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How to fix Mac won't connect to Wi-Fi

Your browser is (likely) the biggest culprit

If it turns out the signal is fine when you're right next to the router, it's likely that something in your house or office is causing interference. We have advice about where to locate your router in our article about improving Wi-Fi range. There are lots of reasons why the signal strength can be weaker in certain locations and not others. For example, thick walls in old houses can make getting a signal in one corner of the house impossible. If there is a lot of metal in the building that can also cause issues with your Wi-Fi, so it might be worth checking what materials were used in the construction of your property.

Move your Mac around and chart the signal strength in various locations to get an idea of where the signal is stronger and where's it's weak. If you have identified the problem as being an issue with the signal strength in certain parts of your building we recommend getting a Wi-Fi extender like one of these Powerline adaptors. When you set up the Wi-Fi extender make sure you change the SSID Wi-Fi name and password of the new device so it's the same as your current wireless router and modem, to enable your Mac to pick whichever device is offering the better connection without you having to switch and enter a new password.

Alternatively the problem may be other electrical devices, such as fans, motors, microwaves and wireless phones. Does your Wi-Fi drop at the same time as you use the microwave? Because they're both using radio waves you can get interference when you turn your microwave on.

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You can also get an idea of whether other devices are causing your signal to drop by using macOS's built-in Wireless Diagnostics utility. This will generate three graphs that will tell you about the transmission rate, signal quality, and signal and noise levels. If you monitor this for a few hours you may be able to identify whether there is a problem.

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The top graph displays the data rate of your wireless network in Mbps. The level of the graph will be dictated by your router and other equipment you have connected to it.

The important thing, in troubleshooting terms, is that the rate is reasonably consistent. If you are seeing dips in the data rate, or a complete drop-off, it indicates that there is a problem. The middle graph, labelled Quality, displays the ratio of signal to noise over time. Ideally, it should be a straight-ish line with small spikes. If you notice frequent dips in the line, it's likely that something is interfering with your Wi-Fi signal.

The bottom graph, labelled Signal, displays both the signal strength and measured noise. Both are shown as dBM, or Decibel-milliwatts, a commonly used unit of the absolute power of radio signals.

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A reliable signal should have a signal strength of somewhere between and dBm and a noise level below dBm. The narrower the gap between the two lines on the graph, the more unreliable the signal is likely to be. If you notice sudden increases in noise, try to identify when and why they occur. Does it happen, for example, when a wireless phone handset is in use, or when a microwave is switched on? If you identify that a particular appliance is interfering with the signal, move the router away from the appliance that's causing the problem. You could also try varying the height of the router as well as its horizontal position to see if that has any effect on the reception when the interfering gadget is in use.

Your Wi-Fi connection may also be suffering because of other networks nearby, sharing the radio waves with you - particularly if you're in a built-up area. WiFi Explorer will help you see what other networks are in your area. It provides a lot more information than you normally see in the list of available networks on your Mac, which you see if you click on the Wi-Fi logo in the menu bar.

Fix Wi-Fi Problems in macOS Sierra

Now you have seen these different Wi-Fi networks, make sure you configure your Wi-Fi network with a unique name so that it doesn't conflict with the names of other nearby networks. You could go some way to counter competition from other Wi-Fi networks by changing the channel you're on. There are 13 channels, and of them all but 1, 6 and 11 overlap. You'd be wise to pick a channel as far away from your neighbours' if possible.

Routers do a good job of selecting channels automatically, based on what else is operating nearby. If, however, you open the Scan tool from the Windows menu in Wireless Diagnostics and notice that your router is operating on the same channel as another router nearby, you might want to consider changing it manually.

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  • The steps you need to follow to change the channel on your router will depend on your router software. To access your router software you need to know the IP address of your router. Open your web browser and type the IP address into the address bar and press enter. This will bring up your router software. Look for the channel information and log into your router to change it. Don't just move it to the next available channel, however. Channel frequencies overlap, meaning that narrowband use five channels concurrently and wideband routers use seven. So, if you manually change channels, make sure you move at least five or seven channels away from the one your router is currently operating on.

    As you make changes, keep monitoring the graphs in Wireless Diagnostics so you can see which ones make a significant difference to signal quality. Alternately you could configure your Wi-Fi network channel to Automatic so that it selects the best channel to use. Those channels mentioned above relate to the 2. Another way to improve your Wi-Fi signal could be to switch to the 5GHz band. The 5GHz band offers more bandwidth than the 2. Note: macOS leaves applications running in the dock. Sure, saving icons and items on the Desktop makes it handy for you to access without extra clicks.

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    • But a cluttered Desktop can seriously slow down your Mac, according to Lifehacker. Fact: an overused Desktop can seriously slow down your Mac! Plus, a cluttered Desktop can make you feel disorganized. However, for those users who process visually, using an Alias or shortcut on your Desktop gives you the icon without the system demands of that file or folder.

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      Mac Dashboard services as a secondary Desktop for hosting widgets — simple applications that allow you quick access, such as a calculator or weather forecast that you use daily. But having too many widgets can slow down your computer as well. Just as running multiple applications does, widgets on your Dashboard can take up quite a bit of RAM source: AppStorm. This is probably the most critical cause that leads to a slow Mac.

      You may need a more powerful processor. Also, this Apple discussion reveals that if there are bad or failing sectors on the drive, which can substantially slow down read speeds.

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      If you regularly use your Mac for gaming, you may find the overall experience a bit choppy. Nothing slows a Mac more than having too much on a hard drive, according to iMore. Since , all Macs have been built on Intel cores. If you used an older Mac and decided to migrate data from a different mac CPU type, e. Credit to Abraham Brody , a Mac tech support geek. Every day you use a web browser e.

      Fix WiFi Connection Issues in MacBook and MacBook Pro

      Safari, Chrome, FireFox , you generate junk files such as caches, history, plugins, extensions, etc. With the passage of time, these files can take up a lot of storage space as well as impact the speed of your web browsing. For example: by cleaning the junk files together with other two simple tricks , Wall Street Journal columnist — Joanna Stern was able to make her 1.

      Sometimes when your web browser is slow to load the pages you want to view, you may blame your Mac. It could be an older router, weak wifi signal, too many other devices connected, etc. Yes, the OS X operating system is more secure than Windows. But hey, it can get viruses as well. According to ComputerHope , as Apple Macintosh computers gain market share and are used by more people, virus are becoming more common than they used to be.

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