With over a hundred million Macs in regular use worldwide, it’s safe to say that Apple’s PC competitor is one of the biggest and most popular device categories around.
But although the Mac is an excellent, well-designed, super-sleek alternative to a Windows or ChromeOS PC, people still run into problems using them. WiFi problems, in particular, are an oft-googled issue when it comes to using a Macintosh computer.
So, if you’re a die-hard Mac fan but you’re having trouble connecting to WiFi, here’s the guide for you. Let’s get troubleshooting!
What Does Apple Say?
The great thing about your Mac is it has a suite of troubleshooting options built right into macOS. If your WiFi connection is giving you trouble, chances are Apple’s in-built systems already know about it and have a recommendation.
So before you start troubleshooting when your WiFi’s not connecting, check for that tell-tale ‘exclamation mark’ symbol in your WiFi settings. If you see it, it means your Mac’s troubleshooting systems have already picked up on a problem and have a recommended solution for you to try.
So keep an eye out for that exclamation mark!
Beta Doesn’t Mean Better
Another thing to check when you’re having WiFi problems is the version of macOS you’re currently running. Often, beta versions of upcoming macOS releases can have a few nasty bugs lurking in them, and that can easily affect your machine’s ability to connect to WiFi.
If you are running a beta version of macOS, try rolling back to the current stable version. Since you’re having WiFi problems, you’re going to have to plug in an ethernet cable or, potentially, hotspot to a mobile device to do it.
The reverse is also true: if you’re on an old version of macOS, try updating to the latest. Again, you’ll need a wire or a mobile device to do it.
Have You Tried Turning It Off and On Again?
Yep, that old classic. If you’re not connecting, turn the computer off and on again. This doesn’t just apply to WiFi, of course. A whole range of Mac problems can be solved by a simple restart.
Trouble Connecting to WiFi? What’s the Password?
If the WiFi access point you’re trying to connect to is new or can be changed by someone who isn’t yourself, try connecting to a different WiFi network. Take your Mac down to a cafe and see if you can use the WiFi there, for example.
If you can connect to a different WiFi network just fine, chances are the problem is with the WiFi network, not your Mac. Check if the password has been changed or if the password your Mac has saved for that network is outdated or wrong.
Check this out to find out how to see your Mac saved WiFi passwords.
Have You Tried Turning It Off and On Again, Again?
If the password isn’t the issue, the problem might be lurking in the router itself. In this case, it could be the router that’s due to a restart, not your Mac.
In the world of consumer electronics, there’s very little that can’t be fixed by a quick restart. It’s always worth a try with your devices.
Forget it and Set it
It’s possible that something has gotten mixed up in the relationship between your Mac and the WiFi network. In that case, your best troubleshooting option is to start fresh: forget the network and reconnect to it. That will clear your Mac’s cached settings for that network and enable it to start again from scratch, bypassing whatever it was that caused the problem in the first place.
Check Your Router’s Location
The problem might not be anything to do with a fault on the part of your Mac or router. If your WiFi isn’t connecting, the issue could be that your router is in a location that doesn’t let the signal reach your machine easily.
If that’s the case, try moving your router to a higher and more open location, somewhere it isn’t blocked off by obstacles. You might need to invest in longer cables to accomplish this, but it’s worth it. After all, a long cable and a good signal are better than a short cable and no signal at all.
If worst comes to worst, you can delve into your router’s internal settings and try switching the WiFi bands it operates on. Routers on a 2.4GhZ band might have trouble competing with the sheer number of other devices in your area that also operate on that band. By switching to the more robust (but shorter range) 5GhZ band, you can do yourself wonders when it comes to connectivity and speed.
Call Your Provider
Tried all that and still having WiFi issues? Check with your internet service provider and make sure they aren’t having problems with their network. Trouble connecting to WiFi can be indicative of anything from ‘you need to restart your machine’ to ‘someone’s accidentally sliced through the wires that provide internet to your area.’
In the latter instance, there’s nothing to be done but wait for your ISP to come through and make repairs. But they can only do that if they know there’s a problem, which is that you should try calling.
In the meantime, try using a phone hotspot or public WiFi until the problem is fixed if you can.
Get Online, Mac-Style
That’s a comprehensive list of tips to try when you’re having internet woes on your Mac device. When you’re having trouble connecting to WiFi, it can feel like the most frustrating thing in the world. Hopefully, by going through this list of tips, you can get yourself back online in no time.
Because those cat videos aren’t going to watch themselves.
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