Wi-Fi Privacy Warning on iPhone – Explained

Maaz Perwez

Our smartphones have a lot of different services that run in the background to gain some information about our location and movements. One among them is Wi-Fi scanning and mac address tracking is another.

As we all know Apple is dedicated to providing its users with the highest level of security and privacy. Apple has added a few new features for privacy with its iOS 14 that can help in better privacy of users’ data.

iOS 14 has basically added a lot of privacy features as an indicator to show whenever your phone’s mic and cameras are used, or when the location services are being used. But one small feature which is being overlooked by many people is the new Wi-Fi privacy settings.

If you have recently gone through the Wi-Fi settings or connected to a new Wi-Fi network you might have seen Wi-Fi privacy warnings in your network settings. In this post, we will be discussing what it is and how it protects and enhances the privacy of its users.

What is Wi-Fi Privacy Warning in iPhone?

With iOS 14, Apple has introduced the all-new Wi-Fi Privacy feature to make your phone more secure while connecting to public Wi-Fi networks. Whenever a device connects to a Wi-Fi network, it must first identify itself using the MAC address. Each device has a particular MAC address.

So, whenever we connect our devices to a Wi-Fi network, we share our MAC address and if we use the same MAC address to connect to all of the networks then the network providers and other observers can easily track your activity, location and every detail of your device.

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However, with the new Wi-Fi privacy feature, any device that is running iOS 14 will use a private address to connect to each different network keeping your original MAC address hidden and safe.

Your iPhone will use a different private MAC address for every network it gets connected to. The private network remains unique to each network; hence it reduces the Wi-Fi tracking of your device.

In case this randomized MAC system isn’t enabled on your iPhone, then it will display a Wi-Fi Privacy warning message whenever you connect to a Wi-Fi network.

How To Fix Wi-Fi Privacy Warning

If you are recently getting a Wi-Fi Privacy warning whenever you try to connect to a Wi-Fi network, then you can fix it easily by following the tutorial below.

  1. On your iPhone head to the settings app.
  2. Then tap on Wi-Fi and open Wi-Fi settings.
    What is Wi Fi Privacy Warning on iPhone and How to Fix it1
  3. Tap on the name of the network to open the settings for that particular network.
  4. Turn on the toggle for Private address.
    What is Wi Fi Privacy Warning on iPhone and How to Fix it2

Once you have toggled on, then you will have to reconnect your iPhone to the Wi-Fi. Simply go back to the Wi-Fi settings and tap on the name of the network name to connect your iPhone to the network again. If you are not able to join, then turn your Wi-Fi off and then turn it back on and try to join again.

If you have already enabled the Private address on your iPhone, then just toggle it off and then back on and then also restart your iPhone. This should fix the Privacy warning message from your Wi-Fi network.

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While you will be able to join most of the networks with a private MAC address. But often you might face issues while connecting to some public Wi-Fi networks, or you might be able to join the network but it won’t allow you to access the internet. Often there are some places that connect your phone to the Wi-Fi network using the device MAC address, usually in schools, colleges, so in that case, you cannot use the randomized MAC address as the unique MAC address changes every now and then, so you will have to give the device’s original MAC address to connect your phone to the network. Make sure to only give the original MAC address when it is required and you trust that network, otherwise always use the private address while accessing the internet.

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