How to fix iPhone disconnects from Wi-Fi (when locked or in sleep mode)

It’s frustrating when your iPhone disconnects from Wi-Fi when locked or in sleep mode as you cannot keep in touch with your favorite apps’ notifications.

There are a couple of reasons why your iPhone keeps dropping Wi-Fi when locked. And, most are easy to fix, considering you know what to look for.

We’ll go through all the possible reasons why your iPhone disconnects from Wi-Fi when it’s locked or in sleep mode and how to fix the problem. 

Fixing iPhone Disconnects From Wi-Fi When Locked or in Sleep Mode

1. Unstable Internet Connection

When it comes to internet and Wi-Fi problems, it’s safe to assume that the main cause is an unstable internet connection. Make sure this is the case initially, and if it isn’t, look for troubleshooting solutions.

However, if you suspect that your internet connection is to blame, you should switch to another network to see if the problem persists.

If you only have access to one network, you have no option but to wait until your internet service provider fixes the problem. Or you can call them to report the problem, which can speed up the process.

2. Defective Router

Chances are your router is at fault if you haven’t had any problems with other networks, or if you’ve called your internet service provider and you discovered that the problem is not on their end.

Reboot your router. Herby Jasmin/Gotechtor

Although a defective router isn’t common, it’s worth considering if your iPhone keeps disconnecting from Wi-Fi when locked or in sleep mode.

So, before you spend a lot of money buying a new router, turn it off and back on again after a few minutes to see if that helps fix the problem.

You could also double-check the router cables for any loose connections. In addition, distance is an important factor in wireless connectivity, so test your phone when you’re close to the router.

3. Too Many Devices Connected to The Router

Another point to remember is that routers have limitations, particularly in terms of the number of devices that can connect to them.

A wi-fi router next to a TV
A Wi-Fi router. Herby Jasmin/Gotechtor

This number varies from model to model and brand to brand. So check your router’s specifications to see how many devices it supports.

Users now exceed the number of devices that can connect to the router due to advancements in IoT and the growing number of Wi-Fi-enabled devices. 

Moreover, as the number of connected devices to the network grows, the router’s performance degrades, and you’re more likely to have internet connection problems.

Thirty devices per router are the maximum number that should be allowed. Depending on your router, you may need to follow specific instructions to limit devices from accessing your Wi-Fi router.

4. Restart Your iPhone

Rebooting a device can fix many tech problems as it clears the RAM and refreshes the software. Any bugs or bad codes that may have caused the problem will be gone with the rebooting.

So why don’t you go ahead and restart your iPhone? If after the restart you still have Wi-Fi problems with your iPhone, you’ll need to go deeper. Let’s move on to the next steps.

5. Forget Network and Reconnect Again

When you select Forget Network from Wi-Fi settings, your device, and the network’s prior configurations are effectively erased. By reconnecting, you can start over and possibly solve the problem.

1. Go to the Settings.

iPhone Settings App
Launch iPhone Settings. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

2. Then tap on Wi-Fi.

Wi-Fi option in iPhone settings
Navigate to Wi-Fi in Settings. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

3. Next, choose the network with which you’re having issues.

Connect to a Wi-Fi network on iPhone
Select Wi-Fi. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

4. Tap the Forget This Network button in the middle of the screen.

Forget This Network in Wi-Fi settings to fix iPhone disconnects from WiFi when locked
Forget This Network. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

5. Switch off the Wi-Fi for a few seconds, then turn it back on.

Turn off Wi-Fi on iPhone
Switch off Wi-Fi. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

6. After that, select your Wi-Fi network and enter the password to reconnect.

Enter Wi-Fi Password to reconnect and to fix iPhone disconnects from WiFi when locked
Enter Wi-Fi password. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

6. Disable VPN

Despite the many advantages of a VPN, there are some downsides that come with using one, such as frequent Wi-Fi disconnection.

It might be a good idea to disable your VPN if your iPhone keeps disconnecting from Wi-Fi when it’s locked or in sleep mode. The steps below will show you how.

1. Navigate to Settings.

iPhone Settings App
Launch iPhone Settings. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

2. Tap on VPN.

VPN settings on iPhone
Go to VPN. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

3. Following that, toggle off Status, which is located under VPN CONFIGURATIONS.

Toggle off VPN Status
Toggle off VPN status. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

If this solution does not solve your problem, move on to the next one.

7. Renew the Lease of Your Wi-Fi Network

When you connect to a Wi-Fi network, your device is given an IP address that allows the network to recognize it.

Restoring the lease can help fix the problem by reassigning the IP address and resetting some of the configurations.

1. To renew the lease of your network, launch the Settings app on your iPhone.

iPhone Settings App
Launch iPhone Settings. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

2. Next, go to Wi-Fi.

Go to Wi-Fi in Settings and renew lease, and fix iPhone disconnects from WiFi when locked
Navigate to Wi-Fi in Settings. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

3. Select the Wi-Fi network and tap on the Renew Lease option at the bottom of the screen.

Depending on your iOS version you may not see this option as it appears to be missing on newer versions. And, if it’s missing on your iPhone, don’t worry, your network just doesn’t need to be renewed.

Proceed to the following method if this solution did not fix your problem or if the Renew Lease button in the Wi-Fi settings is missing.

8. Turn Off Networking & Wireless

In this part, we’ll show you how to disable Networking & Wireless in the Privacy menu. With this fix, you can now get your phone to stay connected to Wi-Fi even if it is locked or in sleep mode also saving some battery.

1. Launch the Settings app

iPhone Settings App
Launch iPhone Settings. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

2. Scroll down to Privacy.

iPhone privacy settings
Go to Privacy. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

3. Then select Location Services.

iPhone Location Services settings
Open Location Services. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

4. After that, tap on System Services.

iPhone System Services settings
System Services in Location Services. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

5. Now toggle off Networking & Wireless.

Toggle of Networking and Wireless to fix iPhone disconnects from WiFi when locked
Switch off Networking & Wireless. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

Wrapping It Up

We hope the tips in this guide were useful in helping you fix your iPhone’s Wi-Fi internet connectivity issue. However, if all else fails, you may need to factory reset or DFU restore your iPhone as a last resort.

You should only perform a DFU restore if you know what you’re doing. It’s an even deeper restore mode than the iPhone recovery mode.

You should be aware that these methods will remove all of your personal information. As a result, make sure to back up your iPhone first.

If your iPhone is still under warranty, you can make a Genius Bar reservation to have the folks at Apple take a look at it. They should be able to help.

Please use the comment section below if you have any questions, suggestions, or concerns.

As a technophile, Farhad has spent the last decade getting hands-on experience with a variety of electronic devices, including smartphones, laptops, accessories, wearables, printers, and so on. When he isn't writing, you can bet he's devouring information on products making their market foray, demonstrating his unquenchable thirst for technology.

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