My MacBook Will Not Connect to Wireless Internet

By Nat Fondell

Getting a MacBook to connect to a wireless Internet signal is typically a pain-free process. Since the computer will automatically select the best available non-password wireless signal, often you won't have to even look at the wireless networks. When the laptop refuses to connect to a reliable signal, however, even when you know the signal to be accessible and working properly, it can be a singularly frustrating experience. When navigating the murky waters of wireless connection problems, following the basic steps of connectivity can hopefully solve most problems.

Things You'll Need

  • Pen or paperclip

Step 1

Open the list of available wireless networks and select the desired network. Input a password if necessary. If the network fails to load, double check that the password has been properly typed and that the caps lock function is off. Select "Join Other Network..." from the drop-down networks list and type in the name of your desired network, inputting the password if necessary.

Step 2

Turn of the Wi-Fi access on your computer. Close all your Internet browser windows and close the browser programs themselves. Shut down all additional programs operating on your MacBook. Shut down the computer and give a few minutes of inactivity before turning it back on again. Open the Internet browser and reactivate the Wi-Fi connection.

Step 3

Restart the wireless router, if accessible, by pressing the reset button using a pen or a paper clip. The reset button should be located on the rear of the router, and should be a recessed button that is clearly marked. If you cannot access this button, simply unplug the router, leave it off for a few minutes, then plug it in again and give it time to start up.

Tips & Warnings

  • Contact your Internet service provider if you have additional problems, and they may be able to fix the signal on their end, or at least test it to determine if the problem is the signal or the MacBook. If the problem is the MacBook, you can also contact AppleCare, or bring the computer to an Apple store for help and any necessary repair. They will often help you with this type of problem even if your computer is no longer covered under warranty.
  • You can purchase the AppleCare protection plan for your MacBook. This will be very useful for problems such as this, where it is entirely possible that the wireless card is malfunctioning and may need to be replaced, which means that the entire logic board may need to be replaced as well, which is a significant cost with no AppleCare coverage.