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How to Fix Mac Not Connecting to Wi-Fi: 6 Quick Solutions

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Last updated: September 6, 2023

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Nothing derails productivity like a stubborn Wi-Fi connection that refuses to play nice with your Mac. This unexpected digital roadblock can be a source of frustration, especially when you need to get online for work or school.

To get you back on track as swiftly as possible, I’ve outlined some quick solutions for fixing your Mac not connecting to Wi-Fi issue. Let’s dive in and eliminate this inconvenience once and for all.

Before We Begin

Your Mac not connecting to Wi-Fi can be a nuisance, but MacKeeper can help you remove any virus interfering with your network connectivity. And if you’re using a public Wi-Fi connection, consider using MacKeeper VPN Private Connect and add protection to your online activities.

Reasons for Mac Not Connecting to Wi-Fi

There could be several reasons why your Mac is not connecting to Wi-Fi. Let’s look at some of the most common causes:

  1. 📴 Wi-Fi Is Turned Off: This might sound obvious, but in some cases, the Wi-Fi might have been accidentally turned off, either through the menu bar or the system settings.
  2. 🔄 Outdated Software: If your Mac’s operating system or the wireless drivers are outdated, it could lead to connection issues.
  3. 📶 Router Problems: Sometimes, the problem lies not with your Mac but with the router. It may be experiencing difficulties or set to a wireless protocol incompatible with your Mac.
  4. 📡 Interference: Other electronic devices or physical obstructions can cause interference with the Wi-Fi signal, leading to connectivity issues.
  5. 🔧 Incorrect Network Settings: If the network settings on your Mac are incorrect, this could prevent it from connecting to the Wi-Fi. This might include the wrong password being saved or incorrect DNS or proxy settings.
  6. 💻 Mac Hardware or System Issue: Though less common, the problem could be with your Mac’s Wi-Fi adapter or other system components. A faulty Wi-Fi card, for instance, will prevent your Mac from connecting to the internet.

Identifying the underlying reason for the connection issue is the first step toward troubleshooting. However, some causes might require professional assistance to resolve.

Basic Troubleshooting Steps for Mac Not Connecting to Wi-Fi

If your Mac is not connecting to Wi-Fi, there are several basic troubleshooting steps that you can take to fix the issue. These steps include:

  1. 🟢 Restart Your Mac: This is the most basic step, but it often works. Restart your Mac and see if that solves the problem.
  2. 🔌 Restart Your Modem and Router: If restarting your Mac did not fix the issue, the next step is to restart your modem and router. Unplug both devices from their power source, wait a few seconds, and then plug them back in. Wait for them to restart, and then try connecting to Wi-Fi again fully.
  3. 📶 Check Your Wi-Fi Network: Make sure your Wi-Fi network is available and within range. You can check this by looking at the Wi-Fi icon in your menu bar. If your Wi-Fi network is unavailable or you are out of range, move closer to your router or connect to a different network.
  4. 🌐 Check Your Network Settings: Make sure your network settings are correct. Open your System Settings and click Network. Ensure that Wi-Fi is selected and your network is listed as Connected. If not, click Assist me and follow the prompts to troubleshoot the issue.

Advanced Methods to Fix Mac Not Connecting to Wi-Fi

When basic troubleshooting methods fail to fix the problem, it’s time to turn to advanced methods to fix Mac not connecting to Wi-Fi issue.

These methods require more technical know-how and involve in-depth troubleshooting steps, but they can often solve the problem. Below, I’ve explained each method step-by-step.

1. Forget Wi-Fi Network and Rejoin

If your Mac is not connecting to a Wi-Fi network, you can forget the Wi-Fi network and rejoin it. This resets the network settings and fixes any issues causing the problem.

Here are the steps to forget a Wi-Fi network and rejoin it on a Mac:

  1. Click the Apple Icon from the menu bar on the top of your screen and select System Settings.
click apple icon and select system settings
  1. Select Wi-Fi from the list on the left-hand side in System Settings.
click wifi 1
  1. Click the Details button next to the Wi-Fi’s name.
click on details in front of wifi causing issue
  1. In the new window, click the Forget This Network button at the bottom.
on bottom left corner select forget this network
  1. Enter your administrator username and password, and click OK.
for confirmation enter admin id and password
  1. Click Remove on the warning prompt to remove the selected Wi-Fi connection from your list.
click remove on the warning prompt
  1. To rejoin the same Wi-Fi network, click the Wi-Fi icon in the menu bar again and tap the Connect button next to the network name in the list of available networks.
click connect in right of your wifi name
  1. When prompted, enter the Wi-Fi network password and click OK to connect.
enter wifi security password

2. Create a New Network Location

If you’re still experiencing issues with your Mac not connecting to Wi-Fi network, creating a new network location might help resolve the problem.

Here are the steps to create a new network location on a Mac:

  1. Click the Apple menu in the top-left corner of your screen and select System Settings.
click apple icon and select system settings
  1. In the System Settings window, click Network.
click network from side bar
  1. In the Network window, click the icon in the bottom-right corner, select Locations > Edit Locations…
click the location drop down menu and select edit locaions
  1. Click the + icon in the new window.
click on the plus icon
  1. Type the name of the new location and click Done.
click on the done button 1
  1. Enter your administrator username and password for Mac and click Unlock.
enter admin id and password
  1. Try connecting to the Wi-Fi network again by clicking the Wi-Fi icon in the menu bar and selecting the network from the list.
  2. When prompted, enter the Wi-Fi network password and click the Connect button to connect.

3. Renew DHCP Lease

Another troubleshooting method for fixing a Mac not connecting to Wi-Fi is to renew the DHCP lease.

DHCP stands for Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol, and this protocol assigns IP addresses to devices on a network. Renewing the DHCP lease can help fix connectivity issues.

Here are the steps to renew the DHCP lease on a Mac:

  1. Click the Wi-Fi icon in the menu bar at the top of your screen.
select wifi from the menu bar
  1. Select your desired Wi-Fi network from the list.
select your wifi from the list
  1. It will open the Network Settings window. Click the Details button next to your Wi-Fi name.
click on details in front of wifi causing issue 1
  1. Click the TCP/IP tab in the Advanced Wi-Fi settings window.
select the tcp ip tab 1
  1. Click the Renew DHCP Lease button next to DHCP lease.
click the renew dhcp lease button 1
  1. Click the Apply button on the pop-up window to save your changes.
confirm by clicking the apply button 1
  1. Try connecting to the Wi-Fi network again by clicking the Wi-Fi icon in the menu bar and selecting the network from the list of available networks.
  1. Enter the Wi-Fi network password when prompted and click the Connect button to connect.

4. Run a Virus Scan

Malware or viruses on your Mac can interfere with network settings and cause connectivity problems. A virus scan can detect and remove malicious software affecting your Wi-Fi connection.

You can run a virus scan on your Mac using reliable antivirus software like MacKeeper. Here’s how to use MacKeeper to scan your Mac for malware:

  1. Download and install MacKeeper.
  1. Launch MacKeeper and click the Antivirus tab in the left sidebar.
click antivirus under the security section 6
  1. Enable real-time antivirus protection to keep your Mac safe from viruses.
click enable to allow real time protection
  1. Once you have configured your security settings, MacKeeper will continue to protect your Mac in the background, scanning for threats and blocking malicious activity.
  2. You can also run an instant virus scan by clicking the Start Scan button.
click start scan in mackeeper antivirus 6
  1. If the scan finds any viruses, click the Fix Items button.
  2. If there are no issues in your system, click Restart to run the scan again or close the program.
click restart to finish the process 6

What Else Can MacKeeper Do?

Besides removing viruses, MacKeeper can fix issues like clearing junk files, deleting duplicates, and uninstalling unwanted apps. Check out my detailed MacKeeper review to know more about its features. 

5. Configure DNS Settings

Sometimes issues with the DNS (Domain Name System) settings can cause your Mac to not connect to a Wi-Fi network.

DNS is responsible for translating domain names into IP addresses, and if there is an issue with the DNS settings, it can prevent the Mac from connecting to the network.

Here are the steps to configure DNS settings on a Mac:

  1. Click the Apple menu in the top-left corner of your screen and select System Settings.
click apple icon and select system settings
  1. In the System Settings window, select Wi-Fi in the left sidebar.
click wifi 1
  1. It will open the Network Settings window. Click the Details button next to your Wi-Fi name.
click on details in front of wifi causing issue 1
  1. In the Advanced Wi-Fi settings window, select the DNS tab.
in the advanced wi fi settings window select the dns tab
  1. Click the + button under the list of DNS Servers to add a new DNS server.
click the button at the bottom left corner of the window
  1. Enter the IP address of a public DNS server, such as Google’s Public DNS (8.8.8.8) or Cloudflare DNS (1.1.1.1). Click OK.
click on ok to to save settings
  1. Try connecting to the Wi-Fi network again by clicking the Wi-Fi icon in the menu bar and selecting the network from the list of available networks.
select your wifi from the list
  1. Enter the Wi-Fi network password when prompted and click the Connect button to connect.

6. Reset Your Mac’s Network Setting With a Terminal Command

Resetting your Mac’s network settings can be a useful troubleshooting step to resolve various connectivity issues, including problems with Wi-Fi. One effective method to do this is by using a Terminal command.

A specific Terminal command to reset network settings can revert network configurations to their default state, potentially resolving issues preventing your Mac from connecting to Wi-Fi.

Resetting network settings will remove customized network configurations, so keep your network information handy to reconfigure your settings after resetting.

Here are the steps to reset network settings on Mac using Terminal:

  1. Open Terminal from the Utilities folder or by searching for Terminal in Spotlight.
type terminal in spotlight search
  1. To turn off Wi-Fi, type the following command and press Enter:
sudo ifconfig en0 down 
type sudo ifconfig en0 down and press enter to turn off wifi
  1. Alternatively, you can type the following command to restart Wi-Fi and press Enter:
sudo ifconfig en0 up
  1. Type your administrator password if prompted.
type your administrator password if prompted
  1. Wait for the command to execute. This may take a few minutes, and your Wi-Fi should be turned off (or on, depending on the command you used).
wifi will be turned off
  1. Restart your Mac.

Preventing Wi-Fi Connectivity Issues on Mac

Preventing Wi-Fi connectivity issues on your Mac can save you time and effort. Here are some tips for maintaining a stable Wi-Fi connection:

  • Keep your macOS up to date to avoid network compatibility issues.
  • Always update your router firmware to prevent it from any attack.
  • Reset your network settings on Mac to prevent accumulating conflicting or corrupted configurations and let the system start fresh.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why won’t my Mac connect to Wi-Fi?

    Your Mac won’t connect to Wi-Fi due to several reasons, such as outdated software, network settings, hardware issues, or an inability to connect to Wi-Fi networks.

  2. How can I create a new network location on my Mac? 

    To create a new network on your Mac, go to System Settings > Network, click the button in the bottom-right corner and select Locations > Edit Locations. Click the plus sign to add a new location.

  3. How do I restart my Wi-Fi router to fix the Wi-Fi connectivity issue on my Mac?

    You can restart your Wi-Fi router to fix the Wi-Fi connectivity issue on your Mac by locating the power button on your router and pressing it to turn it off. Wait a few seconds, then press the power button again to turn it back on.

  4. Does updating macOS fix Mac not connecting to Wi-Fi issue?

    Updating macOS can resolve Mac not connecting to Wi-Fi issues. Software updates often include bug fixes, including those related to Wi-Fi connectivity. By updating macOS, you can benefit from these fixes, improving the performance and stability of your Mac’s Wi-Fi connection.

Hashir Ibrahim

Author

I'm Hashir, a tech journalist with a decade of experience. My work has been featured in some of the top tech publications like MakeUseOf and MakeTechEasier. I have a bachelor's degree in IT, a master's in cybersecurity, and extensive knowledge of Apple hardware, specifically MacBooks. As the senior writer at MacBook Journal, I write in depth guides that help you solve any issues you have with your mac and unbiased reviews that help you make the right buying decisions.

Ojash

Reviewer

Hi there! I'm Ojash, a tech journalist with over a decade of experience in the industry. I've had the privilege of contributing to some of the world's largest tech publications, making my mark as a respected Mac expert. My passion lies in exploring, using, and writing about MacBooks, and I enjoy sharing my expertise to help others make informed decisions and get the most out of their MacBook experience. Join me as we delve into the fascinating world of MacBooks together!

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