Wi-Fi Privacy Warning on an iPhone: What It Means & What To Do (2023)

What To Know

  • When your iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch shows a weak security or privacy warning, it means that joining that Wi-Fi network could lead to user tracking/profiling.
  • To turn a Privacy Warning off, open Settings > Wi-Fi > tap the info icon > toggle on Private Wi-Fi Address. 
  • When you use a Private Wi-Fi address, your device uses a different Media Access Control (MAC) address for each Wi-Fi network.

You try to connect your iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch to a Wi-Fi network, only to have a Wi-Fi privacy warning pop up. Apple is helpful to give us these security alerts, but what does this privacy warning mean? Here's what a Wi-Fi privacy warning means, and what to do about it.

Wi-Fi Privacy Warning on an iPhone, iPad & Apple Watch: What It Means & What To Do

You won't have to turn on Private Wi-Fi Address if your iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch are updated to iOS 14, iPadOS 14, and watchOS 7, because it's automatically enabled! You may need to turn Private Wi-Fi address off, however, if your iPhone is not connecting to Wi-Fi or won't allow network or internet access after joining. This is because some Wi-Fi networks will not allow your Apple device to join with Private Wi-Fi Address enabled. You'll know this is the case if you see a warning that says, "This network is blocking encrypted DNS traffic" or "Your network settings prevent content from loading privately." You'll have to decide on a case-by-case basis if you feel safe toggling off Private Wi-Fi Address. For more iPhone tutorials, check out our free Tip of the Day newsletter.

  1. Tap the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad. 

    open the iphone or ipad settings app
  2. Tap Wi-Fi

    tap wifi in iphone or ipad settings
  3. Tap the info icon next to the Wi-Fi network you've joined. 

    tap info icon next to iphone wifi network
  4. Toggle on Private Wi-Fi address to have your iPhone or iPad join the Wi-Fi network with a unique MAC address. Your iPhone will use a different private address if you haven't joined the Wi-Fi network in six weeks, made your iPhone forget the network, or if you reset network settings or erase all contents and settings on your device. 

    toggle on private wifi address ifphone

How To Turn Private Wi-Fi Address On & Off on Apple Watch

Responding to a Wi-Fi privacy warning is just as easy on your Apple Watch as it is on your iPhone and iPad. To do this:

iPhone Life
Discover your iPhone's hidden features
Get one daily tip each day (with screenshots and clear instructions) so you can master your iPhone in just one minute a day.
  1. Open the Settings app on your Apple Watch by pressing the Side Crown, then tapping the Settings icon.

    tap settings app on apple watch
  2. Tap Wi-Fi.

    tap wifi in apple watch settings
  3. Now, swipe left on the name of the Wi-Fi network you want to join and tap the More icon (three dots). If you've already joined the Wi-Fi network, just tap the name. 
  4. Now toggle Private Address on (right and green) or off (left and gray).

    toggle private address on or off on apple watch

Related: Protect Your iPhone from Hackers with These Essential Tips 

Now that you know how to turn Private Wi-Fi Address off and on, you know what to do when you get the "This network is blocking encrypted DNS traffic" warning. Just remember, turning off Private Wi-Fi Address will open you up to user tracking and profiling. 

Master your iPhone in one minute a day: Sign up here to get our FREE Tip of the Day delivered right to your inbox.


Author Details

Leanne Hays's picture

Author Details

Leanne Hays

Leanne Hays has over a dozen years of experience writing for online publications. As a Feature Writer for iPhone Life, she has authored hundreds of how-to, Apple news, and gear review articles, as well as a comprehensive Photos App guide. Leanne holds degrees in education and science and loves troubleshooting and repair. This combination makes her a perfect fit as manager of our Ask an Expert service, which helps iPhone Life Insiders with Apple hardware and software issues.
In off-work hours, Leanne is a mother of two, homesteader, audiobook fanatic, musician, and learning enthusiast.