This strange SSID could permanently disable your iPhone's WiFi

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 3,039   +817
Staff member
PSA: Apple has something of a history of iPhone-breaking bugs. The newest discovery does not brick the device outright, but it does make the WiFi go haywire to the point it is unusable until you perform a factory reset.

Someone encountered a strange bug in iOS that will permanently jack up an iPhone's WiFi. Twitter user Carl Schou tweeted a video showing what happens if you ever try to connect to a router with the SSID "%p%s%s%s%s%n" (below).

When Schou tried this, his phone got stuck in an endless loop, connecting and disconnecting to the router. Neither rebooting nor renaming the SSID was able to break the loop. His only remedy was to perform a factory reset.

Another Twitter user said he could resolve the issue by going to Settings->General->Reset, then selecting "Reset Network Settings." However, we could not find any TechSpot staff members willing to intentionally bork their phones to confirm if this solution really works.

Why Schou gave his router such a weird name in the first place is anybody's guess. He does mention that he belongs to a hacking group. Perhaps they figured the SSID out through data mining or something and were testing it.

In any case, now that the information is out there, someone might try to use it to prank others. So it would be wise to avoid connecting to any network you might come across with this SSID or anything similar for that matter. As a general rule of thumb, always exercise caution when connecting to any unknown hotspot.

We have reached out to Apple to see if it is aware of this bug but did not hear back by post. We'll update this article if and when Apple gets back to us.

Image credit: PSGflash

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m4a4

Posts: 2,427   +2,758
TechSpot Elite
Sounds like saving the SSID is the culprit (and then loading the saved network triggers the bug).

Does iOS have a way to look at them while off? This doesn't make it sound like you can just go in and delete the network...
 

kiwigraeme

Posts: 371   +302
Good think no one will actually change their SSID to this - not a soul - not even an android fan.

My phone only hooks up to one wifi system mind - I don't even need to do that as it has unlimited data - if throttles after 10Gb ( I only use 1 to 2 GB a month anyway ) - but I've put a my nephew and niece on my plan as I like them - and they said they can still stream after their own 10Gb limits just fine .
Countries like the USA needs to get cheap unlimited data - like most civilised countries
 

Hexic

Posts: 989   +1,434
TechSpot Elite
Good think no one will actually change their SSID to this - not a soul - not even an android fan.

My phone only hooks up to one wifi system mind - I don't even need to do that as it has unlimited data - if throttles after 10Gb ( I only use 1 to 2 GB a month anyway ) - but I've put a my nephew and niece on my plan as I like them - and they said they can still stream after their own 10Gb limits just fine .
Countries like the USA needs to get cheap unlimited data - like most civilised countries

It's not as bad here in the states on data pricing as years past.. there are numerous MVNOs that operate on the 25-40USD/mo plans (Mint, Boost, Virgin Mobile, Cricket, Visible) that offer unlimited plans (some including 5G and UW 5G such as Visible) that are quite affordable.

Just because VZW and AT&T are fleecing their customers, doesn't mean there aren't affordable options out there. And I don't mind paying for 5G (specifically UWB) service before anywhere else in the world has it... Because we always have these things first.
 

p51d007

Posts: 2,768   +2,085
It's not as bad here in the states on data pricing as years past.. there are numerous MVNOs that operate on the 25-40USD/mo plans (Mint, Boost, Virgin Mobile, Cricket, Visible) that offer unlimited plans (some including 5G and UW 5G such as Visible) that are quite affordable.

Just because VZW and AT&T are fleecing their customers, doesn't mean there aren't affordable options out there. And I don't mind paying for 5G (specifically UWB) service before anywhere else in the world has it... Because we always have these things first.

I ditched AT&T probably 8 years ago and went with an MVNO and still use the AT&T towers, but MUCH less than at&t, and I get 10gig hotspot, which I MIGHT use a couple gigs a month.
 

rmcrys

Posts: 42   +32
It's not as bad here in the states on data pricing as years past.. there are numerous MVNOs that operate on the 25-40USD/mo plans [... ]Because we always have these things first.

Well, in Europe a lot of countries already have 5G working and myself, I pay around 30€/ month with 18 GB of fast data, dann throttles (unlimited plan). I use YouTube, Netflix and common apps/ websites and I rarely reach 10-12 GB. I even share with my laptop sometimes...
Worth noting that on most countries, as long you are in the European union, you can use your phone on another country as you were at home without extra costs.
 

TheBigT42

Posts: 552   +503
"This strange SSID could permanently disable your iPhone's WiFi"
"does not brick the device outright, but it does make the WiFi go haywire to the point it is unusable until you perform a factory reset."

I don't call that permanent.
 
Sounds like saving the SSID is the culprit (and then loading the saved network triggers the bug).

Does iOS have a way to look at them while off? This doesn't make it sound like you can just go in and delete the network...
No. You need to be connected to said network to be able to delete it. Alternatively you can do a network reset which will delete all known networks and you'll be left without WiFi until you add another hotspot.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 6,132   +4,398
As a programmer, that SSID looks like a string that might be used to parse other strings for data. I guess it would not surprise me if somehow, the phone is trying to use it that way, and gets itself in an endless loop. The question is why would it be using it that way, IMO.