What to do if you cannot access the internet on your Apple Mac

Fix internet access problems on the Apple Mac with these top tips. Step by step to fixing a broken internet connection or solving slow internet connections.

There are times when the web fails and it is impossible to get a site to display. You might not even be able to get your email or anything else on the internet. Try these solutions.

If you have ever suffered an internet outage you will be well aware of the feelings of despair and anger. When everything you need is online, from the web to synced storage, to email, it can almost make your Mac a useless a pile of metal, glass and plastic.

This article is being written online, using photos stored online, and will be posted online (when I have finished). I’ll check my email online, and maybe Facebook and Twitter to see what’s new. Then I’ll head to a news site and see what’s happening in the world. I just can’t cope when I am offline.

What can you do? Here are some suggestions to get the internet working again.

1 Check the Wi-Fi

Quite often there are several wireless networks within reach of the Mac and it is possible that the wrong one has been connected to.

This happens most often in public places where a coffee shop, hotel or similar place has several Wi-Fi networks. There may be an open one for the public and other private networks that are locked for staff, company computers and terminals.

Click the Wi-Fi icon in the menu bar and select the correct network.

Select the right wireless network on the Apple Mac
There may be several networks with similar names. Pick the right one.

2 Log in to the Wi-Fi

Public Wi-Fi hotspots may require you to log in. The Mac is very good at detecting this and it almost always opens a window with the log-in page automatically.

Sometimes internet access appears to work even when you have not logged in to a Wi-Fi hotspot though. You might only have limited access, so the Google home page might appear OK. However, visiting a different website may be required to trigger the hotspot’s login page.

There is a hotspot I visit that’s like that. I can boot up, open a browser and go to Google, but the Wi-Fi login page does not appear until I enter a different URL. I usually visit this site (RAW Mac) to trigger the login.

3 Turn off the Wi-Fi

If your internet connection is OK, but then suddenly dies, click the Wi-Fi icon in the menu bar and select Turn Off Wi-Fi. Wait a few seconds and then turn it back on.

4 Restart the Mac

The Mac can run for weeks or even months without needed to be restarted and some people do this. They never switch off their Mac.

When there is a problem with the internet, restarting the Mac might solve it. Maybe some app, service, settings or memory has become corrupted. A fresh start can sometimes clear it.

5 Restart the router

Like the Mac, Routers can run for weeks or months without problems. They do not need to be switched off and provided there are no problems, just leave them on.

If you are having problems accessing the internet or it is very slow, it might be because of a problem with the router though. Switch it off, wait 10 seconds and then switch it back on.

Sometimes routers at public Wi-Fi hotspots are rebooted. If you suddenly find that there is no Wi-Fi, just wait a couple of minutes and see if it reappears. Keep clicking the menu bar Wi-Fi icon to see if it comes back.

6 Use your phone

When there is no internet access and you have tried everything else, try your phone. It depends on your carrier and contract, but if it is available, turn on Personal Hotspot in the iPhone Settings app.

Enable the personal hotspot feature on an iPhone for devices to connect to
No Wi-Fi? Turn an iPhone into a personal hotspot

Android phones have this feature too. You might be able to pull down from the top and tap an icon to turn on the Wi-Fi hotspot, or it will be in Settings.

When a phone is turned into a hotspot, it is given a Wi-Fi network name and is password protected. The details are shown on the phone, so click the Wi-Fi icon in the Mac’s menu bar. Select the wireless network and then enter the password.

Be aware that this uses mobile data and this is nearly always limited. A Mac can chew through half a gigabyte of internet data in a browsing session, so limit your online activities to just whatever is essential.

7 Turn off Bluetooth

This should not make any difference, but some people say it does. Open System Preferences, click Bluetooth and turn it off.

8 Clear the network

Whenever the Mac connects to a network, it remembers the connection details like the name, password and other settings. This makes it easy to log on again. You probably don’t have to log in to your home network every day, your Mac automatically connects when you start it.

The connection details could become corrupt, or, if it is public Wi-Fi, it could have changed. The hotspot might have a new provider, a new router or whatever. Clear the network settings.

Open System Preferences and click Network. Turn off the Wi-Fi, then click Advanced. Select the Wi-Fi tab, select the network you are using and click the minus button to remove it.

Forget a Wi-Fi network on the Apple Mac to reset it
Select a network aned click the minus button to forget it

Close System Preferences, click the menu bar Wi-Fi icon and turn Wi-Fi back on. When you connect to the network, it is like the first time all over again and you will need to enter your password. (Don’t clear the Wi-Fi settings if you don’t know it!)

9 Move out of dead spots

Brick or stone buildings can reduce the signal strength of Wi-Fi networks or even block them completely. There may be dead spots in the building, so try moving closer to the router.

10 Get advanced diagnostics

Hold down the Option key as you click the Wi-Fi icon in the menu bar to see wireless network diagnostic data. It shows the Mac’s IP address, the router’s IP address, the channel and other information.

Wireless Diagnostics app on the Apple Mac - test the network

Also on the menu is Open Wireless Diagnostics. This opens an app that checks the wireless connection. It might suggest what the problem could be.




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