Snippet: Carrier-Forced Wi-Fi Offloading ☇

Shared on April 7, 2023

Michael Tsai compiled a few posts on this rather old feature that some people are only now discovering:


Essentially, the latest iOS (16.4 at post time) allows your cellular carrier (via eSIM) to add “managed networks” to your device.

These networks cannot be removed, they cannot have “automatically join” disabled, and they have equal priority with your real, personal networks.


Wifi offloading is not new. AT&T helped invent these standards back in ~2009 when their network was getting crushed by massive increases in traffic as iPhone usage took off.

WiFi offload networks are configured as “Managed Networks” which are lower priority than any user-selected networks. You can disable them by turning off “auto-join”. (Also these WiFi offload networks are secure; you can’t spoof them).

This is not an eSIM-specific feature and has existed for years—I remember when my AT&T iPhone 5 would join random “attwifi” networks. While it uses your SIM to authenticate, comparable to methods used by enterprise Wi-Fi, it’s frustrating that you can see these networks in iOS 16 on the list under Settings > Wi-Fi > Edit and not disable “Auto-Join.” With the cable providers like Xfinity Mobile trying to offload as much traffic onto their networks and doing a bad job of it, Apple ought to offer some priority levels or an override to prevent connecting completely.

Snippets are posts that share a linked item with a bit of commentary.