Wi-Fi Not Connecting on Mac? Try These Fixes to Restore Internet on Your Mac

Get Wi-Fi working again on Mac

by: - Last updated on: April 22nd, 2021

Key Takeaways

  • While Macs tend to perform well in general, they have their share of problems, and Wi-Fi connectivity happens to be one such problem on the Mac.
  • At large, there are several factors that can prevent your Mac from connecting to the Wi-Fi, so it is imperative to determine the cause and take action accordingly.
  • Based on what caused the problem in the first place, you can follow a few different fixes yourself to restore connectivity on your Mac before contacting your ISP.

Even though Macs offer a great user experience, they, too, are not immune to some problems that crop up out of nowhere. Amongst these problems, one that can be particularly frustrating and can hamper your productivity is when your Mac refuses to connect to the Wi-Fi — that too, to a Wi-Fi connection that it worked with sometime back.

Wi-Fi not connecting on Mac

At large, there are numerous factors that can prevent your Mac from connecting to Wi-Fi: everything from a hardware issue with your router/modem to misconfigured Wi-Fi settings on your Mac, to channel interference, to a spotty internet connection at your ISP’s end. All of which makes it harder to determine the root cause of the problem on your Mac.

So, if you are struggling to get your Mac to connect with your Wi-Fi, here are some fixes to help you fix the problem and restore connectivity on your Mac.

Fixing Wi-Fi Connection Problems on Mac

1. Carry Out Basic Troubleshooting

Before getting into technical fixes and changing different preferences on your Mac, let us first rule out any trivial causes that can cause your Mac to not connect to WiFi.

check router connection status
IMAGE: Misha Feshchak (Unsplash)

Here are a few troubleshooting tips to do this.

  1. Check to see if your modem/router is connected to the internet. For this, make sure all its indicator lights, including the one for the internet, are blinking green. Additionally, make sure all the connections, including the ethernet cable and power cable, are connected to the Wi-Fi router.
  2. If your modem/router has proper connectivity, go to your Mac and toggle Wi-Fi off and then turn it back on.
  3. In case the problem persists, restart your router/modem and try connecting to it again. Likewise, if this does not work, restart your Mac and attempt to connect to your Wi-Fi connection.
  4. Of course, it goes without saying that you should make sure if Wi-Fi is turned on on your Mac. Click on the Wi-Fi icon in the menu bar to verify.
  5. If everything seems fine with the network, turn off your Mac. Wait for a few seconds and turn it back on.

2. Check for Channel Interference

A lot of the time, Wi-Fi issues arise due to interference, which could be either due to range or channel. One way to ensure that your network is not a victim of the same is to check your router/modem’s position to see if it is placed in an appropriate location without any obstructions blocking signal broadcasting. Similarly, network channels are another culprit that can cause interference with your Wi-Fi signals and render the connection unusable. And therefore, these should also be checked from time to time to stop any sort of interference on your network.

change Wi-Fi channel interference

  1. Option-click on the Wi-Fi icon in the menu bar and choose Open Wireless Diagnostics.
  2. Click on the Window option in the title bar and select Scan. Your Mac will now scan all the available Wi-Fi networks in your proximity and present you with a list of these networks along with the channel they are currently using.
  3. Check to see that your connection is not using one of the overcrowded channels.
  4. In case it is, the best way to reset the channel on your modem/router is to restart it.
  5. But, if it does not work in your case, you can head to your router/modem settings (or router/modem admin page) and change the channel from there. [Do note that every modem/router has different steps to do this and that not all ISPs allow you to change your network’s channel.]
  6. Additionally, if your router supports the 5GHz network, enable it and check to see if your Mac can establish a connection with it.

3. Forget the Wi-Fi Network

Generally speaking, when you change the SSID (or network name) or password for your Wi-Fi network, you may start experiencing network issues. And, not being able to connect to a network is one such issue. In such a situation, a safe bet is to forget your network so that your Mac does not remember its configurations anymore.

forget Wi-Fi network

  1. Click on the Apple icon in the top-left corner and choose System Preferences.
  2. Select Network and click on Advanced.
  3. In the Network settings, choose the network you want to forget and click on the minus sign.
  4. Click on OK and hit Apply.
  5. Once you have deleted the network, toggle the Wi-Fi switch off and turn it back on.
  6. Choose the Wi-Fi network you want to connect to, click on it, and enter its password to join.

4. Check the Network IP Settings

IP (Internet Protocol) address is a unique identifier that plays a crucial role in connecting a device to the internet. It has two types: static and dynamic. But, in general, most users have a dynamic IP configured on their network. Dynamic IP relies on a DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) server to automatically assign an IP address to every host on the network. So, if your device is unable to establish a connection, it could be due to an underlying IP issue, in which case, you can renew the DHCP lease to renew your current IP address.

renew DHCP lease

  1. Click on the Apple logo in the top-left corner of the screen and select System Preferences.
  2. Select Network, and from the left sidebar, click on Wi-Fi.
  3. Click on Advanced and go to the TCP/IP tab.
  4. Hit the Renew DHCP Lease button.
  5. Click OK.

5. Update macOS to the Latest Version

Apple regularly releases new system updates for macOS, most of which are to address issues on the system. If you are experiencing a problem with Wi-Fi connectivity, and none of the methods mentioned so far resolve it, updating your Mac to the latest version is a safe bet.

update macOS software

  1. Click on the Apple icon on the top-left corner of the screen and choose About This Mac.
  2. Hit the Software Update button. If there is a new update, Mac will display the same along with its details.
  3. Tap on the Update Now button to update your Mac to the latest version of macOS.

Troubleshooting Your Way To Fix Wi-Fi on Mac

In most cases, Wi-Fi connection issues get resolved by resetting the Wi-Fi adapter settings or restarting/updating the Mac. But, in case these problems still linger around, the other troubleshooting fixes we have listed above should help you restore your Mac’s connectivity, and it should be able to connect to your Wi-Fi as it did earlier.

That said, though, there are some instances when even these fixes cannot resolve the connectivity issues. At such times, you should check to see if other devices are able to connect to your Wi-Fi. If they do, then it is likely some hardware problem on your Mac. But, in case no other device can connect to your Wi-Fi, you should contact your ISP (Internet Service Provider) to get your router/modem changed.

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