Manage the Wi-Fi connection on your Mac

You can use the Wi-Fi menu on your Mac to see the status of your wireless network connection, switch between networks, or turn Wi-Fi on or off.

Connect to Wi-Fi

You can use the Wi-Fi menu to quickly connect to a nearby wireless network.

  1. Click the Wi-Fi icon (   or   ) in the menu bar. 
  2. If Wi-Fi is off, choose "Turn Wi-Fi on."
  3. Select a nearby Wi-Fi network from the list.

If you don't see your network listed, make sure it's nearby and that others can connect to it. It could also be a "hidden" network. You can connect to a hidden network by choosing "Join other network" and entering the name of the network you're trying to use.

The strength of each nearby network is shown next to its name. More darkened bars indicate a stronger network connection.

Enter your password

Networks that have a lock icon next to their name require a password. After you select your network, enter the network password when you're prompted. If you don't know the network password, check with the owner of the Wi-Fi network you're trying to join.

Use a cellular device as your Wi-Fi connection

Depending on your cellular plan, your iPhone or iPad with cellular can share its Internet connection with your Mac. When your iOS device is configured properly and is near your Mac, it appears in the Wi-Fi menu as an available connection.

When you select a cellular device as your Internet connection, the menu icon changes to indicate your Mac is currently linked to the device (   ).

Turn Wi-Fi on or off

If you're in an environment where Wi-Fi isn't permitted (like on some airline flights) you can quickly turn off Wi-Fi from this menu.

  1. Click the Wi-Fi icon in the menu bar. 
  2. Choose "Turn Wi-Fi off."

When Wi-Fi is turned off, the menu icon changes to and empty indicator (   ). When you're ready to use Wi-Fi again, click the menu icon and choose "Turn Wi-Fi on." Then connect to the network you want to join if your Mac doesn't join it automatically.

If you don't see the Wi-Fi menu

You can enable and disable the Wi-Fi menu from the Network pane of System Preferences.

  1. From the Apple menu, choose System Preferences.
  2. Click Network in the System Preferences window.
  3. Select Wi-Fi in the list of available network connections.
  4. Select (check) the option to "Show Wi-Fi status in menu bar."

Create a network

If you want to create a temporary Wi-Fi connection between your Mac and another device, you can create your own network from the Wi-Fi menu.

  1. Click the Wi-Fi menu and choose Create Network.
  2. Enter the details for your network, such as a network name and channel

When you create a computer-to-computer network, the menu icon changes to show a computer ( ). When you're done, click the Wi-Fi menu again and choose Disconnect to close the network you created.

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