Why Won’t My Mac Connect to Wi-Fi? Five Ways to Troubleshoot!

Similar to other computers, Macs are vulnerable to facing connectivity issues. If you have already reset your router and found that other devices in your home are having no problem connecting to the Wi-Fi network, but your Mac is refusing to go online – the issue stems from your Mac (unfortunately!).

Whether you’ve first noticed a connectivity issue because you cannot connect to App Store Mac or Chrome shows the ‘No Internet’ sign, here are a few things that you can do to troubleshoot and make your Mac connect to Wi-Fi. After all, it can be a frustrating experience to keep losing the Internet connection when you need to send an urgent mail or need to download some application from the App Store.

Connecting Mac to Wifi

Diagnose Wi-Fi connection issues 

A good place to start investigating Wi-Fi problems on your Mac computer would be to use the Wi-Fi diagnostic tool that is built into your computer. Open the diagnostic tool by holding the Option key and click on the Wi-Fi icon. Click ‘Open Wireless Diagnostics’ after that and you’ll get a list of options. The Performance Graph is a useful function and this will allow you to see the signal quality, transmission rate, and level of noise on your Wi-Fi network.

Signal quality and transmission rate tend to be connected. The transmission rate will be poor if the signal quality is poor. This can be improved by ensuring that your Mac is placed closer to your router.

If the noise levels are spiking or high, you can try logging into your router settings, via your browser and change from 2.4GHz to 5GHz band.

Check for the latest system updates 

Are there any pending macOS updates that you haven’t installed yet? If so, you can check for system updates and upgrade your computer to the attest version. The system update might come with bug fixes that will clear up your Wi-Fi problems.

If you’ve been putting off the automatic updates, you can manually update your Mac. However, you are recommended to let your system update automatically so that you don’t face connectivity or performance issues with your Mac.

Reconfigure the DNS settings

Domain Name Server (DNS) is responsible for changing web addresses that we can read (like, wwww.yahoo.com) to IP addresses that can be understood by the server. Essentially, this acts as a phone book for the Internet. Sometimes, the DNS provided by your Internet service provider might not function properly. In such cases, you can use free and safe publicly available DNS options. For that, you need to follow these steps –

  • Go to Apple Menu > System Preferences > Network > Select the network connection service that you wish to use (in this case, Wi-Fi) > Advanced > DNS
  • Then, click on the “+” button at the bottom of the DNS Servers list
  • Type or into the box and press Enter (these are the DNS options for Google) and then click ‘Okay’

Reset the PRAM/NVRAM and SMC

Resetting the PRAM/NVRAM and SMC (System Management Controller) can solve your Wi-Fi problems. These are the portions of your Mac computer that controls the basic operations, which are important for basic system function.

Here are the steps for resetting PRAM/NVRAM –

  • Press and hold the power button on your device so that it completely shuts down. Fans and hard discs need to stop spinning, and the screen should be dark.
  • Power on your computer and immediately after you’ve heard the startup sound, you need to press and hold the Cmnd + Option + P + R keys
  • Keep holding these keys down until you hear the startup sound again and also see the Apple logo
  • Release the keys and you’ve successfully reset the PRAM/NVRAM

Now, to reset the SMC, you have to first determine if your Mac has a non-removable and removable battery.

If the battery is non-removable –

  • Go to Apple Menu > Shut down and wait for your device to shut down
  • Press the power button and Shift + Control + Option at the same time. Hold these keys for 10 seconds
  • Release all keys
  • Turn on your Mac

If the battery can be removed –

  • Shut down your Mac and remove the battery
  • Press and hold the power button for five seconds
  • Reinstall the battery
  • Turn on your Mac

SMC will be reset to the default settings and this should resolve your connectivity problem.

Restart your Mac

When everything else fails, restart your Mac. This is the oldest trick in the book, but it might work. You can also try this fix before trying any other solution. When you restart your Mac, uncheck the option “Reopen Windows when logging back” and this will make sure that your Mac restarts without opening the last app that you were using. Also, if the problem solves by simply restarting, it means that the issue is not associated with the software.

If your Wi-Fi problem still doesn’t get solved – and you’ve tried every option – it might be because the problem is hardware related or you need to speak to your Internet service provider