Wi-Fi Disconnects when iPhone is Locked? Here are 9 Fixes!

iPhone users face an issue where their Wi-Fi disconnects as soon as the mobile is locked or it goes into sleep mode. Now, this can be troublesome, as you’ll have to keep connecting to your Wi-Fi again and again. Besides, if someone is on a call and the mobile is locked, the call will obviously disconnect due to this issue.

Wi-Fi Disconnects when iPhone is Locked
Wi-Fi Disconnects when iPhone is Locked Fix

This mostly happens when your Wi-Fi network is fluctuating or the device is failing to recognize it. There’s also a setting called Wi-Fi Assist that transfers the network to cellular data if the Wi-Fi isn’t stable. However, this very well could be the cause of the disconnection.

So what you can do straight off the bat is disable Wi-Fi Assist in settings. Then, connect to your Wi-Fi again and see if you’re still linked to the network after locking the phone.

We’ll be highlighting our tried and tested methods to resolve this issue. All of them are pretty straightforward, so go through them one by one.

1. Reconnect to your Wi-Fi Network

There can be a timeout in the connection sometimes, and reconnecting to the network again will solve the problem. All you need to do is simply disconnect from your Wi-Fi, forget the network, and then reconnect again.

Here are the steps to do it:

  1. Go to Settings and enter the Wi-Fi option.
  2. Tap on your currently connected network.
  3. Tap on the Forget this Network option.
  4. Also, enable the Auto-Join option to keep the connection intact.
    Forget this Network and Auto-join options in iPhone
    Forget this Network and Auto-join options in iPhone
  1. Return to the Wi-Fi tab and connect to the network again.

Now lock your mobile device and see if the issue persists or not.

2. Restart your iPhone

If there’s any glitch or bug due to which Wi-Fi disconnects while the screen is locked, then restarting the iPhone can be a quick fix to rectify this problem. It will reboot all the files, and restore the connection.

Now different iPhones have different ways of restarting. Learn below how to restart your variant.

For iPhone SE (1st Gen) or 5 and earlier:

  1. Press the power button on the top and hold it until the power-off slider displays.
  2. Now drag the slider to power off the device.
Powering off iPhone
iPhone Power-off slider
  1. Once done, restart it again by pressing and holding the same button.

For iPhone SE (2nd and 3rd Gen) and 6, 7, 8:

  1. Press the power button on the right side of the iPhone and hold it.
  2. Next, drag the slider when the power-off option appears.
  3. Restart your device again with the same button.

For iPhone X, 11, 12, or above:

  1. Press and hold any of the two volume buttons on the left along with the power button on the right.
  2. Drag the slider to power off the iPhone.
  3. Restart by pressing and holding only the power button until the Apple logo appears.

3. Disable Wi-Fi Assist

Wi-Fi Assist is a great option to enable if you’re in a place where a Wi-Fi connection is unstable. What it does is switch over the connection to mobile data as soon as the Wi-Fi signals drop. Be that as it may, this very option can be the reason why your Wi-Fi is disconnecting.

If the Wi-Fi network in your home or workplace is stable, then there’s no need to turn on Wi-Fi Assist.

Here’s how to disable this option:

  1. Go to Settings and tap on the Mobile Data tab.
  2. Toggle off the Wi-Fi Assist right below the applications list.
    Disabling Wi-FI Assist in iPhone
    Disable Wi-Fi Assist
  1. Now connect to your Wi-Fi again.

4. Turn Off VPN from Settings

If the VPN is enabled on the iPhone, the Wi-Fi connection will sometimes be inconsistent. This is also one of the reasons why WI-Fi disconnects when the iPhone is locked.

Therefore, disabling VPN and reconnecting to the network should be your way forward.

  1. Go to Settings and you’ll see the VPN option in the first section.
  2. Tap on VPN to enter its settings.
  3. If you’ve an active VPN connection, then just toggle it off to disconnect.
Disabling VPN on iPhone
Disconnecting VPN

5. Turn Off the Networking & Wireless Service

Wi-Fi networking helps find nearby Wi-Fi networks and lists all of them on your iPhone. It’ll also locate your location in case there’s no cell service.

Even though this service has a couple of benefits, it can be the reason for Wi-Fi disconnection. Disabling it in the settings will fix the hassle.

  1. Open Settings and go to Privacy.
  2. Tap on Location Services now.
    Location Services in iPhone
    Location Services
  1. Next, scroll down to System Services which will be at the bottom.
    System Services in iPhone
    Location Services
  1. Lastly, turn off the Networking & Wireless service from here.
    Turning off Networking & Wireless service on iPhone
    Turn off Networking & Wireless service
  1. Now connect to your Wi-Fi again.

6. Renew DHCP Lease

A lease is basically an IP address temporarily provided by the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) while you’re connected to any wireless network. A new connection modifies the lease every time.

Note: The Renew Lease option will not be available if your iOS version is 15 or above.

Now, in this method, we’ll be renewing the DHCP lease for our Wi-Fi network manually. It’ll get rid of the disconnection issue we’re dealing with here.

  1. Go to Settings > Wi-Fi.
  2. Press the “i” button on the right side of your Wi-Fi network.
    Wi-Fi settings on iPhone
    “i” button next to Wi-FI
  1. Scroll down below to find the Renew Lease option and tap on it.
    Renewing lease in iPhone
    Renew Lease option
  1. Tap on Renew Lease once more on the confirmation prompt
  2. Your Wi-FI will disconnect for a while now.
  3. Reconnect to the network again after the new IP address has been assigned to it.

7. Reset Network Settings

More often than not, most of your network problems will be fixed by resetting the network settings, including the Wi-Fi disconnection while locked. This reset won’t delete any data on your iPhone. However, the saved Wi-Fi passwords will be deleted, so you’ll have to join them again.

Here’s how to reset the network settings on your iPhone.

  1. Open Settings and tap on General after scrolling down.
    Selecting iPhone General settings
    iPhone General settings tab
  1. Now go to Transfer or Reset iPhone.
    Transfer or Reset iPhone settings
    Transfer or Reset iPhone settings
  1. Tap on Reset.
    Reset option in iPhone
    Reset option
  1. Tap on Reset Network Settings.
    Resetting network settings in iPhone
    Reset Network Settings option
  1. Tap on Reset Network Settings again on the confirmation prompt.
  2. Wait for the device to reboot and then connect to your Wi-Fi network again.

8. Update iOS Version

If the Wi-Fi still disconnects when the iPhone is locked, then check for any iOS software updates. Running an older iOS version wouldn’t be ideal, as there isn’t only a lack of features but also some potential software problems. Therefore, make sure to always keep your iPhone up-to-date.

Follow the steps below to look for iOS updates.

  1. Go to Settings and tap on General.
  2. Now select the Software Update menu.
    Entering iPhone's software update tab
    Software Update tab
  1. Look for any new updates.
    iOS software update settings
    iOS update available
  1. If so, then tap on Download and Install to install the latest iOS version.

9. Restart and Update your Router

The problem can also be with your router and not with the iPhone itself. If the software solutions aren’t working, then this hardware troubleshooting will do the job.

  1. Turn off your modem or router either with its power button or by disconnecting the cable.
  2. Following that, power it on again after waiting for a minute or two.
  3. Connect to your Wi-Fi network now and notice the connection status after locking the phone.

Furthermore, visit the manufacturer’s website for your router and check if any updates are available. If there are, then do update the firmware.


Abdullah Iqbal

Abdullah is a Google IT certified Help Desk Technician with extensive experience in providing technical support to system users. He has a proven track record of effectively resolving IT issues, and is adept at working with tools like Jira and ZenDesk to efficiently manage support tickets. Abdullah is committed to staying up-to-date with the latest technological advancements and constantly seeks to improve his skills and knowledge through professional development opportunities.