How Turn on Wireless for a Mac

By Mark Pool

All Mac systems, except Mac Pro towers, ship with Apple's wireless AirPort technology. The first time you turn on your Mac, the setup assistant helps you configure the type of network being used by the system. If you selected a wired network, it is still possible to change your mind later and make use of your Mac's wireless capabilities. Although the AirPort card is designed to work best with Apple's AirPort base station, the AirPort card is compatible with virtually all wireless routers available from your Internet service provider or the store.

Step 1

Click the "Apple" menu at the top left corner of your screen. Click the "System Preferences" item. Click the "Network" option in the Internet and Wireless section, located in the middle of the System Preferences window.

Step 2

Click the "AirPort" icon in the left side of the window. Click the "Turn AirPort On" button. If the button is labeled "Turn AirPort Off," the wireless AirPort card is already on.

Step 3

Click the "Network Name" drop-down menu and select the network to which you want to connect. If the network uses security, you may be prompted to enter the wireless network password. If you aren't sure what the password is, contact your network administrator or Internet service provider.

Step 4

Click the "Show AirPort status in menu bar" check box if it is not already selected. This shows the AirPort menu next to the clock and lets you turn it on or off, and connect to different wireless networks. Click "Apply" and close the System Preferences window.

Tips & Warnings

  • It's a good idea to turn your MacBook or MacBook Pro AirPort capabilities off in public places for security reasons.
  • If you do connect to a public network, be sure not to send private information over unsecured connections.

References & Resources