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While Apple devices call them passwords, I am going to use PSK (Pre-Shared Key) throughout this question as it is more accurate. Please feel free to substitute password for PSK as you read if it helps.


I work in several environments now where they are making use of some flavor of private/dynamic/idenity/multiple PSK when connecting to the wireless network. For those that aren't familiar with these features, it allows the organization to set unique PSKs per user/device. (While still not as secure as WPA2-Enterprise 802.1X authenticated Wi-Fi, these features provide some of the benefits of WPA2-Enterprise with the easier and wider device support of WPA2-Personal.)

The issue now is that if I have any of my Apple devices close to each other, they seem to automatically transfer the PSK to each other after successfully connecting to the wireless network. This happens even if I dismiss the "Share Your Wi-Fi" prompt on devices without tapping "Send Password". While I can understand how this behavior can be advantageous in most WPA2-Personal networks, it is creating issues in these environments.

So for instance, device #1 connects to wireless network with PSK1. I can disconnect and reconnect without problem. Now I move to device #2 and connect to wireless network with PSK2. I can now disconnect/reconnect device #2 without problem, but when I go back to device #1, on a disconnect/reconnect it now has the wrong PSK and prompts for me to re-enter the PSK. If I then connect device #3 (PSK3), both device #1 and #2 can no longer disconnect/reconnect without prompting me to re-enter the PSK. Fixing any one "breaks" the others.

I have tried to disable iCloud Sync entirely on all devices (apparently prior to iOS11, iCloud keychain sync was providing this feature) and this has no effect on the behavior at all. I also tried disabling AirDrop thinking this may be the feature transferring the PSK, but that also had no effect.

Is there any other way to disable these PSKs from being synced? Maybe something I have overlooked in settings?

(While I did find this similar question, it is older and asking specifically about iCloud keychain syncing, which does not appear to be the Apple feature performing this behavior. As I note above, this behavior is still present with iCloud syncing completely disabled.)

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