Mac Won't Connect to Wi-Fi? Try These Fixes

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Peter Aaron
Nov 25, 20215 min read

Summary: From this article, you will learn why your Mac won't connect to Wi-Fi and how to fix the problem in various ways.

Mac Won't Connect to Wi-Fi? Try These Fixes

Have you ever encountered the problem that your Mac cannot connect to Wi-Fi, especially after upgrading to the latest macOS Monterey? Failure to connect to Wi-Fi means that you cannot access the Internet, which brings great inconvenience to our work and life. If you are facing such a problem, then don't miss this blog post. In this article, you will learn why your Mac can’t connect to Wi-Fi and how to solve the problem in 10 ways.

Why Won't My Mac Connect to Wi-Fi?

There's a couple of reasons why your Mac won't connect to Wi-Fi. Here are the most common ones:

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

How to Fix "Mac Not Connecting to Wi-Fi" Issue

Here are some basic methods you can try when your Mac fails to connect to Wi-Fi.

  • Make sure your Mac is within the signal range.
  • Check whether the network cable is properly connected.
  • Turn off and turn on Wi-Fi to restart it.
  • Restart your Mac.
  • Reboot the router.
  • Contact the broadband provider.

If your Mac still can't connect to Wi-Fi, then move to the following advanced methods.

Delete Your Registered Network

This method requires you to delete your network first and then re-enter your network password to connect.

  1. Click the Apple Menu > System Preferences > Network.
    Open Network Preferences
  2. Select Wi-Fi in the left column and then click the Advanced button in the right column.
    Open Wi-Fi Advanced Settings
  3. Select your Wi-Fi from the Preferred Networks list and then click the Minus (-) button.
    Remove Registered Wi-Fi
  4. Click the Wi-Fi icon in the status menu, find your network name, and then enter your Account Name and Password to reconnect to the network.

Unplug External USB Devices

On some older MacBooks, the USB and Wi-Fi modules are close together. When your computer is plugged into a USB or other external device, it may interfere with the Wi-Fi module's signal, causing the Wi-Fi connection to fail. All you need to do is unplug the external devices.

Update macOS

An old macOS may cause your Mac to fail to connect to Wi-Fi or have an unstable Wi-Fi connection. If you haven't updated your operating system for a long time, you may need to do so. (Please don't forget to back up your system before updating it.)

Check and Update macOS

Update 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.

  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 Update DHCP Lease button.
    How to Update TCP Lease on Mac

Change DNS Settings

Normally, DNS addresses are obtained automatically. If your current DNS is not working properly, you can try using a free public DNS. Google has a free DNS. You can have a try.

  1. Open System Preferences > Network.
  2. Click Advanced and select DNS.
  3. Click the Plus (+) button and add Google's DNS address: 8.8.8.8 or 8.8.4.4.
    How to Change DNS Settings on Mac
  4. Click the OK button and reconnect to the network.

The DNS cache stores as many DNS lookups as possible so that you can perform DNS lookups again. When you need to resolve network problems caused by DNS cache, you can clean the DNS cache. With BuhoCleaner, you can clean up your DNS cache with one click.

  1. Download and install BuhoCleaner on your Mac.
  2. Launch BuhoCleaner, select Toolkit, and click the Start button to flush DNS cache quickly.
    How to Flush DNS Cache with BuhoCleaner on Mac

Delete Files from System Configuration

Delete all the files in the System Configuration folder except for com.apple.Boot.plist.

  1. Open Finder from the Dock.
  2. Press Shift + Command + G, and then type /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration in the blank box and press the Return button on the keyboard.
  3. Keep the file named com.apple.Boot.plist and delete all other files in it.
    Delete System Configuration Files

Remove Unnecessary System Extensions

We've found that some system extensions may also prevent your Mac from connecting to Wi-Fi, especially anti-virus extensions. If your System Integrity Protection (SIP) is on, the extensions of antivirus software will remain on your Mac after you uninstall them. To remove these extensions, you should turn off the SIP (which will not affect your Mac) first. Here are the detailed steps:

  1. While booting Mac, press and hold Command + R until the Apple logo appears.
  2. Click the Utility at the top left of your Mac screen and select Terminal.
  3. Execute the command: csrutil status, and you will see Enable. Continue to run the command: csrutil disable.
  4. Restart your Mac, and the SIP will be closed.
  5. Open the Terminal via Spotlight or Launchpad.
  6. Execute the command: csrutil disable again and you will see that the status has changed to disable. Continue to run: systemextensionsctl list, you will see the list of extensions installed on your system, and the Team ID and Bundle ID of each extension.
  7. Continue to run the command: systemextensionsctl uninstall <team id> <bundle id> in Terminal to remove the extension you don't want. You will be asked to enter your administrator password.

e.g. systemextensionsctl uninstall ABCDEFGHIJ com.some.unwanted.extension

  1. To delete more extensions, repeat the step 7.
  2. Restart your Mac and see if your Mac can connect to Wi-Fi.
Note
It is recommended that you complete the above steps and repeat steps 1-4 to enable the SIP. Don't forget to change the command to csrutil enable.

Conclusion

Now you have learned several ways to solve the problem that Mac cannot connect to Wi-Fi. Hope you can access Wi-Fi by trying one or more of these methods. If your Mac still cannot connect to Wi-Fi through these methods, there may be a problem with your Mac hardware, and you may need to seek help from a repairer.

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