Most of us connect to an unsecured network at some point. Places like hotels, airports, local and national coffee shops and cafes like Starbucks, university networks, hospitals, and medical centers, and even some businesses, including the Apple Store, all offer unsecured access to WiFi networks. But sometimes, your iPhone will not join an unsecured network (s)!
After updating to the latest iOS, quite a few of our readers report difficulties when trying to connect to ANY unsecured wireless network. They see a warning that the network is not secure and cannot bypass it!
Others report being able to connect but only briefly! Following an iOS update, their devices connect to the unsecured WiFi network but then almost immediately, the connection drops out.
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How An Unsecured WiFi Connection Should Work
Your current iOS, like previous iOS versions, should still connect to unsecured networks with a security warning that your connection is not secure.
iOS displays warnings like unsecured network on networks that do not enable WPA encryption or higher.
Receiving this error should not prevent you from connecting to ANY network. It’s informational, so you know that your data can be intercepted.
Fixes for iPhone Can’t Connect to Unsecured Network
- After trying to connect to the unsecured network, immediately open Safari and look for a login page followed by a welcome page. Even without a password requirement, you may need to tick a box accepting terms to get access
- Try forgetting the network, then try connecting to it again. Go to Settings > WiFi > Select the Unsecured Network > Forget This Network
- Update Safari’s Settings. Go to Settings > Safari. Find the setting “Ask Websites Not to Track Me” and turn it on. Then try again to connect that unsecured network
- Try turning on Airplane Mode before connecting and see if that helps. Find Airplane Mode in Control Center or in the Settings App
- Reset your network settings. Open Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings. This action removes any stored WiFi passwords for all saved networks, so if you don’t know your passwords, be mindful before proceeding
- Disable Location Services for WiFi System Services
- Go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services
- Tap System Services
- Locate Wi-Fi Networking and toggle it off
- Change IP settings
- Settings > WiFi > Select Network
- Go to “Configure DNS” within the network you are trying to connect to and switch it to “Manual” and add in any IP address
- Attempt to log in. This action fails, however, the WiFi network remains open
- Return to your network settings and delete the “Manual” IP address you just entered
- Attempt to open any website, and it should redirect you to the login page for that network
- Change DNS Settings
- Use Google’s Public DNS settings of 18.104.22.168 and 22.214.171.124 instead of the automatic DNS
Use a Different Browser
If you still cannot connect to unsecured wireless network, some folks report that just changing from Safari to Chrome or Firefox fixed the issue for them.
Make sure that you first disable Auto-Join and Auto-Login before opening a browser session
- Go to Settings > WiFi > Select the Unsecured Network. Then tap the “i” next to that WiFi network you’re trying to login to and toggle OFF both “Auto-Join” and “Auto-Login.”
- Open Firefox and type in the address for that WiFi network’s login page or simply type in “captive.apple.com” into the search bar. A message lets you know that this is an unsecured network. Tap “visit site anyway.” Now log in to that WiFi network
- After you connect to wifi, open Safari and the wifi network’s auto-login page should appear. Just fill in your ID and password or check a box that you agree to the terms and conditions
- Download the Chrome browser. Then, after connecting to WiFi, open Chrome and type in login.com. You should see the login page for the available wifi network. Tap accept to connect
- Go to Settings > WiFi and find the network you want to connect to. Tap on the small, blue “i” to the very right. Scroll down to Configure DNS and tap Manual. Under DNS SERVERS, enter 126.96.36.199 and tap Save in the top-right corner. Now, wait 2-3 minutes until the WiFi icon appears in the top-left. Once the WiFi icon appears, go back to those DNS SERVERS and remove your entry (188.8.131.52) and select Automatic and save again. Next, open a browser session (usually Safari) and type in an address. If you see a warning about an unsafe connection or invalid certificate, tap on Advanced and use the browser. If requested, tap accept if you get an acknowledgment page
- Ask your IT department or help desk to add a new security profile for whatever iOS you’re using
- Open Safari and type in captive.apple.com and it should open up the login page for that WiFi Network and allow you to join
- What worked for me was manually setting up my DNS
- Open Settings > WiFi > tap on the “i” next to the unsecured network you want to join
- Forget the network
- Find that network again and click the “i” again
- Choose configure DNS
- Click Manual > Add Server > Type in 184.108.40.206 and SAVE
- Join the network again
- Wait for the WiFi icon to show up on-screen
- Click the “i” again
- Choose configure DNS again
- Delete the Manual Server you just added
- Choose Automatic then SAVE
- Tap on the i icon next to the unsecured network name and then tap on the “Learn more about recommended settings for WiFi…” text under the Unsecured Network section. Once you see this info, everything works fine!
For most of her professional life, Amanda Elizabeth (Liz for short) trained all sorts of folks on how to use media as a tool to tell their own unique stories. She knows a thing or two about teaching others and creating how-to guides!
Her clients include Edutopia, Scribe Video Center, Third Path Institute, Bracket, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Big Picture Alliance.
Elizabeth received her Master of Fine Arts degree in media making from Temple University, where she also taught undergrads as an adjunct faculty member in their department of Film and Media Arts.