Airplane Mode remembers if you want WiFi and Bluetooth enabled

When iOS 11 dropped, one point of discussion was Control Center and the way that the WiFi and Bluetooth buttons were handled. Here’s a link to our explainer.

At its core was the issue of the Bluetooth and WiFi radios not being turned off when the Control Center radios were tapped. Instead, the current connections were dropped, but the radios were left on.

Here’s another wrinkle:

When you tap the Airplane Mode button, iOS remembers your last Bluetooth and WiFi settings and will leave those radios on if they were on last time you were in Airplane Mode.

Note that iOS will not turn on one of the radios if they are off when you enable Airplane Mode.

Give this a try:

  • Open Control Center, tap to turn on WiFi and Bluetooth
  • Tap the Airplane Mode button to enable it
  • Tap WiFi to turn it off
  • Tap Airplane Mode button to disable it
  • Tap WiFi to turn it back on

OK, now WiFi is enabled, but Airplane Mode remembers that you want it off. Let’s test that:

  • Tap to turn on Airplane Mode

Your WiFi radio should shut off, but your Bluetooth radio should stay on.

Here’s the official Apple Knowledge Base article about this. [H/T Paul Collins]



  • Cranky Observer

    1) that is far too complicated (2) US citizens exercising their right to peaceably assemble under the 1st Amendment will be in a world of hurt when they are stingray’d, kettled, arrested, and [illegally] prosecuted using location information from their iPhones they thought they had turned off – and yes, that is going on right now across the US, although presumably not to wealthy white Silicon Valley bros.

    • Brandon

      Your first point is spot on.

      Your second point is tin foil hat worthy. Such actions require a search warrant which has been upheld multiple times in the court to the point of being precedent. Don’t let the grassroots propagandists manipulate you with disinformation, they care not for facts.

      • Cranky Observer

        Um, no: police agencies throughout the US are using stingray-type devices indiscriminately and with no search warrants as a little work with such tinfoil site as Google News will confirm.

  • Bob

    Only Apple could spend as much time and money as they have spent screwing up things as simple as Save/Save As… and On/Off. WHAT is wrong with them? It’s gotta be drugs, because shear ignorance just doesn’t cut it anymore.

  • Caleb Hightower

    Seriously, Apple, what the Hell?

  • Td mac

    Actually in a way I really like it. 99% of the time I am putting on airplane mode it’s because I am in a foreign country or on a plane and then manually have to turn on Wifi & bluetooth. Now I can save 2 steps by setting it up before hand.

    Now, the issue I have is that Apple makes these changes and doesn’t communicate. If they did then people would know up front the changes and how it works. No surprises or thinking things are a bug. Many of these things should be part of a supplied tutorial showing new features and changes in iOS. I know there are tons of features I have no clue about and I am a tech guy.