One of the neat things about the iPhone is that you can get data services from the cellular carrier’s network (e.g. AT&T or Verizon)…and you can also use Wi-Fi. One of the questions I’m asked most often about the iPhone is should people leave Wi-Fi on on the iPhone, or turn it off?
The answer really comes down to what you use the iPhone for. In my experience with the iPhone, I really only use Wi-fi when I:
1. Want to use FaceTime (FaceTime is currently only supported over a WiFi network)
2. Want to download something on iTunes that is larger than 20MB (e.g. a Podcast or a video from iTunesU, for example).
3. Am in an area where data coverage is very poor, so only Wi-Fi will work in order for me to get on to the internet (this situation hasn’t happened yet).
Note that if you are on a data plan that is NOT unlimited then you may actually want to use Wi-Fi more often than I mention in this article.
For the rest of what I do, keeping the phone on the cellular network works best for me. Here are a few reasons to keep Wi-Fi turned off by default, and then to turn it on only when you need it:
1. I find that if you leave Wi-Fi turned “On”, then the iPhone sometimes gets “confused” as to which network to use.
2. Oftentimes public Wi-Fi networks are not secure, so I’m not thrilled about browsing or submitting passwords over an open, unsecured wireless network (naturally if you sign in to a secured wireless network that’s a different story).
3. Keeping WiFi turned on all the time will decrease your battery life, so I recommend you turn-off WiFi when you are not using it (the same concept goes for Bluetooth — unless you have a Bluetooth device that you are always using with the iPhone).
So Wi-Fi is really a matter of function — if you need it, keep it on. But if you don’t need it or use it, at least save yourself some battery life and turn Wi-Fi off.