Wi-Fi Quick Assist

With Wi-Fi, you can connect wirelessly to the Internet, email, local servers, and shared printers. If your Mac has Wi-Fi built in, or an AirPort card, it can access nearby Wi-Fi networks or hotspots.

Connecting to a wireless network via Wi-Fi

If your Mac isn't already connected wirelessly, it may prompt you to join a wireless network once one is detected.

You can also select a Wi-Fi network manually. From the Wi-Fi menu (AirPort menu), choose the network you want to connect to. If a lock icon appears next to the network name, you will be prompted to enter a password to join.

The Wi-Fi menu appears by default in Mac OS X v10.5 and later. If it is not on the menu bar, choose System Preferences from the Apple menu (), open Network preferences, click "Wi-Fi", and check the option named "Show Wi-Fi status in menu bar".

Top troubleshooting tips

Make sure that Wi-Fi is on

If you can't make a connection, check to make sure that Wi-Fi is on. The Wi-Fi menu bar icon (AirPort menu) should be bold and should state "Wi-Fi: On" or "Wi-Fi: Looking for Networks" at the top. If Wi-Fi is off, turn it on from the Wi-Fi menu.

Check your location

The range of your wireless network can vary based on your environment. If your connection seems spotty, try moving closer to your base station. You can also check for potential sources of interference.

Check your access privileges

If you enabled encryption on your network, make sure that you set up your base station or router properly. Consult the documentation that came with your product. Make sure you're using the correct settings and password. If you're joining a closed network, a network with its name hidden, make sure that you've entered the network name and password correctly. If the network is secured by access control, make sure that your MAC address is registered with the network administrator. Consult the network administrator for assistance with access.

Verify that your ISP is working

If your Internet Service Provider's (ISP) servers are down, you won't be able to connect to the Internet. Use a web browser on any computer that's directly connected (by Ethernet) to make sure that your ISP is or is not responding. If you cannot connect, and have a separate broadband modem/router, try restarting it. If the issue persists, contact your ISP or wait for your service to be restored.

Restart your Mac

Sometimes a simple restart can clear up issues. From the Apple menu (), choose Restart. Once it's finished starting up, try connecting to the network again.

Restart your base station or router

Restart your home network router using the method recommended by its documentation. This may include disconnecting the power cord for 10 seconds or more. Note that any Internet services including a VoIP-based phone will not work until the router restarts.

Update your firmware and software

If you use an AirPort base station, use Software Update to check for available updates. If you use a third-party wireless router, check the manufacturer's website for any firmware updates available for your model. Download and install the software using instructions they provide.

Learn more

Still having issues?

More AirPort information

For help setting up an AirPort Extreme, AirPort Express, or AirPort Time Capsule, use the AirPort Setup Assistant or the AirPort Utility (you can find it in /Applications/Utilities). For more information about using Wi-Fi, choose Mac Help from the Help menu in the Finder and type Wi-Fi in the search field.

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