Published in Mobiles

iPhone OS makes it harder to switch off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi

by on21 September 2017

Your battery and security is toast

The genius programmers at Apple have hit on yet another way of making their iPhone harder to use.

For years it has been a doodle to switch off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi when you're not using them. It is a good idea, particularly if you want your battery to live longer than a mayfly.

With the iPhone's new operating system iOS 11 - which was released to the general public yesterday - turning them off is difficult.

Now, when you toggle Bluetooth and Wi-Fi off from the iPhone's Control Center -- the somewhat confusing menu that appears when you swipe up from the bottom of the phone. In fact it does not want to completely turn them off.

In the real world we would call that a software bug, but in Apple’s “let's peddle borked products anyway” reality distortion field it really is a feature and Jobs’ Mob intended it.

In its own documentation, the company says that "in iOS 11 and later, when you toggle the Wi-Fi or Bluetooth buttons in Control Center, your device will immediately disconnect from Wi-Fi and Bluetooth accessories. Both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth will continue to be available". That is because Apple wants the iPhone to continue using AirDrop, AirPlay, Apple Pencil, Apple Watch, Location Services, and other features, according to the documentation.

But security researchers warn that users might not realize this and, as a consequence, could leave Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on without noticing.

"It is stupid", Collin Mulliner, a security researcher who's studied Bluetooth for years, told Motherboard in a Twitter chat. "It is not clear for the user."

Andrea Barisani, a security researcher and one of the first people to notice this change, said in a Twitter direct message that the new user interface is not obvious at all and makes the user experience more "uncomfortable".

Turning off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi reduces your exposure to potential attacks to hardware, firmware and software, so "it's good practice", Barisani told Motherboard  . Just last week, security researchers revealed the existence of a series of bugs in the way some operating systems implemented Bluetooth that allowed hackers to take over a victim's devices as long as the Bluetooth was on—without needing to trick the user into clicking a malicious link or do anything at all.


Last modified on 21 September 2017
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