In the past few weeks there have been several reports surfacing of some customers having trouble with their wifi signal on their new iPhone 5. After the 5’s consumer launch there were widespread problems with the phone pulling excessive amounts of data from its carrier network, even whilst on a wifi connection. Some customers were recording over one gig of data being consumed by their phones in one day. Apple quickly released a patch to fix the problem, but some issues have remained, only this time at the other end of the spectrum. Instead of overly excessive data usage, some iPhone 5’s are receiving only a weak signal, whilst others are hardly receiving one at all. In either case, the problem’s clearly noticeable when comparing the iPhone 4S and 5 side by side, where the former has a several signal bars and the latter has just one or two.
There is however, an extremely easy, yet only temporary solution that will restore your wifi signal strength (at least until Apple acknowledges the issue and releases an official one). I say it’s only temporary, as the solution involves changing your router’s security settings from WPA/WPA2 to the older WEP encryption technology. WEP is much less secure than WPA and WPA2, so you’ll have to decide for yourselves the benefits of a stronger wifi connection over diminished security.
The reason for the problem may lie in the fact that older routers using WPA/WPA2 can experience syncing issues with newer devices like the iPhone 5. When this happens, the iPhone 5 is supposed to switch back to using WEP. For whatever reason, it may not be doing this properly, causing the signal problem.
Changing the setting on your router is an easy process. You simply need to access your router’s settings through its gateway IP. This is done through your browser, with the gateway IP usually being a numeric address (188.8.131.52). You can usually find the address by typing a google search with your router’s brand (or better yet, looking through your manual). From here you can log in, navigate to the wireless security settings and switch the setting from WPA to WEP.
Hopefully this will improve your wifi signal. Let us know how it goes in the comments, or if you have any other solutions you’d like to share.
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Obsessed with tech since the early arrival of A/UX on Apple, Sudz (SK) is responsible for the editorial direction of AppleToolBox. He is based out of Los Angeles, CA.
Sudz specializes in covering all things macOS, having reviewed dozens of OS X and macOS developments over the years.
In a former life, Sudz worked helping Fortune 100 companies with their technology and business transformation aspirations.