Why Does My iPad Say "Cannot Connect to Server"?

By Anne Hirsh

In most cases, the "Cannot Connect to Server" message means that your iPad is having a problem connect to the Internet. A weak wireless network signal and disabling your iPad's Wi-Fi features are examples of problems that can cause the connection error to display. Although the error does not identify a specific problem, you can troubleshoot problems that may cause connection issues until you find the right solution.

Troubleshooting Options

If your iPad is having a connection problem while you are using Safari or another Web browser, try opening a Web page on a different website. If the second site loads correctly, the first site's server is the cause of the problem. Try visiting the website at a later time. If the browser is unable to connect to any websites, launch another app that needs Internet access, such as the Maps or Mail app. If the other app is functioning -- for example, the Mail app can send and receive email -- the problem is your browser app. Restart your iPad if the problem is the Safari app. If the problem is another browser, delete the app, and then reinstall it. If the connection problem is restricted to the Mail app, check the accuracy of your email account settings in the Mail, Contacts, Calendars section of the Settings menu. If none of your Internet-based apps are connecting to Web, the problem is your Internet connection.

Internet Connection

Check your iPad's status bar for the Wi-Fi icon -- which displays if your device is connected to a Wi-Fi network. The number of curved lines in the icon represents the signal strength of the Wi-Fi network. If the Wi-Fi icon is missing or the network's wireless signal is extremely weak, your iPad cannot connect to the Internet. To reconnect to the Internet, position your iPad in a location as close as possible to the network's wireless router. In addition, avoid any items or materials that could interfere with the transmission of the Wi-Fi signal, such as metal doors and cordless telephones. Similarly, if you own an iPad with cellular capabilities, check the status bar for the Cell Signal icon resembling five dots. If "No Service" is displayed or the number of dots is low, your iPad can't connect to the Internet. Go to an area with strong cellular data coverage to reconnect to the network.

Wireless Settings

Check the status of your iPad's wireless features to ensure they are enabled. Tap the "Settings" icon to open the Settings menu. If the Airplane Mode feature is activated, tap the switch to disable the feature. This action reactivates all of the iPad's wireless antennas, including Wi-Fi and cellular. From the Settings menu, tap "Wi-Fi," and then slide the "Wi-Fi" switch to the "On" position if it's off. Select the appropriate Wi-Fi network, then enter the network's password if applicable. If no networks are available, you cannot connect to the Internet until you are in an area with a Wi-Fi network. The option to activate the cellular data on a cellular iPad model is in your iPad's Cellular Data section. If you have not already activated a cellular data plan with a mobile service provider, you can set it up in this section. If you have already activated a cellular data plan, tap the "Cellular Data" switch to activate the feature.

Network Settings

If you are still receiving the error message although you know that your iPad has a stable connection to the Internet, reset the network settings. This action resets all of your iPad's network configuration information back to the original factory settings -- which can resolve any issues with the current network configuration information. Tap the "Settings" icon, tap "General," and then select "Reset." Tap "Reset Network Settings," then follow the directions to complete the reset process.

Other Considerations

If an iOS update is available, update your iPad because the current version of the software on your device may be causing the Internet connectivity issues. Connect your iPad to iTunes on your computer to update the device. The program's Summary tab displays the available update information. If the network connection problems persist, your network's router may be the problem. Test the network's Internet connection by attempting to connect to the Internet with another device. If the new device also cannot connect, you router is the problem. Resetting your router can clear any errors that are preventing the device from broadcasting the Internet.

Verison Disclaimer

Information in this article applies to an iPad running iOS 7.1. Instructions may vary slightly or significantly with other versions and products.