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Is your iPhone not connecting to Wi-Fi? Here's what to do
It can be really annoying when your iPhone is not connecting to Wi-Fi. Especially if you’re in the middle of something extremely important, like binge-watching Game of Thrones. There are many possibilities as to why your iPhone is not connecting to Wi-Fi — so many, in fact, that when we put them all together, we came up with a list of 13 different Wi-Fi troubleshooting options. We’ve gone from the easiest to the hardest, so hopefully, you won’t have to get to the end of the list and smash your Wi-Fi router with a hammer.
If your iPhone is not connecting to Wi-Fi, check your Wi-Fi status. Reboot the router, check the router cable, and check various other things on the iPhone itself. More radical solutions involve resetting network settings, wiping your iPhone, and updating your router with the latest firmware (if any is available.)
JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS
- Is your Wi-Fi on, and can you see your network?
- Is your Wi-Fi on, but the internet is actually down?
- Is Airplane Mode on?
- Check for iOS updates
- “Forget" your Wi-Fi network and reconnect to it
- Have you entered the password correctly?
- Check your router cables
- Restart your iPhone
- Reset Network Settings
- Check with your internet provider to see if there is a service outage
- Update your router with the latest firmware
- Factory-reset your iPhone
- Contact Apple Support
Is your Wi-Fi on, and can you see your network?
We’ll start with the easy stuff and the most obvious. Is your Wi-Fi actually switched on? This can be checked in a jiffy by going to Settings > Wi-Fi. Can you see your Wi-Fi network? Are you connected to it? If you are, but the signal is weak, try moving closer to the router. You may be in a Wi-Fi blindspot.
If this is a frequent occurrence, consider moving your router to a more optimal location in your home or maybe buy a Wi-Fi range extender.
Is your Wi-Fi on, but the internet is actually down?
If you have Wi-Fi switched on, do you actually have an internet connection? Even though you’ve toggled the Wi-Fi to the on position, the connection can still be down. In this instance, simply reboot the router.
Each router has its own restart procedure, but it generally involves just holding down a reset button at the back for 15—20 seconds until the lights flash, indicating it is rebooting. Then wait another few minutes before disabling the Wi-Fi connection in your iPhone settings and re-enabling it again.
Is Airplane Mode on?
When you switch on Airplane Mode, it switches off a lot of iOS functions — one of which is Wi-Fi. If you forget that Airplane Mode was enabled and it’s still on, then, of course, you’re not going to get any Wi-Fi!
Swipe down from the top of the iPhone screen to access Control Center and tap the Airplane Mode icon to shut it down.
Check for iOS updates
Sometimes, if you don’t install iOS security and system updates, this can have an effect on various iPhone features, especially Wi-Fi. So the next step is to go to Settings > General > Software Update and see if anything is waiting to be downloaded and installed. If you have no Wi-Fi, you will need to switch to your cellular provider’s data plan to do this.
“Forget” your Wi-Fi network and reconnect to it
Is your Wi-Fi still not connecting? Then it’s time to “forget” the Wi-Fi network. This is where you tell your phone to wipe all the Wi-Fi credentials for your preferred network. You would get to this screen by going to Settings > Wi-Fi and tapping on your network name.
Of course, this now means that you have to re-enter your Wi-Fi password. If you have forgotten it, you will have to reset your router to factory settings, so the password becomes admin. Remember to go into your router settings again and change the password to something less obvious.
Have you entered the password correctly?
If you’re trying to access someone else’s Wi-Fi network and failing, it is likely password-protected. Assuming you have permission to access their network, do you have the correct password? Have you typed it in properly?
Check your router cables
Quite often, a wonky Wi-Fi connection can be as simple as a cable being a bit loose at the back. Push each of the cables in gently to make sure that none of them are partly out of their sockets. I lost Wi-Fi once for almost an hour before realizing it was gone because I had thrown my jeans on the router cable.
Restart your iPhone
The next step is to restart your iPhone. The tried and tested cliched suggestion of “turning it off and back on again” really does solve all ailments. With the more recent iPhone versions, restarting merely involves holding down the volume down key and the power button on the right side. Keep holding them until the slide to power off message appears on-screen.
Reset Network Settings
If you’re still having issues, then it’s time to reset network settings. This option can be found under Settings > General > Transfer or Reset iPhone > Reset. Resetting network settings does not wipe your personal data, such as your photos, emails, music, and other media. All it does is reset anything to do with your Wi-Fi network, which includes:
Check with your internet provider to see if there is a service outage
By this point, it’s time to call your internet provider and find out if the problem is at their end. They could very well have a service outage. I’ve left this option closer to the end because I didn’t want to subject you to waiting several hours on a premium rate phone line, listening to Beethoven’s Ode to Joy. Then getting cut off.
Unfortunately, if you’ve got this far on the page, there’s no avoiding it. Go forth, brave warrior. You’ve got this.
Update your router with the latest firmware
If your internet provider insists that their internet is perfectly hunky-dory, then the next step is to check to see if the router needs to be updated to the latest firmware version. Firmware is basically the software used to run the router, and running any out-of-date firmware versions can lead to issues. However, many internet providers auto-update their router firmware, so you don’t have to worry about it. But others don’t auto-update the firmware; therefore, it’s up to you to check on it from time to time.
Just Google the name of your internet service provider and “firmware.” Or go to the website of your ISP and look for a Firmware link. You should go to your router settings first and make sure you don’t already have the most up-to-date version.
Factory-reset your iPhone
Now we’re heading for the nuclear option. If all else has failed, you need to factory reset your iPhone. This can be a lengthy process, and you must perform an iCloud backup first to save your data and restore it to your phone. Follow the procedures set out in our tutorial and just wait for the phone to do its thing. You can’t rush this.
Contact Apple Support
Well, we’re at the end of the list, and I was only joking about taking a hammer to the Wi-Fi router. If you’ve come this far and your iPhone is still not connecting to Wi-Fi, then it’s time to go to the Apple Store and give those Geniuses some work to do. It’s very possible that your iPhone has a hardware issue preventing it from connecting to Wi-Fi. This can only be fixed by a trained professional, either in the form of the Apple Store or a third-party licensed repair shop.
If you are tech-savvy, you could buy your own self-repair kit, but you would really have to be confident you knew what to do. Otherwise, malfunctioning Wi-Fi would be the least of your problems.