If you’re connecting to Wi-Fi with your iPhone and you see a message in Settings about “Weak Security,” it can be confusing and concerning. Here’s what it means—and how to fix it.
Wi-Fi Security Standards Have Changed
Starting with iOS 14, Apple began warning iPhone owners about Wi-Fi networks that use older network security standards, such as WEP, WPA, or WPA2 (TKIP). These are encryption methods specifically used with Wi-Fi to protect your data from snoopers—and to keep unauthorized people from using your Wi-Fi connection.
If you’re looking at your Wi-Fi connections in Settings on your iPhone and see an entry labeled “Weak Security,” it means that Apple is warning you that the router you’re connected to uses an older, less-secure method of encryption. What you’re doing on the Internet can potentially be intercepted by others.
Whether you can do anything about it depends on whether you control the Wi-Fi access point you are connected to. It’s technically an issue with the router and not your iPhone. But to make your iPhone happy, you’ll need to configure your router to use the latest WPA3 security mode, WPA2 (AES), or a combination WPA2/WPA3 mode.
Since WPA3 launched in 2018, many older devices don’t support this newer standard. That means if you switch your router to WPA3 exclusively, those older devices won’t be able to connect to your Wi-Fi network. Instead, many newer routers support a transitional WPA2/WPA3 mode that can support devices that use WPA2 or WPA3.
If you still use legacy (pre-2018) Wi-Fi devices, the transitional method might be your best option. Or if you don’t have a WPA2/WPA3 transitional option on your router, you can also use WPA2 Personal (AES), as long as it’s not the variant called WPA2 (TKIP), which has been shown to be insecure.
How to Upgrade Your Wi-Fi Security
To make the change, you’ll need to log in to your router and modify your Wi-Fi security level. For example, on a Synology router, log in and click “Wi-Fi Connect,” then choose “Wireless” in the sidebar. Under “Security Level,” click the drop-down menu and select “WPA2-Personal,” “WPA2/WP3-Personal,” or one of the other WPA3 options.
Note: If you don’t have the ability to configure a Wi-Fi network at the router level—for example, if you’re connecting to a public Wi-Fi network you don’t control—there’s no way to fix the “Weak Security” warning. The administrator of the Wi-Fi network has to change its settings. If you don’t have this access, all you can do is connect to another Wi-Fi network.
Remember, the goal is to completely avoid WEP, WPA (with no 2 or 3), and WPA2 (TKIP). If your router configuration list doesn’t mention “TKIP,” the WPA2-Personal listed likely uses the AES encryption standard, which is still considered moderately secure.
(Instructions for your router will vary, but look for security settings for your SSID, and you’ll likely find it there.)
After that click “Apply” or “Save” in your router’s configuration interface, then reconnect to the access point with your iPhone. The “Weak Security” message will be gone.
If you chose a transitional WPA2/WPA3 security method, then the older devices that use WPA2 to connect might still be vulnerable to data snooping. In general, for the average American using the Internet at home, using WPA2 is not an extreme security risk at present if you’re not a target with sensitive data to hide. But it’s still good to keep an eye on the latest security developments and upgrade whenever possible.
In fact, if your router is older, it might be time for an upgrade anyway. We’ve picked out some great router options you can consider in our guide to the best Wi-FI routers. Good luck!