There is a wide variety of bugs ranging from the embarrassingly nonsensical to the deviously malicious. Almost all bugs, however, are born when humans and systems fail to cover all possible scenarios and cases, which actually happens far more often than you can imagine. In this particular case, an iPhone may be rendered unable to connect to any and all WiFi networks after it tries to connect to one with an odd sequence of characters. Fortunately, there’s an easy but inconvenient fix to get things working again.
All that it takes to trigger this iPhone bug is to connect to a WiFi AP (Access Point) with what looks like a strange combination of letters and symbols, particularly one that starts with the “%” character. You should never connect to strange-looking and unknown WiFi networks in the first place, but there might come a time when you (if you’re an iPhone user, at least) fall victim to such a strategy or prank. When you do, you might find unable to connect to any WiFi network at all, no matter how many times you restart your iPhone.
The good news is that it’s not broken permanently and you don’t need to reset your iPhone, or at least not all of it. The “trick” is to go in the phone’s settings and Reset Network Settings. The drawback is, of course, that you lose all saved passwords and settings for other WiFi connections.
According to BleepingComputer, the running theory is the bug is a simple case of iOS’ WiFi settings failing to take into account the crazy things people name their networks. In this case, it might be a string of characters that the system interprets as code rather than a harmless piece of text. Not that harmless if it causes users to panic or reset their iPhones to factory settings out of desperation.
To be clear, this bug is specific to iOS and doesn’t affect Android phones. That said, one should really avoid connecting to any network you can’t reasonably trust, especially ones with indecipherable names.