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MacBook Not Connecting to Wi-Fi: 11 Ways to Fix It

Posted By Volodymyr Chubei | 29 Nov 2023

Table of Contents

Connecting your MacBook to a Wi-Fi network is usually easy — you just click the icon and select a network. However, this process may not always go as planned. In this article, we'll look at the main reasons why your MacBook won’t connect to Wi-Fi, and provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to solve the problem of the internet not working on macOS.

Why won't my MacBook connect to Wi-Fi

Your MacBook can't connect to Wi-Fi due to technical and software issues. Some of the main causes of MacBook wireless internet not working are as follows:

  • routers do not work;
  • an outdated version of macOS;
  • interference and/or malfunction on one of the router channels;
  • failure in TCP/IP, NVRAM/PRAM and SMC settings;
  • Wi-Fi network is blocked by security applications;
  • the distance between the MacBook and the router is too big;
  • interference caused by other devices.

11 ways how to fix Wi-Fi on MacBook

If there is no physical damage to the Wi-Fi module, you can try to solve the problem even without any experience of this kind. Just read our recommendations and follow the step-by-step instructions to how to scan and how to fix Wi-Fi connection issues on MacBook. 

1. Check if the network works correctly

First, you need to check if your Wi-Fi network is working. A simple way is to try connecting other devices to it. If they connect, then the problem is most likely with your MacBook. In case other devices can't connect to the wireless internet either, the Wi-Fi is the cause.

If Wi-Fi is not working, try the following:

  1. Reboot the router: turn it off and turn it on after a minute. 
  2. Make sure the cable is connected properly, try another one to see if the one you are using is functional.
  3. If nothing helps, contact your ISP — there may be network problems on their side. 

2. Make sure there is no interference and the range is optimal

If the MacBook is not connecting to Wi-Fi, make sure your Apple Laptop isn't too far away from the router. You should also avoid placing it behind thick walls, and it's best to place it in the center of your house or apartment. 

In addition, make sure that nothing interferes with the operation of the router. Do not place it near electrical cables, smartphones, video cameras, microwave ovens, or other devices that transmit electrical signals. Turning off Bluetooth also helps in some cases because its signals interfere with Wi-Fi.

3. Check the network

Sometimes a MacBook turned on for a long time can trigger certain processes and interfere with your Wi-Fi connection. First, to scan a MacBook for Wi-Fi issues to see if Wi-Fi is turned on,click the icon in the macOS menu. If it's on, its icon will appear arced, if it's not, it will appear with a slash across the icon or blank.

If the network does not work, select the Wi-Fi symbol and click the switch. Your MacBook displays the available connections and automatically connects to any it connected before. If there are no networks listed, you should select one manually.

Another option is that you may try to connect to the network that is not yours. In this case, click on the Wi-Fi icon and select your network from the menu.

4. Update macOS

Sometimes installing a new version helps to solve problems with MacBooks not connecting to Wi-Fi properly.

How to update macOS:

  1. Open the Apple menu 
  2. Select "System Settings."
  3. Go to the General section and click on Software Update.
  4. Wait for the search for a new version to complete.
  5. If it is available, click "Update Now".

Also: What is macOS Sonoma and how to install it on your MacBook

5. Clear the Wi-Fi memory

Try removing the network from your device memory. You can do this in your MacBook's network settings as follows:

  1. Go to "System Settings."
  2. On the left side, click on Wi-Fi, and then click on "Advanced."
  3. Look through the list of networks and find yours.
  4. Click "Advanced" and select "Remove from list".

Reconnect to Wi-Fi manually by clicking on the network icon and then select the needed network.

6. Change the router channel

When connecting to the Internet, the router uses one of several channels. Sometimes the current channel is overloaded or runs with interference. In this case, changing it will help to solve the problem of MacBook not connecting to Wi-Fii.

To change the channel, you need to know the IP address of the router. You can find it in the TCP/IP tab in the settings.

Copy and paste the IP into the address bar of your browser. This will allow you to enter the router settings using the router password. If you have forgotten the password and have not changed the preset one, you can find the standard one using a Google search by router model. Then you need to go to the Wi-Fi settings, find the list of channels and select the one you want to use.

7. Check the TCP/IP settings 

TCP/IP settings determine how your MacBook communicates with other devices. Check the license terms for DHCP, which is responsible for assigning IP addresses.

How to renew your license:

  1. Connect to a wireless network.
  2. In "System Settings", click on "Network" and then select "Wi-Fi".
  3. Open Network Information and then TCP/IP.
  4. Click "Update DHCP license".
  5. Click on "Apply" and click OK.

Also: What to Do If Your MacBook USB-C Ports Are Not Working

8. Adjust the DNS settings

DNS is used to map website domain names to IPs. Sometimes changing DNS servers can help you connect to the Internet. If you have macOS Ventura installed on your MacBook, you need to connect to a network to change the DNS server. 

If successful, follow the further instructions:

  1. Through the Apple menu, launch "System Settings."
  2. Click Wi-Fi and "More Info."
  3. Select DNS, click the plus sign to add a new address (e.g. Google, OpenDNS, Cloudflare, etc.).

For devices running macOS Monterey or earlier:

  1. Press Cmd+Space, type Terminal, and press Return.
  2. Paste networksetup -setdnsservers Wi-Fi at the command prompt
  3. If necessary, enter a password.

9. Check VPN

VPNs can sometimes malfunction by blocking traffic or causing your MacBook to search for a Wi-Fi network with the wrong IP address.

Disable VPN:

  1. In "System Settings", select "Network".
  2. Disable the service in the VPN menu.

10. Run diagnostics

Start "Wireless Diagnostics" (Cmd + Spacebar). Follow the instructions on the screen. When finished, all errors will be logged in the logbook, which can be used later by a technician to fix problemы with Wi-Fi i on MacBook.

11. Reset NVRAM/PRAM and SMC

To reset and restart NVRAM/PRAM (the section of memory with settings):

  1. Turn off your MacBook and then turn it on right away.
  2. Press Option, Command, P, and R for 20 seconds until the device sounds on and the Apple icon appears.

The SMC is responsible for various functions, so resetting the controller can sometimes help troubleshoot wireless network connectivity problems, including MacBook Wi-Fi issues .

Reset on a MacBook with Apple T2 (2018-20 models):

  1. Turn off the device and press the power button for 10 seconds.
  2. If nothing happens, press the Power button, right Shift, left Option and Control. 
  3. Hold the combination down for 7-8 seconds. 
  4. Reboot the device.

On pre-2018 models that have a non-removable battery:

  1. Turn off your MacBook, press the Option+Control+Shift keys on the left side, and press the Power button.
  2. After 10 seconds, release the keys and turn the device on.

On a MacBook with a removable battery:

  1. Turn off the laptop.
  2. Remove the battery.
  3. Press the power button for 5 seconds.
  4. Install the battery and turn on your MacBook.

If the problem with MacBook not connecting to Wi-Fi remains, you may need to replace the built-in Wi-Fi module. You can find original parts for different MacBook models on the Apple Parts website. All parts are guaranteed from the Apple manufacturer. Before being released for sale, parts are tested in the technical department.

If you're not sure you can replace the part yourself, you can order a MacBook repair at Apple Parts by mail. Send us your device, receive a diagnostic report, invoice and pay for the service. After the repair, you'll get your MacBook back in 1-2 days. 

Genuine Wireless (Airport/Bluetooth) Card (661-7481) A1466


1. Why is my MacBook suddenly not connecting to Wi-Fi?
MacBook Wi-Fi issues can be caused by system failures, settings for certain services and applications, or outdated macOS. You may also experience connectivity problems if your router is not working properly or if the distance from the router to your MacBook is too long.
2. How to scan a MacBook for Wi-Fi issues? 
Run the diagnostics via the Cmd + Space command and wait for the process to complete with errors being logged.
3. How to fix connection to Wi-Fi on MacBook?
Reboot the device, check the router, try changing its channel, reset NVRAM/PRAM and SMC. Changing the DNS server, disabling VPN, reconfiguring TCP/IP, and updating macOS may also help.


Volodymyr Chubei
Computer Repair Specialist at MacNest.com

Volodymyr was born in Ukraine and has found his passion for electronics from his childhood. At the age of 13, he was capable of soldering some basic elements of a logic board and today he is one of the co-founders of MacNest.com

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