Wi-Fi Won’t Turn On On iPhone or iPad

Several iPhone and iPad users have said that Wi-Fi won’t turn on when they try to enable it. More specifically, it appears that users are unable to a Wi-Fi network because the Wi-Fi switch does not seem to work. Simply, tapping the Wi-Fi slider does not function. This article explains how you can fix this problem.

iPhone Wi-Fi Will Not Turn On

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Please try these troubleshooting steps below in order. After trying each step, test your iPhone or iPad again to see if you can turn on Wi-Fi.

1. Airplane Mode

On your device, turn on Airplane Mode, wait 20 seconds and turn off Airplane Mode. You can do that:

  1. Open Control Center and then tap the Airplane icon.
  2. Or, alternatively, you can go to Settings > Airplane Mode.

2. Restart your iPhone or iPad

Simply restarting your device may fix your issue. Here is how you can restart your device.

  • iPhone X, 11 or later and iPad with Face ID models: Press and hold the power (side or top) and volume up (or down) buttons together until the power off slider appears. Then slide the slider. Wait a few seconds for your device to completely turn off. Then press and hold the power button until the Apple logo appears.
  • Other iPhone or iPad models: Press and hold the power button (side or top) until you see the power off slider. Then drag the slider. Wait until your device completely shuts off. Then press and hold the power button again to turn on your device until you see the Apple logo.

3. Force restart your device

If restarting does not solve your Wi-Fi problem, then please force restart your device. Here is how:

  • iPad with Face ID models and iPhone 8 or later: Press and release the volume up button and then press and release the volume down button and press and hold the power button (side or top) until you see the Apple logo.
  • iPhone 7 models: Press and hold both the power (side or top) and volume down buttons together until the Apple logo appears.
  • Other iPhone and iPad models: Press and hold the Home and power (side or top) buttons simultaneously until the Apple logo appears.

4. Update your device

Try updating your iOS or iPadOS software. Since you are unable to use Wi-Fi, updating your device over Wi-Fi wirelessly is not possible. However, you can still update your device using your computer. Here is how:

  • Connect your iPhone or iPad to your computer with a USB cable.
  • On your computer:
    • Open Finder, if your Mac is running macOS Catalina or later.
    • Open iTunes, if your Mac is running an earlier version of macOS or if this is a PC.
  • Select your device in Finder or iTunes.
  • Then click Check for Update and then follow the onscreen instructions.

5. Reset network settings

Resetting network settings may fix this. Please note that this does not erase any personal data (photos, contacts, etc.) but your network settings (Bluetooth settings, saved Wi-Fi passwords, etc) will be gone. Here is how:

  • On your iPhone or iPad, go to Settings.
  • Tap General.
  • Tap Reset.
  • Tap Reset Network Settings.

6. Backup and restore

This is the last resort. This will erase everything. Thus make sure that your back up your iPhone or iPad. You can use iCloud to back up but since you have no Wi-Fi connection, this option would not work. However, you may have a recent backup. Go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud > Manage Storage > Backup.

If you want to back up, connect your device to your computer. Open Finder or iTunes. Click your device and then Back Up Now.

After backing up, now restore your device to its factory settings. Again this will erase everything. Make a backup. Here is how:

  • Connect your device to your computer.
  • Open iTunes or Finder.
  • In iTunes or Finder, click your device.
  • Click Restore iPhone or Restore iPad.
  • Follow the onscreen instructions.

After this, set up your device as new. And test to see if Wi-Fi is working. If it is not working, restore your device from your backup. Here is how:

  • Connect your device to your computer.
  • Open iTunes or Finder.
  • Click your device in iTunes or Finder.
  • Select Restore Backup and follow the onscreen instructions.

So you have tried everything and still are still having this problem. Then it is highly likely that you are having a hardware problem. It is time to contact Apple.

Dr. Serhat Kurt worked as a Senior Technology Director. He holds a doctoral degree (or doctorate) from the University of Illinois at Urbana / Champaign and a master’s degree from Purdue University. Here is his LinkedIn profile.

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