Center on iOS 11

Apple has confirmed that Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are not fully disabled when toggled off in Control Center on iOS 11.


Even when toggled off in Control Center on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 11 and later, a new support document says Bluetooth and Wi-Fi will continue to be available for AirDrop, AirPlay, Apple Pencil, Apple Watch, Location Services, and Continuity features like Handoff and Instant Hotspot.

Toggling off Bluetooth or Wi-Fi in Control Center only disconnects accessories now, rather than disabling connectivity entirely.

If Bluetooth is turned off, the iOS device can't be connected to any Bluetooth accessories until one of these conditions is met:

  • You turn on Bluetooth in Control Center.
  • You connect to a Bluetooth accessory in Settings > Bluetooth.
  • It's 5 a.m. local time.
  • You restart your device.

    While Wi-Fi is disabled, auto-join for any nearby Wi-Fi networks will also be disabled until one of these conditions is met:

  • You turn on Wi-Fi in Control Center.
  • You connect to a Wi-Fi network in Settings > Wi-Fi.
  • You walk or drive to a new location.
  • It's 5 a.m. local time.
  • You restart your device.

    Apple made this change in the iOS 11 beta, and it gained more attention after the software was publicly released yesterday.

    iOS 11 users can still completely disable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for all networks and devices by toggling them off in the Settings app.

    Apple says users should try to keep Wi-Fi and Bluetooth turned on for the best experience on an iOS device.

    (Thanks, FlunkedFlank!)

    Related Roundup: iOS 11
    Tags: Control Center, Bluetooth

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  • How to Use and Customize Control Center in iOS 11

    One of iOS 11's key new features is a redesigned Control Center that is highly customizable thanks to 3D Touch integration.

    Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.

    When you deep press on the system toggles pane, for example, a larger pane pops open with previously hidden AirDrop and Personal Hotspot controls.


    On iOS 11, users can add, remove, and organize controls in Control Center through the Settings app. Simply follow these steps.


    How to Add Controls to Control Center on iOS 11

    1. Tap on the Settings app.
    2. Tap on Control Center.
    3. Tap on Customize Controls.
    4. Scroll down to More Controls.
    5. Tap on the "+" sign to the left of a control to add it to Control Center.

    How to Remove Controls From Control Center on iOS 11

    1. Tap on the Settings app.
    2. Tap on Control Center.
    3. Tap on Customize Controls.
    4. Scroll down to Include section.
    5. Tap on the "-" sign to the left of a control to remove it from Control Center.

    How to Organize Controls in Control Center on iOS 11

    1. Tap on the Settings app.
    2. Tap on Control Center.
    3. Tap on Customize Controls.
    4. Tap on the three lines to the right of a control and drag its position up or down.
    The default controls in the top portion of Control Center, such as the brightness and volume sliders, cannot be removed or reorganized.

    List of Default Controls

    • AirDrop
    • Airplane Mode
    • Bluetooth
    • Cellular Data
    • Personal Hotspot
    • Wi-Fi
    • Music
    • Orientation Lock
    • Do Not Disturb
    • Brightness
    • Night Shift
    • Volume
    • AirPlay Mirroring

    List of Customizable Controls

    • Accessibility Shortcuts
    • Alarm
    • Apple TV Remote
    • Calculator
    • Camera
    • Do Not Disturb While Driving
    • Flashlight
    • Guided Access
    • Home
    • Low Power Mode
    • Magnifier
    • Notes
    • Screen Recording
    • Stopwatch
    • Text Size
    • Timer
    • Voice Memos
    • Wallet
    Control Center remains accessible by swiping up from the bottom of the screen nearly anywhere on iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus or earlier.

    On the iPhone X, Control Center can be opened by swiping down from the top right part of the screen next to the TrueDepth front camera system.

    Related Roundup: iOS 11
    Tag: Control Center

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    How to Use and Customize Control Center in iOS 11

    One of iOS 11's key new features is a redesigned Control Center that is highly customizable thanks to 3D Touch integration.

    Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.

    When you deep press on the system toggles pane, for example, a larger pane pops open with previously hidden AirDrop and Personal Hotspot controls.


    On iOS 11, users can add, remove, and organize controls in Control Center through the Settings app. Simply follow these steps.


    How to Add Controls to Control Center on iOS 11

    1. Tap on the Settings app.
    2. Tap on Control Center.
    3. Tap on Customize Controls.
    4. Scroll down to More Controls.
    5. Tap on the "+" sign to the left of a control to add it to Control Center.

    How to Remove Controls From Control Center on iOS 11

    1. Tap on the Settings app.
    2. Tap on Control Center.
    3. Tap on Customize Controls.
    4. Scroll down to Include section.
    5. Tap on the "-" sign to the left of a control to remove it from Control Center.

    How to Organize Controls in Control Center on iOS 11

    1. Tap on the Settings app.
    2. Tap on Control Center.
    3. Tap on Customize Controls.
    4. Tap on the three lines to the right of a control and drag its position up or down.
    The default controls in the top portion of Control Center, such as the brightness and volume sliders, cannot be removed or reorganized.

    List of Default Controls

    • AirDrop
    • Airplane Mode
    • Bluetooth
    • Cellular Data
    • Personal Hotspot
    • Wi-Fi
    • Music
    • Orientation Lock
    • Do Not Disturb
    • Brightness
    • Night Shift
    • Volume
    • AirPlay Mirroring

    List of Customizable Controls

    • Accessibility Shortcuts
    • Alarm
    • Apple TV Remote
    • Calculator
    • Camera
    • Do Not Disturb While Driving
    • Flashlight
    • Guided Access
    • Home
    • Low Power Mode
    • Magnifier
    • Notes
    • Screen Recording
    • Stopwatch
    • Text Size
    • Timer
    • Voice Memos
    • Wallet
    Control Center remains accessible by swiping up from the bottom of the screen nearly anywhere on iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus or earlier.

    On the iPhone X, Control Center can be opened by swiping down from the top right part of the screen next to the TrueDepth front camera system.

    Related Roundup: iOS 11
    Tag: Control Center

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    iOS 11 Preview: Control Center Gets Customizable With 3D Touch

    Apple on Monday introduced iOS 11, the next major version of its mobile operating system for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. The software update, available this fall, includes a completely redesigned Control Center that fits on one page and is much more customizable thanks to 3D Touch.

    Control Center's default appearance (left) and with additional controls (right)

    When you deep press on the Music pane, for example, a larger pane with volume, playback, and other controls pops open. Likewise, when you deep press on the pane with Airplane Mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Cellular Data toggles, a larger pane pops open with AirDrop and Personal Hotspot toggles.

    More granular controls appear by deep pressing with 3D Touch

    On iOS 11, users can add and organize additional controls and toggles to appear in Control Center through the Settings app. However, the following controls are default and cannot be hidden: the system toggles pane, music, orientation lock, brightness, volume, Do Not Disturb, and AirPlay Mirroring.

    In Settings, users can add and organize additional controls to appear in Control Center

    The following controls can be added and organized in Settings:

    • Accessibility Shortcuts
    • Alarm
    • Apple TV Remote
    • Calculator
    • Camera
    • Do Not Disturb While Driving
    • Flashlight
    • Guided Access
    • Low Power Mode
    • Magnifier
    • Notes
    • Screen Recording
    • Stopwatch
    • Text Size
    • Timer
    • Voice Memos
    • Wallet

    Control Center still lacks a truly customizable drag-and-drop layout, but the return to a single-page design and some customizability are welcomed improvements. The ability to add additional controls such as Low Power Mode and Accessibility Shortcuts will also be appreciated by many users.


    The first iOS 11 beta was released to registered Apple developers on Monday. A public beta will be available in late June through the Apple Beta Software Program. The software update should be officially released in September.

    Related Roundup: iOS 11
    Tag: Control Center

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