iOS Bug Causes Specific Network Name to Disable Wi-Fi on iPhones

A wireless network naming bug has been discovered in iOS that effectively disables an iPhone's ability to connect to Wi-Fi.

ios wifi settings
Security researcher Carl Schou found that after joining a Wi-Fi network with the name "%p%s%s%s%s%n" his ‌iPhone‌'s Wi-Fi functionality was left "permanently disabled."

Changing a hotspot's SSID did nothing to correct the problem, with even a reboot failing to make a difference, according to BleepingComputer.

Other users who were able to replicate the issue have suggested the bug could be related to the initial use in the network name of the percentage sign, which leads to an input parsing issue whereby iOS mistakenly interprets the letters following the "%" as a string-format specifier.


In C and C-style languages, string format specifiers have a special meaning and are parsed by the language compiler as a variable name or a command instead of standard text.

Android phones don't seem to be affected by the same network, but iPhones hit by the problem need to have their network settings reset before a Wi-Fi hotspot can be connected again.

To perform the reset, open the Settings app, tap General -> Reset, then tap Reset Network Settings and confirm the request at the prompt.

Top Rated Comments

GubbyMan Avatar
23 weeks ago
This will always be relevant https://xkcd.com/327/
Score: 64 Votes (Like | Disagree)
acorntoy Avatar
23 weeks ago
Now Macrumors has led this from ~10 affected idiots to ~10,000. I encourage you to try it though, your device might be special and immune.
Score: 47 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Carlson-online Avatar
23 weeks ago
Pretty sure of course this big will effect nobody as who would use that as a network name ?!
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
PinkyMacGodess Avatar
23 weeks ago
The real question is why would iOS do anything with the SSID? It's a 'string'. If iOS is choking on it, it shouldn't be looking at it as filet mignon! (Bad analogy warning?) It's like eating the wrapper your hamburger came in. Come on Apple...
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JetLaw Avatar
23 weeks ago
Changing my SSID right now to %s%s%s%p to test thi [user disconnected]
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bsolar Avatar
23 weeks ago

Agreed. Who cares about a bug that will effect literally one person out of 1 billion, when there are bigger fish to fry.
It affects basically nobody as long as it's just a joke SSID encountered by chance, but it highlights a vulnerability in the software which malicious actors can further investigate and potentially have the chance to further exploit.

That's why Apple should promptly fix the root issue before worse exploits have a chance to happen.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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