Your overall Mac experience will be considered incomplete without a decent Internet connection. On top of the stunning physical features, almost all operations carried out on your Mac device involves Internet connection like sending emails, downloading apps, and online video/audio streaming. That is why it’s a normal reaction from Mac users to get irate when suddenly plagued with network problems.
Wi-Fi problems such as intermittent connection or unstable Internet, slow internet, and no connectivity can happen at any time. There are several reasons as to why Wi-Fi or Internet problems occur on your Mac device. All these along with the potential solutions and troubleshooting procedures to deal with wireless network issues on Mac will be tackled in this post.
Pertinent Symptoms to manifest on your Mac device
- Wi-Fi connection is very slow. You can connect to and browse the internet but the connection is very slow. Slow internet connection can cause to random skips and pauses when streaming movies on your Mac device. Downloads might also take longer time to complete. Websites especially those with multiple complex pages may not load quickly.
- Unstable or intermittent connection. You can access the Internet but the connection keeps cutting off or unstable. It could be that your distance from the wireless modem or router is just too far.
- Cannot connect to the Internet or no internet access. You cannot access any website or webpages in Safari or other browsers. Often times, you will be prompted with a message saying, “You are not connected to the Internet.” Other applications requiring network connectivity such as Mail, iChat, and the App Store are not working as they cannot connect to their respective servers.
Potential causes of Wi-Fi problems including wireless interference on Mac
The standard approach in troubleshooting device issues including network problems on Mac devices is by determining the possible cause beforehand. To simplify everything, just answer these questions:
- “Was there any changes made to your Mac settings before the onset of the problem?”
- “When did the problem start?”
- “Did the symptom begin to show after downloading an application or installing updates?”
Among other factors you need to consider when dealing with Wi-Fi internet problems on Mac would include but not limited to network outage, incorrect wireless settings configuration and wireless interference.
Step 1. Check if the problem occurs on other wireless devices
If the symptom occurs in more than one wireless device, then it is possible that the wireless router or modem might be to blame. Otherwise, the router is fine and the symptom could be due to the network in question or your Mac computer joining that network.
Step 2. Check your connections and network devices
Loose connections might also be the reason why you cannot connect to the Internet with your Mac computer. To make sure this is not causing you this trouble, verify that all Ethernet and power cables connected between your modem and wireless router are properly secured. Also check and ensure that your router and modem are turned on. If you see any signs of damage to the Ethernet cables, then replacing them with new ones may likely resolve the issue without further troubleshooting.
Step 3. Power cycle your wireless router or modem
By the term power cycle means turning off the router/modem by unplugging them from the power source. Wait for 30 minutes, and then turn the router/modem back on by plugging it back into the power source and pressing the Power button until it turns on.
Step 4. Restart your Mac computer
After you power cycle the router and/or the modem, restart your Mac computer. Doing so will give your computer a fresh start and hopefully it will be able to connect to the Internet this time. Restarting your Mac also clears its memory.
Your Mac closes all running programs and offers to save any files you are working on before you proceed with the restart.
There are three ways to restart your Mac computer:
- Pressing the Power button or press Control + Eject when a dialog box appears, then click the Restart button.
- Select the Apple key and then click Restart.
- Press Control + Command + Eject or Control + Command + Power button. This is the most reliable method to restart your Mac because it does not rely on the Mac OS X operating system.
Step 5. Check and ensure your software is updated
If necessary, install software updates available for your Mac device. Also make sure that your wireless router firmware is up-to-date. Contact your device manufacturer if you are using a third-party Wi-Fi router and confirm that it runs on the latest firmware version.
Make sure you are using the recommended settings for your Wi-Fi routers and access points. You may contact Apple Support to request further assistance with Wi-Fi routers and access points configuration or refer to the instructions posted on the Apple Support website.
Mac can connect to the Internet but connection is very slow
If Wi-Fi internet access on your Mac device is very slow, then here are some workarounds for you to try on:
Step 1. Verify if your network supports the correct Wi-Fi standards
The fastest speeds are provided by the 802.11n protocol. Check your device to see if it is using the correct protocol or configure it, if necessary.
Step 2. Disable other active network services
Each active network service takes up a portion of the available bandwidth. Having more active network services may cause other services to slow down. To prevent this from happening, turn off any unused network apps so as to boost the speed of other apps.
Step 3. Make sure you are within range to the Wi-Fi router and eliminate wireless interference
Wi-Fi connection can likely be interfered especially if you are using your Mac computer too far from the wireless router. Among the potential sources of interference would include but not limited to power sources, wireless speakers, microwave ovens, and other wireless devices. With too much Wi-Fi interference in your environment, your computer may not detect the Wi-Fi network properly. To check for range limits with your wireless network, try to move your computer or wireless router closer together and ensure there are no obstructions or barriers between them.
Step 4. Connect to a different network
Switching between wireless networks can also help determine if the problem is isolated to the current wireless network you are in. If your Mac computer works fine while connected to a different network, then it denotes that the problem lies within your network router or ISP. In this case, please contact your Internet Service Provider or wireless router manufacturer for further assistance.
Mac can connect to the Internet but connection is unstable or intermittent
If your Mac does not stay connected to your Wi-Fi network or the network connection keeps dropping, here’s what you can do:
Step 1. Check and ensure your Mac is within range to the wireless router
When your device is too far from the internet source, there is a higher chance for its network connection to become unstable. Also make sure your environment is free from potential wireless interference or signal barriers. You can also try connecting your Mac to a different Wi-Fi network and see what happens. If the problem remains when using a different network, then most likely it’s triggered by something within your Mac device. It could be due to incorrect wireless network settings or faulty apps.
Mac cannot connect to the Internet or no internet access
Usually in this case, webpages do not open in your web browsers or you may be prompted with an alert message saying that, “You are not connected to the Internet.” You can try these workarounds to get your Mac computer back online:
Step 1. Check and ensure Wi-Fi is enabled or turned on
You will know if Wi-Fi is enabled and connected to a Wi-Fi network if the Wi-Fi menu appears to be bold. You can see the Wi-Fi menu on the upper-right corner of the screen. Turn Wi-Fi on from the menu, if necessary.
If you don’t see the Wi-Fi icon in the menu bar, then head over to System Preferences from the Apple menu then continue with these steps:
- Click the Network icon.
- Select Wi-Fi.
- Mark the checkbox next to Show Wi-Fi status in menu bar. Doing so will display the Wi-Fi icon in the menu bar.
Step 2. Verify if your Mac computer has joined the correct Wi-Fi network
You should see your Wi-Fi network in the Wi-Fi menu list. You will know which of the available Wi-Fi network with which your Mac computer is connected with the check besides the network name. If your network is not chosen, select it. To join or connect to a secured Wi-Fi network, you will need to enter the correct password.
Step 3. Check your TCP/IP settings in the Network pane of the System Preferences
To do so, head over to System Preferences from the Apple menu, then continue with the steps below:
- Select Network from the View menu
- Select Wi-Fi
- Click the Advanced button located in the lower-left side of the screen.
- Select the TCP/IP tab from the top of the screen.
If you are not sure which information to enter, please contact your Internet Service Provider for further assistance on TCP/IP settings configuration.
Step 4. Use Ethernet connection, if available
You can try to bypass the network connection or connect your Wi-Fi router directly to your computer using an Ethernet cable (wired connection). Doing so will help you determine if the problem is on the wireless router or not. If your Mac computer is able to connect to the Internet in this set up, then it denotes that the wireless router or modem is working fine.
Contact your Internet Service Provider or Apple Support to request further assistance in further troubleshooting wireless connectivity problem with your Mac’s network system.
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