Why Does My iPhone Say Security Recommendation In Wi-Fi? The Fix!

You open the Settings app to connect your iPhone to Wi-Fi, and everything is fine until you notice “Security Recommendation” underneath the name of the Wi-Fi network. “Uh-oh,” you think. “I’m hacked!” Don’t worry: you’re not — Apple’s just looking out for you. In this article, I will explain why you see Security Recommendation in your iPhone’s Wi-Fi Settings and why Apple included Security Recommendation to help keep you safe online.

Check out our other article if your iPhone says Weak Security instead of Security Recommendation!

What is “Security Recommendation” in iPhone, iPad, and iPod Wi-Fi Settings?

iOS security recommendation warning.

Security Recommendation only appears in Settings -> Wi-Fi on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod when you’re about to connect to an open Wi-Fi network — a network without a password. When you click the blue information icon, you’ll see Apple’s warning about why open Wi-Fi networks can be unsafe and their recommendation about how to configure your wireless router.

Tap the information button (pictured) to the right of the network’s name to reveal Apple’s explanation for this warning. The explanation reads:

Open networks provide no security and expose all network traffic.
Configure your router to use WPA2 Personal (AES) security type for this network.

What’s The Difference Between An Open And Closed Network?

An open network is a Wi-Fi network that doesn’t have a password. This is generally what you’ll find in coffee shops, airports, and just about anywhere else that free Wi-Fi is offered. Open networks can be dangerous because anyone can access them, and if the wrong person joins the network, they may be able to view your searches, web logins, and other sensitive data without your permission by “spying” on your iPhone, iPad, iPod, or computer.

On the other hand, a closed network is — you guessed it — a network with a password. Apple says that you should “configure your router to use WPA2 Personal (AES) security”, which is a very secure form of Wi-Fi network security. The WPA2 Personal security type is built-in to most modern routers and allows for strong network passwords that are very hard to crack.

Are Open Wi-Fi Networks Unsecure?

Theoretically, anyone connected to any Wi-Fi network can “spy” on the internet traffic being sent and received by other devices on the network. Whether they can do anything with that traffic depends on whether the connection to a specific website is secure.

You can rest assured that any reputable website that requires you to transmit your password or other personal information is using a secure connection to encrypt the data that is sent from your iPhone to the website or app, and vice versa. If someone was capturing the internet traffic coming to and from your iPhone from a secure website, all they would see is a bunch of encrypted gobbledy-gook.

Secure App Login Form

However, if you’re not connected to a secure website, the hacker may be able to see everything that is sent and received by your device, including your passwords and the pages you visit. For a lot of websites, it doesn’t really matter. Here’s why:

If you’re just reading an article on a website that you don’t need to log into, you’re not sending or receiving any personal information that would be worth stealing. The New York Times and a lot of other major news websites and blogs don’t encrypt the articles on their websites for that very reason. Unencrypted News Website In Safari On iPhone

How Can I Tell If A Website Is Secure On My iPhone, iPad, or iPod?

You can easily tell whether you’re connected to a secure website in Safari on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod by looking at the address bar at the top of the screen: If the website is secure, you’ll see a little lock next to the name of the website.

Safari Black Lock In Menu Bar Safari Green Lock In Menu Bar on iPhone

Another easy way to tell whether a website is secure or not is to check whether the domain name begins with http:// or https://. The extra “s” stands for secure. Websites that begin with https are secure (unless there’s a problem, in which case you would see a warning) and websites that begin with http are not. Secure Website HTTPS iPhone

What’s The Difference Between A Black Lock and A Green Lock In Safari?

The difference between a black lock Black lock in Safari and a green lock Green lock in Safari is the type of security certificate (also called an SSL certificate) that the website uses to encrypt traffic. The black lock means the website uses a Domain Validated or Organization Validated certificate and the green lock means the website uses an Extended Validation certificate.
Safari Green Lock In Menu Bar on iPhone

Is The Green Lock More Secure Than The Black Lock In Safari?

No — the encryption can be the same. Both the green and black locks can have the same level of encryption. The difference is that the Green Lock generally means that the company that issued the SSL certificate to the website (called a certificate authority) did more research to verify that the company who owns the website is the company who should own the website.

What I mean is this: Anyone can buy a SSL certificate. I could register bankofamerlcaaccounts.com (notice the lowercase “L” that looks like an “i”) today, clone the Bank of America website, and buy an SSL certificate so people would see the black lock next to the address bar at the top of the screen.

If I tried to buy an Extended Validation certificate, the certificate authority would quickly realize that I am not Bank Of America and deny my request. (I’m not going to do any of this, but I mention it as an example of how easy it is for hackers to take advantage of people online.)

The rule of thumb is this: Never enter any sensitive personal information on a website that doesn’t have the lock in the address bar at the top of the screen.

If You Want To Stay Really Safe On Wi-Fi Networks

Now that we’ve discussed why it is safe to connect to secure websites and apps over Wi-Fi, I’m going to caution you about it: If you’re in doubt, don’t. The best way to stay safe is never to log into your bank or other important online accounts when on an open network. The information is encrypted, but some hackers are really good. Trust your gut.

What Should I Do When I See “Security Recommendation” On My iPhone?

My recommendation is: follow Apple’s recommendation! If you’re getting the Security Recommendation notice when on your home Wi-Fi network, add a password to your network as soon as possible. You’ll do this using your Wi-Fi router. It would be impossible for me to explain how to do that for every router on the market, so I’ll recommend a quick skim of your router’s manual or Googling your router’s model number and “support” to get help.

Stay Safe Out There!

We’ve talked about why your iPhone says Security Recommendation in Wi-Fi settings, the difference between open and closed Wi-Fi networks, why you’re usually safe whether you’re connected to an open or closed Wi-Fi network — as long as the website you’re connecting to is secure. Thanks for reading, and if you have any other comments, questions, or concerns about this problem, feel free to leave a comment below!

About Author

I'm Andrew Kunesh, a technology writer and IT professional from Chicago. My goal is to help you fix the many errors and problems your Apple devices may face. Thanks for checking out our work!

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Anonymous
4 years ago

just fix the damn thing, screw the security madness. #disappointed

Anonymous
5 years ago

Here is a bigger problem that no one seems to be answering instead they are explainging what it means. I already know what it means, the issue is that I have to connect to an unsecured wifi to configure the device and because of this stupid security my iphone will not connect to it. I have to connect to the wifi that ECO Plugs is broadcating so that I can attach it to my network, but apple’s stubborn views on security are preventing me from doing so. Also issue with ECO Plugs because I can configure it on another device… Read more »

Anonymous
5 years ago

Theh “security recommendation” is nothing but a scam to increase data sells. If this truly is an “apple” thing (I don’t think it isI), I will toss all my Apple phones and switch to Android phones. If whoever does this really cared there would be a workaroudn. There isn’t. Apple refuses to acknowledge the problem. I have just spent a week i a hotel room without wi fi, buring up data by tethering my iphones because of this so called “seurity recommendaiton”. I repeat, if they really cared they would have a workaround. Getting a “password” at a motel etc.… Read more »

Anonymous
5 years ago

Need a better fix for this solution on my iphone. My wireless security cameras set up their own wireless connection of which I can’t get into because the security connections on my phone. How can I lower the security on my phone so I can connect to the wireless cameras to complete the setup?
After I finish the setup i can fix the security on my phone but this seems to be the only way to complete the setup to the process. Please Help!!! The wireless camera company has not responded to any of my support request.

Anonymous
5 years ago

This article as no fix?

Anonymous
5 years ago

If my router already requires a password to be connected and it is saved in the phone; Security reccomendation still shows; Is there another password that should be implemented each sign on session?

Anonymous
5 years ago

The article title says “the fix!.” But there’s no fix.

Anonymous
5 years ago

But Apple is supposed to be so awesome….. Idiot proof they said. But it’s strange, every time I use my extra spare Iphone I run into a problem. Never on android.

Anonymous
5 years ago

I don’t want to stay safe! I just want to connect to this wifi
how can I do that? I can I connect – I’m here for four days and I can’t go with no wifi

Anonymous
5 years ago

Is there a way to enable entering an unsecure site such as a restaurant or airport on my iphone?

Anonymous
5 years ago

it is an Apple Issue that I’ve been complaining about since Nov 2016, and I even returned a new, macbook Pro because of it. I spent hours online with several Apple specialists. The problem keeps coming back. The error message is False. I have my wi-fi set up with WEP/AES and my ipad is giving my this error message that I’m using WEP security. Come On Apple! Get your act together and get your devices working correctly!

Anonymous
5 years ago

Also my router is password-protected. When I press the blue ‘i’ info icon, the iPad tells me “Weak Security WEP is not considered secure. If this is your Wi-Fi network, configure the router to use WPA2 Personal (AES) security type.” Not sure if my old router supports that. Maybe time for a new one.

Anonymous
5 years ago

How can I fix the issue? I can not change my password because its my office wifi and its open

Anonymous
5 years ago

it’s happening to me all the time, even on password controlled wifi

Anonymous
5 years ago

You need to change the title of your post and leave out the word FIX … because your post does not provide any fix. Your fix appears to be to tell people that Apple Knows Best and that’s your interpretation of a fix … how does that fix the problem that Apple has taken it upon themselves to block access to free wifi, and force people to use data which costs the user, when there is no need to block users from being able to access Google, or FB Instant Messenger, or a myriad of other sites, or apps which… Read more »

Anonymous
5 years ago

I’ve used my work’s wifi for years without problems. I just came back from vacation and this now shows up under my works wifi on my iPhone. My phone appears to connect to the wifi, as the little symbol shows it’s connected; however, I am unable to enter any website in any browser. A blocked error keeps coming up. My work wifi does not have a password, and I do not have access to anything involving their network. Why does this seem to be preventing me from browsing the net?

Anonymous
5 years ago

This is happening when I’m on my home wifi witch is password protected, so any other suggestions?

Anonymous
5 years ago

This is happening when I’m on my home wifi witch is password protected, so any other suggestions?