Upon upgrading to iOS 7, a significant number of iPhone 4S users have been experiencing WiFi settings that are grayed out. The grayed out WiFi removes the option to enable WiFi. Using Control Center, the toggle is present, but it won’t actually enable WiFi. Apple has made recommendations on a possible fix, but for many, it doesn’t appear to correct the problem. Probably the most bizarre part of the story is the workaround to get Wi-Fi working again on an iPhone 4s that includes either using a hair dryer or your freezer.
When upgrading to a new version of iOS, some devices are listed as compatible, but they really don’t deliver the best of experiences. In the case of the iPhone 4, some might find iOS 6 to provide a faster overall experience. The iPhone 4S is relatively new iPhone and its A5 processor is more than enough to provide for a pleasurable experience on iOS 7. It makes perfect sense that users would make the jump to iOS 7. The unintended consequence for some has been WiFi settings being disabled. There are a number of threads in Apple’s support forums detailing problems with WiFi not working. When navigating to Settings > WiFi, the option to toggle on/off has been grayed out or dim.
What Apple Recommends
Apple has a support document that illustrates a similar scenario, saying it happens in ‘rare instances’. Their fix recommends you restart your iOS device. To do so, hold the power button until you see the ‘Slide to power off’ option. Swipe from left to right and your iPhone will power down. Once completed, press and hold the power button to start up again.
Next Apple wants you to reset network settings. You can find this option in Settings > General > Reset Network Settings. Note: This will reset WiFi passwords, VPN, APN and any existing Bluetooth pairings you had set up.
That’s the extend of the support document, other than a recommendation to upgrade iTunes and iOS to their respective latest versions.
Cooling, Heating WiFi Chip Using A Hair Dryer or Freezer
Before we start with what some have found to be a possible solution, let me say that I in no way want to be responsible for your iPhone if things go south. If you are in warranty, make an appointment at your local Apple Store and get it fixed for free. They’ll likely swap out your iPhone 4S for a refurbished model. For those out of warranty, some are told by Apple Store Genius staff that a bad WiFi chip costs $300 to replace. Not sure about you, but I’d politely decline that repair and try my chances – even if it’s a bizarre fix. As this is a completely unorthodox fix, you do run the risk of further damage.
The Freezer Method
Some users have reported success by ‘freezing’ their iPhones. They power down their iPhones, place in a sealed bag and put it in the freezer for 20 minutes or so. It’s not clear as to what exactly causes this to work. As for results, they appear mixed, with some reporting it corrects the issue, but in some cases temporarily.
The Hair Dryer Method
The next method is the complete opposite. It uses heat from a hair dryer to heat up allegedly heat up the WiFi chip inside the iPhone. Using a standard hair dryer, users are heating up the internals of their iPhones by pointing into the headphone jack. At some point, the iPhone will kick back a warning that the iPhone is too hot and can only be used for emergency calls. Once the iPhone cools down, the WiFi for some will be restored.
From the sounds of it, this appears to be a software issue, one that in some cases can be fixed with as simple restart and reset of network settings. What’s troubling is the amount of users who are not able to correct the problem and have resorted to bizarre methods to fix their WiFi. While they might work, extreme heating and freezing of an iPhone could bring about bigger issues. That being said, if I were faced with a $300 option, I too would find myself more willing to try either the hair dyer or freezer method.
Have you experienced issues with a grayed out WiFi since updating to iOS 7? What’s worked for you?