I want to use Google Photos to back up my photos from my iPhone SE running iOS 10. I'm connected to Wi-Fi. I start the backup process and I connect my phone to power and then I lock it. It should just sit there and happily back up my photos. But if I come back to it after a few minutes, it seems like it had disconnected from Wi-Fi and that it only just reconnected after I unlocked it again. When I open the Google Photos app, it has to start backing up all over again.

How can I keep my iPhone connected to Wi-Fi while it's locked? (Like it should be!)

  • Are you positive the wifi is disconnecting and not Google Photos unable to upload your pictures while in background mode?
    – fsb
    Jan 4, 2017 at 21:47
  • It's probably a bit of both. When go to unlock my phone, the Wi-Fi icon seems to not be be there at first and then it reappears and the bars adjust to the actual Wi-Fi strength. Right now, I'm just leaving the screen on with Google Photos in the foreground and it seems to be forcing it to work...
    – John
    Jan 4, 2017 at 21:51
  • Maybe check to ensure it has Background App Refresh turned on. I think iOS only lets background apps run for 10 minutes max. After that time expires it kills the app.
    – fsb
    Jan 4, 2017 at 21:57
  • @fsb Yeah, background app refresh is on. To get it to back up, I'm just leaving the app open and the screen on with no timeout. That seems to force it. Another issue might be the Wi-Fi I'm on being a bit spotty. I'm going to try to address that too.
    – John
    Jan 5, 2017 at 22:23

4 Answers 4


I've found that ios devices tend to drop connection when they are locked if your 5Ghz and 2.4Ghz networks share same name.

Try changing one of your network's name.


Turn wifi on (doesn’t matter if you connect to a wifi network now or later, but the wifi toggle must be on). If your ios device supports mobile data, turn it off for now. Turn off the device (by keeping the sleep button pressed and then swiping) Wait 30s Turn it on After the home screen loads, reset it (hold the home and sleep buttons down and keep holding until you see the apple logo) That’s it.


If you are connected to power, the Wi-Fi should stay up. If you are not on power, it should drop as both of those are intended functions.

I would ask Google support if their app is fully capable of background sync over WiFi and watch your cellular data in case it does sync when WiFi drops since each app developer can use different sync API and background code so there's no general answer as to what any one app uses since the developer can change how an app functions from week to week, it will depend on your exact iOS version and the exact version of the google app.


I experienced the same problem on iOS 16. The internet suggests that this is intentional, though it is unclear whether not reconnecting is a bug or not.

This is a workaround I found, that prevents Wi-Fi from getting disconnected during sleep. Get a music app (such as YouTube music or its alternatives) and play something that is hours of silence. This drains battery, but at least it prevents the problem from occurring.

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