While it is certainly possible to use your iPad without an Internet connection, it is not the most productive way to use the device because a lot of its features depend on an active connection to the Internet. For example, without the Internet, you cannot access your email messages, use any apps that require Location Services or make FaceTime calls. Common solutions to fix connection problems include updating your iOS, toggling your Wi-Fi functionality off and then on, and resetting your Wi-Fi connection. Information in this article applies to an iPad running iOS 7.1.
Check Your IPad's Wi-Fi Settings
If the Airplane mode is activated or the Wi-Fi feature is off, your iPad cannot connect to a wireless network. The Airplane mode feature disables all of your iPad's wireless connections, including the Wi-Fi adapter. Access either feature through your iPad's Settings screen or the Control Center. Tap the "Settings" icon on your iPad's Home screen to open the Settings menu, then slide the Airplane Mode switch to the "Off" position if the feature is activated. To activate the Wi-Fi feature, select "Wi-Fi" from the Settings menu then slide the Wi-Fi switch to the "On" position. Alternatively, you can open the Control Center -- swipe up from the bottom of the iPad's screen -- to gain access to these two features.
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Reinstall the Wi-Fi Network
According to Apple, turning off, then turning back on, the Wi-Fi feature can solve some network connection problems. Open the "Settings" menu, tap "Wi-Fi" to open the Wi-Fi screen, and then toggle the "Wi-Fi" switch off and then on again. If that technique doesn't solve the problem, reinstall the network profile. Reinstalling the profile forces your iPad to view your Wi-Fi network as a new connection. Open the "Wi-Fi" screen, select the "Info" icon, and then click "Forget This Network." Click "Forget," then re-connect to your network.
Apple periodically releases free iOS updates for your iPad. These updates often include bug fixes, software patches and new features. Your iPad's connectivity problems may be caused by using an older version of the operating system. Under normal circumstances, you can update your iPad over a Wi-Fi network through the Software Update section of the Settings menu. However, when the device is experiencing connectivity problems, you need to update iOS through the iTunes program on your computer. Connect your iPad to your computer, open the iTunes program and then select your iPad. Click the "Check for Update" button, select "Download and Update," and then wait for the update process to complete.
Restart Your IPad
Similar to rebooting a computer, restarting your iPad closes all running applications and processes, including any running process that is causing your iPad to drop its Wi-Fi connection. For example, if the Wi-Fi screen's settings are grayed out, restarting the iPad reactivates the settings. To restart your iPad, press the "Sleep/Wake" button then hold it until you see the red slider. Drag the slider to the right, then wait until your iPad turns off. Press the "Sleep/Wake" button again, then hold it until the Apple logo appears on the screen.
Reset the Network Settings
Resetting the network settings returns all of your iPad's wireless network settings to factory settings. This solution effectively erases all of the Wi-Fi network profiles and their corresponding configuration information on your device. Your apps, personal files and other settings are not affected by the network reset. Open the "Settings" menu, then select "General." Scroll down the screen, tap "Reset," and then select "Reset Network Settings." To regain access to your wireless network, you need to re-enter the network's information on the Wi-Fi screen.
Distance and Interference
Your iPad's Wi-Fi icon -- which is located in the iPhone's status bar -- displays the strength of a Wi-Fi network's signal. The number of bars displayed in the icon corresponds to the signal's strength. If the signal strength is low, you need to move the device closer to the router to avoid losing the connection to the Wi-Fi network. In addition to your iPad's distance from the router, sources of interference -- such as concrete walls and microwave ovens -- can also cause your device to lose the wireless connection to your network. These items can disrupt or degrade the signal before it gets to your iPad. To overcome this problem, move your iPad to a location that has a clear signal path to the router.
Check Your Wireless Router
If you are still experiencing problems maintaining a connection to your network after troubleshooting your iPad, you router may be the cause of the connection problems. This situation is most likely if other wireless devices are also having trouble connecting to the network. Rebooting or resetting your router can resolve many connection errors related to glitches and bugs. The rebooting process cycles the router off and then turns it back on, while resetting the router returns the device back to factory settings. Use your router's physical reset button or Web-based Administration page to reset or reboot the device. Refer to your router's user manual for specific instructions on how to reboot and reset your device. For example, if you own a Linksys router, press the "Reset" button, and then hold it for 10 seconds to reset the device.
- Apple: iPad User Guide for iOS 7.1 Software
- Apple: iOS: Connecting to Wi-Fi
- Apple: iOS: Troubleshooting Wi-Fi Networks and Connections
- Apple: Wi-Fi and Bluetooth: Potential Sources of Wireless Interference
- Apple: iPad Air Features
- Apple: iOS: Wi-Fi Settings Grayed Out or Dim
- Apple: Update Your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch
- Linksys: Resetting the Router to Factory Defaults and Changing the Router’s Password
- Linksys: How to Reboot and Reset the Router to Factory Settings Using Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Account
- Apple: iPad: Basic Troubleshooting
- Apple: iOS and OS X: Recommended Settings for Wi-Fi Routers and Access Points