Q: In reference to your article Using FaceTime while abroad, I interpreted your suggestion to say that the web could still be accessed if Wi-Fi is ON and Airplane Mode is also ON; basically that just phone calling and cellular data roaming would be affected. When I put my iPhone 5 into Airplane Mode, and turn ON my Wi-Fi, I am unable to search the web. I do see that I am connected to a Wi-Fi network, but can only use Google, etc, after I turn Airplane Mode OFF. What am I doing wrong?
A: You should definitely be able to use a Wi-Fi network with Airplane Mode on, although you’ll need to go in and toggle Wi-Fi back on manually after enabling Airplane Mode, since this disables Wi-Fi by default when switched on.
After doing this, you should see the Wi-Fi symbol up in the status bar beside the Airplane Mode symbol, as shown above. If this still isn’t working the most likely problem here is that whichever Wi-Fi network you’re connected to is experiencing problems, and you would need to troubleshoot this in the same way as for connecting to any Wi-Fi network, whether you’re in Airplane Mode or not.
The first thing to check in this case is whether you’re actually connected to the correct Wi-Fi network after enabling Airplane Mode. Your iPhone will remember previous networks that it has been connected to based on their names; since many users leave their Wi-Fi routers set to a default name, so you may end up with common names like “default” or “linksys” remembered by your iPhone. In this case, your iPhone will attempt to connect to any Wi-Fi network in range with that name, regardless of whether it’s the network you want or whether it will work for you or not.
You can remove any unwanted networks you may be automatically connecting to by tapping on the blue arrow beside the network name in Settings, Wi-Fi, and then tapping the “Forget this Network” button at the very top of the screen.
This will remove the network name from the list of remembered networks. If you see the correct Wi-Fi network name here, you can simply tap on it to attempt to connect to that network and then see if you can get a successful Internet connection. You can also check the network information screen above to see if you’re being assigned an IP address, router, and DNS information. If these fields are blank this indicates a problem with your router or Wi-Fi gateway which will prevent you from accessing the Internet.
If you are in fact connected to a known Wi-Fi network that you believe should be working, you can try forgetting this connection from your iPhone and setting it up again, or in the case of a home network simply restart your Internet router to see if this solves the problem. Apple’s support article iOS: Troubleshooting Wi-Fi networks and connections provides some more tips on other troubleshooting steps that you may want to follow.