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Why Won't My Mac Connect to Wi-Fi? 10 Fixes to Get Back Online

Updated on Thursday, June 16, 2022

iBoysoft author Anna Yuan

Written by

Anna Yuan
Professional tech editor

Approved by

Jessica Shee

Why Won't My Mac Connect to Wi-Fi? 10 Fixes to Get Back Online

Summary: This post states why your Mac won't connect to Wi-Fi and how to fix it in 10 feasible ways when Mac or MacBook can't connect to Wi-Fi.

Mac wont connect to WiFi

Nowadays, using Wi-Fi to surf online should have become an inseparable part of your daily work and life. If you're a Mac user, it could be a disaster if Mac won't connect to Wi-Fi or the WiFi keeps disconnecting on MacBook. Thankfully, we provide 10 easy ways to troubleshoot Mac or MacBook not connecting to Wi-Fi. Don't miss this post if you have Wi-Fi problems.

Table of Contents:

Why won't my Mac connect to Wi-Fi?

It's pretty annoying when suddenly your Mac won't connect to Wi-Fi. Normally, your Mac or MacBook is not connected to Wi-Fi due to the following reasons:

  • Your Mac is not in the signal range.
  • The router is defective.
  • Problems with the broadband.
  • Problems with the Wi-Fi network.
  • macOS software issue

Mac won't connect to Wi-Fi, how to fix it?

To troubleshoot the Mac not connecting to Wi-Fi problem, let's start with some basic but necessary checks:

  1. Turn your Wi-Fi on and off.
  2. Check if you're connecting to the correct network.
  3. Check if your router's cables are connected correctly.
  4. Try connecting to a different network.
  5. Restart your Mac and try to reconnect.

If the above steps didn't help, try the below methods to troubleshoot Mac won't connect to Wi-Fi further:

  • Delete the registered Wi-Fi
  • Disconnect external USB devices
  • Check for any macOS updates
  • Renew DHCP Lease
  • Change your DNS settings
  • Check the Proxies settings
  • Delete files from System Configuration
  • Delete Preferences files
  • Use Mac Wireless Diagnostics
  • Turn off any VPN apps

Fix 1: Delete the registered Wi-Fi

If Mac won't connect to Wi-Fi, try to remove it first and reconnect it again.

  1. Go to Apple menu > System Preferences > Network.
  2. On the left column, choose Wi-Fi.
  3. Click the Advanced button.
  4. Choose the registered Wi-Fi, then click the minus sign (-).
    delete wifi
  5. Click the Wi-Fi icon in the status menu, find your network name, and then enter your password to reconnect to the Wi-Fi.

Fix 2: Disconnect external USB devices

On some older MacBooks, the USB and Wi-Fi modules are close together. When your Mac computer is plugged into a USB or other peripheral device, it may interfere with the Wi-Fi module's signal, causing the MacBook not to connect to Wi-Fi. All you need to do is to disconnect all the external devices.

Fix 3: Check for any macOS updates

An old macOS may cause your MacBook to fail to connect to Wi-Fi or have an unstable Wi-Fi connection. If you are using a macOS beta or haven't updated your operating system for a long time, you'd better to upgrade your macOS. Don't forget to back up your data before updating it. To update your macOS, do the following:

  1. Click the Apple menu, and select About this Mac.
  2. Choose the Software Update button.
  3. Select Upgrade Now.
    update macOS

Wait for a moment to install and test your Wi-Fi again.

Fix 4: Renew DHCP Lease

If you have a fixed IP address, you can try to manually update the DHCP lease to solve the problem of the Wi-Fi connection on the MacBook.

  1. Click the Apple Menu > System Preferences > Network.
  2. Select Wi-Fi in the left column and then click the Advanced button in the right column.
  3. Select the TCP/IP option and click the Renew DHCP Lease button.   
    renew TCP Lease

Fix 5: Change your DNS settings

It's possible that your MacBook can't connect to Wi-Fi because your ISP's Domain Name Server (DNS) isn't working properly. In cases like this, try using a free, public DNS instead. Google has a good one.

  1. Click the Wi-Fi icon in the top menu bar, and select the Open Network Preferences option from the drop-down list.
  2. Select the Advanced option at the bottom.
  3. Then choose the DNS tab from the menu option.
  4. Hit the plus icon (+) and add Google DNS addresses: 8.8.8.8 or 8.8.4.4.
    change DNS settings
  5. Click OK and try reconnecting the internet again.

Fix 6: Check the Proxies settings

To fix Mac not connecting to Wi-Fi, make sure you have unchecked all the Proxies Settings. Here is how:

  1. Click the Apple logo, and go to System Preferences > Network.
  2. On the left column, choose Wi-Fi.
  3. Then, click the Advanced option and switch to the Proxies tab. You need to ensure that there's no protocol chosen.

Fix 7: Delete files from System Configuration

By deleting the System Configuration, all the configurations will be gone. But, it can solve the MacBook not connecting to Wi-Fi problem faster.

  1. Open the Finder App, from the menu bar, click Go > Go to Folder.
  2. Type in this address in the blank box and press the Return button on the keyboard: /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/
  3. The System Configuration folder will show up. Copy all the content to a new folder for backup.
    delete System Configuration files
  4. If everything has been copied, you can delete all the files in the System Configuration folder except for com.apple.Boot.plist.
  5. Insert your admin password to delete.
  6. Restart your Mac and try to re-connect to Wi-Fi.

Fix 8: Delete Preferences files

If deleting the System Configuration files is not helpful, then try to delete the preferences files (.plist files) related to Wi-Fi connectivity issues. This file exists in the Library folder in your Home folder. Follow the instruction below:

  1. Open the Finder app.
  2. On the top menu bar, choose Go > Go to Folder, or you can also use a shortcut by pressing Command + Shift + G.
  3. On the drop-down dialogue box, type in: ~/Library/Preferences
  4. Find the preferences files:   
    com.apple.internetconfig.plist   
    com.apple.internetconfigpriv.plist
  5. Copy and paste the preferences files into a folder to backup, then delete them from the Library folder.
  6. Restart your Mac computer.

Fix 9: Use Mac Wireless Diagnostics

Wireless Diagnostics is a macOS built-in Wi-Fi troubleshooting tool. When your Mac won't connect to Wi-Fi, try to use this utility to fix the problem by doing the following:

  1. Hold down your Option key and click the wireless icon (the Wi-Fi symbol) in the status menu at the right top of your screen.
  2. Select Open Wireless Diagnostics from the drop-down menu.
  3. Click on Continue for your Mac to run the diagnostics on your Wi-Fi connection.
    Mac Wireless Diagnostics
  4. You'll be presented with a detailed look at your network options and the computer will guide you through a series of steps to try to identify and fix your Wi-Fi problems.

Fix 10: Turn off any VPN apps

Sometimes, you might have a VPN installed to protect your network. However, it could interfere with your internet connection and cause your Mac not to connect to Wi-Fi. So if you have a VPN app or any other network security-related software you are currently connected through, consider disabling it and seeing if the Wi-Fi issue has been resolved. 

If you have tried all the above-mentioned solutions but still face MacBook not connecting to Wi-Fi, it's time to ask the Apple store or the nearest Apple Authorized Service Provider for help.

FAQs about Mac won't connect to Wi-Fi

A

If your Mac won't connect to the Wi-Fi but other devices will, first verify that you're using the right Wi-Fi connection. You can also try checking Wireless Diagnostics, available updates, physical hardware, and DNS settings. If those don't work, consider going to the nearest Apple Authorized Service Provider for help.

A

1. Open the Apple menu and select System Preferences.
2. Click on Network , then select Wi-Fi and choose Advanced.
3. Remove all Wi-Fi networks one by one. To do that, select the network you wish to remove and click the minus icon.
4. Go to the TCP/IP tab and set Configure IPv6 to Link-local only.