Mac Won’t Connect to Wi-Fi? A How-To Guide to Get Back Online

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Months of fast streaming speeds and easy connection over your Wi-Fi connection, and suddenly your Mac refuses to connect. Everyone has been there.

Multiple variables influence why your Mac won’t connect to your Wi-Fi connection, from the software on your computer to the hardware in your computer or home to issues out of your hands originating from your Internet service provider. Here is a list of things you can do to find the possible culprit and get back online.

1.Verify you’re connected to the Wi-Fi network you want 

Sometimes, Macs skip the known Wi-Fi connections to connect to a different network if other open networks are available. The open network might not provide an Internet connection, which could be the source of your problem.

Do you see the Wi-Fi symbol with an exclamation mark in the middle? It means you are connected to a wireless router but not getting a proper DNS handshake from your ISP.

Before escalating to other troubleshooting tactics, turn your Wi-Fi connection on and off to see if things clear up.

2.Forget the network

Forcing the device to forget the Wi-Fi network sometimes solves the issue. Select the Wi-Fi symbol > select Network Preferences > choose Advanced > select your network from the list > press the “-” button > select Remove.

Your Mac will not try to join this network anymore automatically. Instead, you’ll need to locate the network and add a password to rejoin.

3.Find saved Wi-Fi passwords

The reason why you cannot connect to the Wi-Fi network might be because you’re entering the wrong password. Luckily, if you’ve saved the password to your Mac, you can recover it without much hassle. You can see the saved Wi-Fi password by pressing and holding Command and the Space bar. The Spotlight search bar will pop up where you have to type in “Keychain Access”. Then, open Keychain Access > scroll down to the Passwords section > type in the Wi-Fi network name in the search bar > double click on the network name when it appears > tick the box next to Show Password. For more information on how to find a saved Wi-Fi password on Mac, click here.

4.Check for system updates 

Are there pending macOS updates? Typically, system updates offer bug fixes and upgrading your system to the latest update can resolve the Wi-Fi problems you are facing.

5.Change the DNS setting 

It might be that your Wi-Fi network is working fine, but you are not getting Internet access because your Internet service provider’s DNS (domain name server) is not functioning properly. In such cases, use a public, free DNS, and Google has one. All you need to do is go to Network Preferences > click Advanced > select DNS from the menu option > click the plus icon and add Google DNS addresses, 8.8.4.4 or 8.8.8.8 > choose OK.

6.Run Wireless Diagnostics

Wireless Diagnostics is Mac’s built-in Wi-Fi troubleshooting tool. Search for it in Spotlight or access it by holding down the Option key and clicking the wireless icon in the status menu > select Open Wireless Diagnostics > choose Monitor my Wi-Fi connection > select Continue.

You’ll get a detailed report of your network options, and Mac will run you through multiple steps to identify and resolve Wi-Fi issues.

7.Check the physical hardware 

Have you tried switching your Wi-Fi router off and turning it back on again? Sometimes all it takes is unplugging your wireless router or cable modem, waiting thirty seconds and plugging it back again.

The reason why this works is because your router might be getting bogged down with too many connections, your ISP might be changing the IP address without your router catching up, or there are too many users on the network.

8.Turn off your Mac’s firewall

A firewall blocks unwanted incoming connections. It is one of the ways to keep your Wi-Fi connection secure. But the firewall settings on your Mac can sometimes interfere with your Wi-Fi network settings. The Wi-Fi problem might be resolved by turning off the Firewall. To do this, go to System Preferences > select Security & Privacy > select Firewall and turn it off.

9.Restart your Mac

When everything else fails, go ahead and restart your Mac. It is the oldest trick in the book, and it works. If it doesn’t, and you’ve tried everything else mentioned above, it might be that the connection problem is related to the hardware, the router or your computer. On the other hand, it might be that the server is down, and you need to contact your Internet service provider.

What else can you do to restore the Wi-Fi connection on your Mac?

You can try disabling the Bluetooth as it may interfere with the Wi-Fi signal and resetting the SMC.

But if nothing works, don’t hesitate to contact Apple support and let the technicians help you.