Why Is Wi-Fi Grayed Out On My iPhone? Here’s The Real Fix!

Your iPhone hasn’t been connecting to Wi-Fi networks that it used to connect to automatically. You opened Settings -> Wi-Fi to see what’s happening, and discovered that that the Wi-Fi button is grayed out and you can’t turn it back on.

If the Bluetooth on your iPhone is showing the spinning wheel in Settings -> Bluetooth and won’t detect any devices, the suggestions in this article might fix that problem as well. In this article, I’ll explain why your iPhone’s Wi-Fi is grayed out and the steps you can take to fix the Wi-Fi on your iPhone.

This article is inspired by a question I received from Robert in our iPhone Help Facebook group, where I encourage readers to ask questions about their iPhones and other tech devices. Robert posted,

“The wifi button is greyed-out and does not work and Bluetooth will not work either (spinning wheel) Can you please help?”

Robert, I certainly hope so: This one is dedicated to you!

Why Is The Wi-Fi Grayed Out On My iPhone?

In my experience, a grayed-out Wi-Fi button usually indicates a hardware problem with the Wi-Fi antenna on your iPhone. On Robert’s model, an iPhone 4S, the Wi-Fi antenna runs directly under the headphone jack, and often times some debris or a little drop of liquid can short it out.

A grayed-out Wi-Fi button can affect any model of iPhone, including the iPhone 4, iPhone 5, and iPhone 6 as well as the iPhone 7, iPhone 8, or iPhone X, even though none of these versions have a headphone jack.

How Can I Tell If My iPhone’s Wi-Fi Antenna Is Damaged?

Take a flashlight and point it down the headphone jack on your iPhone. If you see any debris in there, take a toothbrush (one you’ve never used) or an anti-static brush and gently brush out the gunk. If you have an iPhone 4 or 4S, you’ll see a white dot at the bottom of the headphone jack.

That circular sticker is one of the liquid contact indicators Apple techs use to determine whether liquid has come into contact with your iPhone. I’m not here to play the blame game, but if that white dot has turned red, your iPhone has come into contact with liquid at some point, and that can explain the cause of the issue.

Before we rule out a software issue, try resetting the Network Settings on your iPhone by going to Settings -> General -> Reset -> Reset Network Settings. Resetting the network settings restores your iPhone’s Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Virtual Private Network, and other network settings to factory defaults.

Before you do that, however, make sure you know your Wi-Fi passwords, because ‘Reset Network Settings’ will erase them from your iPhone. After your iPhone reboots, you’ll have to reconnect to your Wi-Fi network by heading to Settings -> Wi-Fi.

reset iPhone network settings in settings app

What If ‘Reset Network Settings’ Doesn’t Fix My iPhone’s Wi-Fi Antenna?

My experience and gut tells me that after your iPhone reboots, your Wi-Fi antenna will still be grayed out, and we’ve got a hardware issue on our hands. Apple won’t repair just a Wi-Fi antenna on an iPhone, so a grayed-out Wi-Fi antenna means you’ll have to replace your entire iPhone — if you go through Apple. (If you’re under warranty, by all means, go through Apple!)

If you’re not under warranty, replacing an iPhone through the Genius Bar or AppleCare is much cheaper than purchasing a new phone at retail cost, but it’s still not cheap. To start the repair process, call your local Apple Store and set up an appointment with the Genius Bar or visit the Apple Support website to begin the repair process online.

What If I Don’t Want To Get A Whole New iPhone?

If you don’t want to spring for a whole new iPhone, there are other options you can consider.

First, I recommend Puls, a repair company that sends a technician to your home or office who will fix your iPhone (and sometimes at a cheaper price than you’d get at the Apple Store!).

We’ve also read some non-traditional fixes for a grayed-out Wi-Fi on iPhone, such as sticking your iPhone in a refrigerator for 15 minutes or under a lamp for 30 minutes.

Your Experiences With Fixing The Grayed-Out Wi-Fi On iPhone

As this article wraps up, I’d love to hear your experiences with fixing the Wi-Fi on your personal iPhone in the comments section below — especially if you’ve gone so far as to stick your iPhone in the fridge or under a lamp. I’m confident that we can work together to fix the grayed-out Wi-Fi problem on your iPhone, and I’ll be around to answer your questions as they arise.

All the best,
David P.

About Author

I'm a former Apple employee and the founder of Payette Forward, and I'm here to help you with your iPhone.

106
Leave a Reply

avatar
79 Comment threads
27 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
41 Comment authors
MimiMiaNEDJeff dAva Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
Notify of
Lars-Ole Hansen
Guest
Lars-Ole Hansen

I suddenly as well lost wifi and bluetooth. After trying all the recommendations, and was ready to go to the shop to get a new phone, I thought I would try the crazy suggestion of putting it in the cooler. I am an electronic engineer myself, so didn’t think it would work. I then more for fun put it 15 min in the freezer and afterwards under a halogen lamp. AND IT HAS WORKED EVER SINCE.

Luke Busbridge
Guest

I had the greyed out wifi and no bluetooth on my iphone 4 and I tried everything I could think of. I finally replace the cellular antenna and now it works completely fine.

Boaz Michaely
Guest

Cook – Freeze – Thaw – Bingo ! This is a great article and commentary! My Iphone 4S lost its WiFi/BT as experienced by others. I tried almost everything mentioned here and elsewhere including: – Reset network settings – Tried to clean the port – Upgrade IOS using iTunes – Rebuilt IOS using iTunes (all except for ‘restore to factory’) – Then I sent my phone to the freezer for 15 minutes in disbelieve, and was not surprised when that too failed. Getting ready to throw my 4S to the trash, I had nothing to lose and decided to go… Read more »

Boaz Michaely
Guest

I forgot to mention I also took the SIM card out, but that didn’t change anything either so apparently is not related.

Julita Z L Schulz
Guest

I have iphone 4s have the same problem with wifi connection sometimes greyed our an this time cannot find the wireless available even after hard reset and ressting internet connection, did 30 minutes of putting my iphone in a sealed plating and into a freezer, working fine now but don’t know how long will it last. This the 3rd time i lost my wifi connection.

Azeem Sharif
Guest

dears i have also issue with my iPhone 6 plus.one night i placed my iPhone behind my bed on floor in winters (pakistan). In the morning when i try to use my iPhone wifi , when it was greyed out. i reseted all setting, it works for 10 min and then automatically my cell phone restarted and wifi is again greyed out. after this i tried many times by reseting , by erasing all data and also by upgrading 9.1 to 9.2 using iTunes but it did not work. if some one have some solution for this plz tell me.… Read more »

My iPhone Won't Connect To Wi-Fi. Here's The Fix!
Guest

[…] section called Diagnosing Hardware Issues. If Wi-Fi is grayed out in Settings, my article called Why Is Wi-Fi Grayed Out On My iPhone? will […]

freige
Guest

I tried all the methods above and still Wifi was greyed out. I was ready to take my iPhone to Apple, so I took out the sim card and decided it to restart it, when it started Wifi was enabled and working, I putted back my sim card and everything is now fine.

Cierra J Haylow
Guest

I was having this problem for a few days and just thought my phone was being junk, it’s a 4s. My Bluetooth randomly stopped working in my car, and the loading circle just kept spinning. We also just got wifi at my house and my phone wouldn’t connect because the wifi was greyed out. Anyways, after reading the article I looked down the jack and sure enough it was disgusting ! I just stuck a dry Q-tip in there and twisted it around and it was so dusty! Then I just restarted my phone and now everything works again !!… Read more »

cristian sirbu
Guest

Hi people.! I would like to know what’s behind this all “small errors” so I have to say that I over heated my Iphone 4s untill the warning with high temperature came on the screen.. then i let the phone cool down and after restarting my Wi-fi conection has workt ..unfortunetly just for a week and the error came back.. I’m not sugesting to you all to try this methods and if someone know something more about this Gray Wi-fi it will be nice to share because this is a general error that we all Iphone 4S users have and… Read more »

kwesi-offori mensah
Guest

i did it but stopped for good and now has affected my bluetooth please help me out

19320802
Guest
19320802

It’s weird how 4s has been working great. Wifi worked just fine when I upgraded software to IOS 9. Immediately after upgrade wifi was grayed out.

Dunixi Larrauri
Guest

I acctually got a swab and put it down the audio jack, alot of crap was in it… but after thaat it worked so thx 😀

wguitar17
Guest
wguitar17

I have been struggling with this problem for about 2 weeks now,(I have a 4s) I even went as far as replacing my wifi antenna,(not hard to do, you can actually use a small wood nail to unscrew the weird screws at the bottom) as it turns out the issue is a miscommunication between the software and hardware; an issue created 3-4 updates ago that still hasn’t been addressed. Your device is now sensitive to something called thermal shock. It can be fixed but, long story short, you can’t do it without completely stripping your phone and using a special… Read more »

XDdashyXD
Guest
XDdashyXD

it isn’t only the Iphone.. I have this problem with my Ipad…

Swag or Brag
Guest
Swag or Brag

I had the gray wifi button so after reading your article i kept my iphone in the deep freezer for more than 15mins and it worked … Thnx

1 2 3 6