Quick fixes for Wi-Fi troubles in OS X

“Perhaps one of the more ubiquitous problems that OS X users encounter is a periodic inability to maintain a steady Wi-Fi connection,” Topher Kessler reports for MacIssues.

“While for many people Wi-Fi is relatively stable, for others there may be times (sometimes quite frequent), where the connection will drop, give an error, and otherwise refuse to join,” Kessler reports. “There are many reasons why Wi-Fi connections may do this, including everything from electromagnetic interference to faulty configurations, so troubleshooting it may be daunting.”

Kessler reports, “However, if you find yourself running into this issue regularly, then there are a few quick fixes that should get you up and running again.”

Five quick fixes for Wi-Fi troubles in OS X here.

MacDailyNews Take: Our Wi-Fi issue seem to have cleared up with the purchase of a new modem, replacing the one from the cable company (that had Wi-Fi supposedly disabled, but may have somehow been competing with our Airport units), or it might just have been coincidence. Whatever, Wi-Fi issues are vexing and sometimes difficult to troubleshoot.


  1. My WiFi issue, Airport Extreme seems to have a DNS issue. I will try to visit a web site, and it just hangs there. However email and sites I regularly visit work just fine. I switch over to Netgear, and everything works. The problem with Netgear, I have trouble maintaining signal. I never have signal trouble on Airport Extreme, with exception to dead websites, which should be there.

    1. Check your Network DNS settings. You say you “switch over to Netgear”, which will likely put your computer on a different subnet, but the DNS servers may not update correctly.

      System Preferences > Network > Advanced… > DNS, and take note of the DNS Servers when you’re connected to each network.

      If they don’t change, then your computer is not updating that list dynamically. You could try adding Google’s DNS servers in there manually, which would bypass your own local network setup for DNS lookups.

      Add this: and for Google DNS

      1. AirPort Extreme is bridged to the same network. My IP remains the same. The Netgear is the router.

        I may swap the two and see if it makes a difference, but my Netgear router’s MAC address is registered with my ISP.

    2. New update should have put a button on the network setting that flushes the DNS cache. It is possible to do it on terminal but it’s pretty hefty to use it on a daily basis.

      I have the same problem too. Whenever I got stuck loading a page, I just remove the DNS address, and re-add it.

    1. It _could_ be something with your local network setup. How much have you experimented? Turn off Bluetooth if you never use it, for example. Make sure to be using 5GHz instead of 2.4GHz, if possible. Choose a specific unused channel in your particular airspace.

  2. My problem has been with the interaction between iOS & OS bluetooth. Bluetooth works fine on each device (MBA & iP5s), but they wouldn’t pair with each other. This killed the Knock app. I really missed it.
    But since yesterday Knock has been very happy. I don’t know where it’s been fixed – 10.10.4 on the MBA or 8.4beta on the iPhone, but it works again.

  3. At about the time that Yosemite was release, my ISP sent me a new “improved” cable modem. This one has a built-in WiFi router; I thought I could retire my OLD AirPort Extreme Base Station (the oldest square one with 802.11n).

    Unfortunately, it has connectivity issues that sound suspiciously like this “Yosemite” problem. After connecting, it loses the connection for no apparent reason. Even while connected, the speed is often noticeably slower (confirmed using a “speed test” web site). Even my old Power Mac G5, which uses a third-party USB “n” adapter, has this problem. My recently purchased Apple TV often has streaming issues. It seems to work fine with my really old devices that use “g” and “n,” but I DID test it using the “n-only” setting to see if that made a difference with the more recent devices (did not).

    I added my trusty AirPort base station back, connecting it to the new modem with an Ethernet cable, like with the old modem. Problem solved. It’s actually better, because I set it for “n-only” now, which is faster. My “g” and “b” devices now connect using the cable modem’s built-in router.

    My theory is that these new cable modems, which were being rolled out at about time of Yosemite’s release, have unreliable low-quality built-in WiFi routers. My old G5 runs Leopard, using a third-party driver and USB wireless adapter, and it has the same issues, so I don’t think it’s a “Yosemite WiFi problem.” Not in my case…

  4. If some Apple product person or engineer is out there lurking, I ask one thing today:

    Could Apple PLEASE develop a 4G LTE Hotspot that we could use with out mobile data plans that also configures with Airport software?

    Seems like an obvious thing- let the carriers put their SIM cards in it and let Apple provide the rest.

    I for the most part have no troubles at home with my Apple Airport Extreme Dual Band with Improved Antenna Base. I do, however, suffer the poor quality software of Verizon and AT&T 4G LTE Hotspots.

    I am quite sure Apple could do quite a bit better.

  5. About a month ago the hard drive on my parents’ Mac mini went out. The decision was made to get a new mini rather than replace the drive. The new mini with its fresh install of Yosemite steadfastly refused to see let alone connect to their wireless network.

    I spent 4 days there, trying every tip and trick I could find on the internet. At times it would show the network in the list. Usually it would not. A couple of times it would connect for 20 or 30 seconds only to drop out and lose all memory of the network.

    Every other device we have connects without problem. iOS or Android, MacBooks and HP laptops, iPads and Kindles. Everything that children and grandchildren bring into the house connects with no problem. Except that brand new Mac mini running Yosemite 10.10.3.

    The fifth day was spent drilling holes and fishing cable through their 100 year old house — through hard wood floors and plaster walls. The wired connection is quite stable.

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