WiFi Not Working on Your Mac? Here's the Fix


We live in a world where internet connectivity is crucial and if you are having trouble connecting to wifi on your Mac, don't panic. We have created an easy-to-follow step by step guide to help you fix the problem.

This issue can stem for multiple reasons and, at first glance, it can be difficult to pinpoint what exactly is wrong. We recommend trying out each method one by one to check which helps (and hopefully solves the problem!) in your case.

WiFi Disconnects When Mac Wakes Up

This is a common problem amongst Mac users. You may need to connect your WiFi again after opening your Mac device. Luckily, there is an easy permanent fix for this. Here's how to do it:

  1. Click on the Apple logo on the top left-hand corner of the screen.
  2. Choose System Preferences.
  3. Select "Network."
  4. Select WiFi from the left side menu.
  5. Click on "Advanced..."
  6. Click on the box beneath the "Preferred Network."
  7. Press the Command and A keys together, to select all of them.
  8. Choose the minus sign to delete all WiFi networks.
  9. Click on "OK".
  10. Go back to the network panel.
  11. Select "Location."
  12. Choose "Edit Location".
  13. Click on the plus button to add another network.
  14. Name it what you like.
  15. Select "Done".
  16. Go back to the network panel once more.
  17. Join the WiFi by entering the login details.
  18. Click "Apply".
  19. Check to see if your WiFi is working.

USB Causing Interference

This is a simple yet unexpected problem. If you have a device connected via the USB input, then this might be the cause of your WiFi not working. One would not expect such a problem to arise, but USB devices give off their own signal, which might interfere with the WiFi signal. If there are multiple devices connected, then remove them one by one to check which one is causing the problem.

Try Resetting the PRAM and NVRAM

The PRAM (Programmable Random Access Memory) and NVRAM (Non-Volatile Random Access Memory) are parts of a Mac that are responsible for essential functions. If you're having problems connecting to the internet, then resetting these might help.

There is only one straightforward method to reset both the PRAM and NVRAM. Here's how to do it.

  1. Shut down your Mac.
  2. Hold down the Command, Option, P, and R keys together with one hand, and use the other hand to click on the power button.
  3. Release these keys when you either hear two sounds or the Apple logo appear twice. This will depend on which model of the Macbook you have.
  4. Wait for your Mac to reboot.
  5. Your WiFi should now be working.

Try Resetting the SMC

Not just the PRAM and NVRAM, but the SMC (System Management Controller) is also responsible for some of the vital functions of your Mac. We recommend resetting your SMC if the previous three methods did not work. Unlike the PRAM and NVRAM, the SMC is not straight forward to reset.

While the actual process is easy, there are five different methods to rest the SMC, which depends on which Mac model you have. These models differ by if the battery is removable and whether you have a desktop Mac or a notebook Mac. We have listed down the methods for all of these devices.

These are the different categories of Mac and the method of resetting their SMC.

MacBooks Without a Removable Battery

  1. Shut down the Mac.
  2. Hold the power button for 10 seconds.
  3. Wait a few seconds and then turn on your Mac using the power button.

If the issue still lingers, try the steps provided below:

  1. Shut down the Mac.
  2. Hold the Shift, option and control keys simultaneously for 7 seconds.
  3. Then press the home button, along with these keys, for another 7 seconds.
  4. Wait for a few seconds, then turn on your Mac.

MacBooks With a Removable Battery

  1. Shut down your Mac.
  2. Remove the battery.
  3. Hold the power button for 5 seconds.
  4. Reinstall the battery.
  5. Turn on your Mac.

Desktop Macs

  1. Shut down your Mac.
  2. Unplug the power cord.
  3. Plug back the power cord after 15 seconds.
  4. Wait 10 seconds to turn on the power.

Reconfigure the DNS

Your DNS (Domain Name Server) settings are usually provided by your ISP (Internet Service Provider). DNS is responsible for changing web addresses (like "macinfo.us") to IP addresses (Internet Protocol Address) so that your browser can connect to the server hosting the website, and display the data that you need.

It may be possible that your DNS is faulty, so you will have to reconfigure it to an open and safe one. We have listed down the method to change your default DNS to the one provided by Google.

  1. Open the network panel.
  2. Choose "Advanced".
  3. Select "DNS."
  4. Click on the plus icon.
  5. Type "8.8.8.8" or "8.8.4.4".
  6. Click on "OK"
  7. Check if your internet is now working.

Change the Location and DHCP

You have been assigned an external network IP address by your ISP, one that identifies your specific device on the internet. You will also have an internal IP address for your local network, which is how your modem router identifies your device on your home network. DHCL is a protocol that is meant to automatically assign your local IP address and it might be misconfigured. Here's how to force the DHCP settings to renew on your Mac:

  1. Open the network panel.
  2. Click on the dropbox menu in front of "Location".
  3. Choose "Edit Location".
  4. Click the plus icon.
  5. Name the new location anything you want.
  6. Click done.
  7. Select "Advance".
  8. Choose "TCPIP".
  9. Click on "Renew DHCP Lease" to be assigned a new IP address.
  10. Click "OK".
  11. Check if your WiFi is now working.

Adjust the packet size

The packet size is the amount of data being sent or received over the internet. It may be possible that the packet size is set too small, causing some websites not to open. In this case, adjust the packet size. Here's how to do it.

  1. Open the network panel.
  2. Go to "Advanced".
  3. Select "Hardware".
  4. Change "Configure" to "Manually".
  5. Change "MTU" to "custom".
  6. Enter 1453 in the box that has appeared.
  7. Click on OK.
  8. Check if this resolved the issue.

Check the Modem and Router

Another possibility is that there is nothing wrong with your Mac, and the problem is actually with your internet connection itself, or your modem router. In that case, first, check if the WiFi is working on any other device then move onto the steps provided.

  1. Reset your modem router.
  2. Disconnect and reconnect all cables on the modem and router.
  3. If any cable is broken, then contact your ISP.
  4. If you have a separate router, then connect your Mac to the internet through a LAN cable. The LAN cable needs to be connected to the modem. If the WiFi is working now, then you may need a new router.
  5. If nothing works, then contact your ISP.

Malfunctioning WiFi card

Your WiFi card is the piece of hardware responsible for connecting your Mac to the internet wirelessly. It may be possible that it has stopped working. While you can replace the WiFi card by opening the back panel and removing it from the motherboard, we recommend getting it done by a professional.

Unless you're experienced with specialized hardware, it is incredibly complicated to change the WiFi card. There can be several snags in the process, therefore you should take your Mac directly to Apple or any reputable repair shop.

We also recommend saving this step as a last resort after you've tried everything else on the list.

Conclusion

We hope this article helped you fix the WiFi connection problem on your Mac. If these still do not work, then you can always contact Apple customer support, any other reputable Mac repair shop, or your ISP.

Muaz Ashrafi

Hi! I am Muaz, a Mass Communication major. I like to think I am a free urban spirit. I write blogs with a focus on tech and gadgets. When I'm not writing, you can find me with my headphones on, relaxing to some good house EDM music. I'm also a hobbyist photographer, you can find me on Instagram @mzwithacamera.

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