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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.
After joining my personal WiFi with the SSID “%p%s%s%s%s%n”, my iPhone permanently disabled it’s WiFi functionality. Neither rebooting nor changing SSID fixes it :~) pic.twitter.com/2eue90JFu3— Carl Schou (@vm_call) June 18, 2021
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