Saturday, 7 March 2015

The Note 3 and the Riddle of the 'Always On' Wi-Fi

My note 3  smartphone has been giving me a slight problem. It's Wi-Fi is always on! Even when I switch off the Wi-Fi button. The Wi-Fi button is off as it shows in this screen shot but I still see it active when I take a glimpse of what's using the battery power ( access it at settings>general>battery>then tap battery graph(1)). Note that the Wi-Fi entry remained active as shown by the continuous blue line(2).


Although there is no issue regarding the performance of the device itself, it could be obvious that it plays a part in shortening the battery life. So this must stop.

I tried many things to stop this like restarting the device, deleting and disabling applications and widgets that I thought could have caused the Wi-Fi button active. I thought of this because when the device was new, this problem has not presented itself yet. Major culprits are the widgets displaying weather, temperature etc., and everything that refreshes itself by using the internet. But unfortunately, it failed. At this point, I was already being tempted to put the device into factory setting, which is the last resort I could think of.


But before doing the final long way, I tried once more in scouring the setting I have not touched, the Wi-Fi button itself.

Embedded deep inside it, is a setting I have ignored or I have not explored before. Or it could be an additional function and has been added after the updates.

You can access this with the following taps; settings>connections>then tap Wi-Fi (3, not the Wi-Fi button). At this point it seems that there is no more options rather than choosing which SSID to connect. But tapping the left most soft key (4) reveals additional options, tap advanced.


The next window has given a clue why it is on all the time.  A menu of 'keeping the Wi-Fi button on even when the device sleeps' is set to 'always'(6). Tapping the > symbol let's you choose option to never or only when 'plugged in'. I think the second option (7) is better and could do no harm to the battery as it only does it when plugged in(8).

Going back to the battery after turning off Wi-Fi button for 45 minutes reveals a good sign, the Wi-Fi strip meter did not spend a single drop(9) of power.


I always thought that the Wi-Fi button is off when turned off from the simple toggle switch at the settings connections window.  But deep inside the Wi-Fi menu still has a sub-menu that overrides this. It is easy to  overlook this and could remain uncovered unless users notice this 'flaw' under what's using the battery power!

This problem could present itself on other android devices and if so, the solution could be the same.

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