The latest version of Apple's new operating system for iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touch, iOS 6.0.1, is still giving some Apple device users Wi-Fi fits.
You'd think by now, seven weeks after Apple released iOS 6, the technology giant would have fixed all this major mobile operating system's Wi-Fi networking problems. Wrong.
Customers are still reporting that Wi-Fi is completely inaccessible with a grayed out Wi-Fi option even after the recent 6.0.1 update. As before, this problem seems to strike Apple iPhone 4S users far more often than other users. Any Apple device running iOS 6.x may be vulnerable though.
Officially, Apple's suggestion is the usual 'reboot and pray' litany:
If you encounter this issue, try the following steps and attempt to enable Wi-Fi or Bluetooth after each one.
1. Verify that Airplane Mode is off.
2. Restart your iOS device
3. Update your iOS device
4. Reset Network Settings, by tapping Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings
5. Restore your iOS device in iTunes.
And if that doesn't work? Contact Apple or your mobile carrier. Good luck with that.
There is still another Wi-Fi problem if you're using your iDevice on a closed network or automatically connect to a virtual private network (VPN). Brett Glass, founder of LARIAT.NET, a Laramie, WY-based ISP specializing in wireless broadband, reported:
In iOS 6, Apple assumes that the only reason you would want to connect to Wi-Fi is to access the Internet, and that all hotspots authenticate users via a Web server. Both assumptions are wrong. When you connect to a Wi-Fi hotspot using Apple iOS 6, it starts a browser and assumes that if you need to log in, you will immediately do so via that browser.
Switch the context away from the browser (e.g. by pressing the "home button") before the device is able to contact Apple via the Internet, and the OS disconnects you from the Wi-Fi.
At our hotspots, users first connect to the Wi-Fi network and then activate a secure VPN connection that provides them with privacy (all of the Wi-Fi encryption schemes are easily broken) to "tunnel" out to the Internet. But they cannot do this on iOS 6. When they switch away from the browser and go to the "Settings" app to start the VPN, they find that they've been cut off from the Wi-Fi and cannot make a VPN connection.
Anyone who wants to connect to a private network (i.e. one that doesn't offer Internet access) and use a program other than the browser -- such as an SSH client -- also cannot do so. This makes iOS 6 useless to anyone who wants to run apps strictly on an internal network, including administrators configuring equipment.
This problem, Glass said, did not exist in iOS 5.x. "We have lots of users happily operating on iOS 5. We have tried to caution them not to upgrade."
For all that many users have upgraded to iOS 6.x, until Apple gets its Wi-Fi act together, Glass' advice is good for anyone who depends on Wi-Fi on their iPhone 4S or use their iDevices in any tightly secured Wi-Fi network.