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.

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8 days ago

This was the first and most informative article i found on this issue, it was very well written and honestly a godsend 👌🏻

13 days ago

RESTART works for me every single time.

1 month ago

if you swipe up from the bottom and pull up your quick menu(with flashlight, wifi, airdrop etc) and hit the airdrop button then contacts only it automatically turns on your WiFi for you. Now mine works but it still says WiFi off but it does work. It’s better then paying for repairs or a new phone.

Haliza Hussein
1 month ago

Hi David, my iphone 6s wifi button grayed out. I have Reset my iphone but it doesn’t work, is it cause of hardware damage? Can it be fix?

3 months ago

What if the phone keeps shutting off and turning on?

4 months ago

I reset my networks and it worked like a charm.

4 months ago

Don’t buy apple products PERIOD.

28 days ago
Reply to  NED

Yep best advice ever

Jeff d
4 months ago

Just fixed my iPhone 5se greyed our button

5 months ago

I only just got my iPhone for Christmas and it has just done it my dad cannot afforded another one but I need it when I go out

5 months ago

My phone dropped and got cracked and I went to get the screen fixed but, my wifi button will not turn on it will not do anything in settings or when you scroll up.

5 months ago

I don’t know why, but I just placed my iPhone into the freezer for 15 minutes, and, just like that, the Wifi button is working again!

5 months ago

I have an iPhone 8plus and I have had it for about 2 years now and this suddenly just happened to my phone a few days back, I reset my network settings and it didn’t work then I tried it a couple of more times again just to be sure and then it worked! Yay! So guys try resetting your networking settings a few times if it doesn’t work the first time

Jahanzaib Khan
1 year ago

thanks my iphone 5c problem not solved

Leila Janelle
1 year ago

I have an iphone 4s and the Wifi is greyed out and the bluetooth has a spinning wheel I tried doing hte hair dryer trick but it didn’t work and I tried reseting it too and getting a new phone is pretty expensive so what should i do?

Lisa Mann
1 year ago

I have an iPhone 8 and I noticed this same issue. I dont have a headphone port, so where do I clean? I tried resetting the network settings and nothing. I tried holding the side button and home button but all it gave me was a screen shot. And yes I know how to do that reset because on all my other iPhones it worked. I dont think that works for the iPhone 8. And yes I held for a long long time and nothing happened. I guess Im screwed. 🙁

Anthony Coppin
1 year ago

After reading this article, I blew into the headphone jack, turned my phone off and on and the wifi woks perfectly.

Katoune Bounma
1 year ago

Hi David,
I tried putting my iPhone 7 plus in the freezer twice and both times the wifi worked when I brought it out, however shortly after, it restarts by itself and wifi goes back to grey. Any other suggestions?

HongVan Nguyen
1 year ago

Thanks for the post. Guess that I have the hardware issue now. My iphone cannot connect to wifi and wifi button just grayed-out.

I try to contact Apple support but they recommend me to back up data before going to their service center. And the problem is iCloud back up is not work without wifi connection. While I cannot back up with iTunes.

Eddie Ellis
1 year ago

When my apple iphone 4s plays up. I smack it and place. It. In the fridge. Seems to work for anyprobs

Jayar Tulauan
1 year ago

hi david,

I already reset my iphone 4s but still the button of wifi still greyed out,
can you assist me?
heres my gmail add: [email protected]

thank you.

Markos Kassim
1 year ago

Will you please assist me with my iphone 4 also? I’m having the same issue, the wifi option is greyed out and Bluetooth won’t turn on either it just continues to search without any results.
Thanks, markos

Fay Rentz
2 years ago

After 2 days with this issue, I finally put it in the freezer for 15 minutes and it has solved both the Wifi and Bluetooth issue. Thank you so much!

Pravin Mali
2 years ago

Thanks buddy, after resetting the network settings my wi fi symbol get enabled. I am very thankful for this important artical

Fatima Mohammed
2 years ago

So my iPhone 7’s wifi is disabled…if i force restart my iPhone from my computer, will it help undisbale it???

Ethan Campbell
2 years ago

Refridgerator trick worked for about 2 seconds, then phone restarted itself and wifi greyed out again. Deployed so can’t fix it for another 4-5 months…. sucks. If anybody finds a permenant solution, please post

Peter Burns
2 years ago

WiFi button has been greyed out all day. Just overheated phone with hair dryer and cooled with car air con and touch wood its now working so thanks.

Stan Sander
2 years ago

Well I tried the wifi reset and it was still greyed out. I then applied heat to the speaker area, then put it in the freezer for 15 minutes and wifi was no longer greyed out. I then connected to my home network. Go figure, who thought this would work? Not me, but it did.

David Kahler
2 years ago

Hi! I just bought my son a used iphone 6s, and the wifi would not turn on. So after googling for a solution, I found your column. The wifi on this phone is not grayed out; however, the slide “button” for the wifi on the settings menu will not slide to turn the wifi on. I don’t know if this may be the same problem as you have described (the wifi antenna being damaged or broken) but it is just strange that the button will not slide into the on position.

Michelle Bier
2 years ago

doesnt work wtf

Sumera Danish
2 years ago

I had a similar problem and I found the solution on Youtube. You have to heat it until it show the too ho message and then instantly turn it off and put it in a plastic bag and then place the bag in the freezer . This method has worked for my 4s

Maria Carolina Campello Bezerra
2 years ago

Hello! I just reset the network settings for my i-phone X and it seems that the problem is solved. I will keep following if, thank you very much!

Doobie Bell-Hill
2 years ago

What as houl d I xo yt? O mmm y iphone if the Wi-Fi as on t turn on and the Bluetooth just keeps constsntly searching? Whatg is the best cure? Thanks

Shenna Baculio Castillo Binalhay
2 years ago

This is indeed accurate and me and my boyfriend will try the 15 mins refrigerator first. Sadly the bottom was red. Well let you know if it works! Thank you!