MacBook Pro Constantly Dropping Wireless Connection?.
You might love your shiny new MacBook Pro, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. While macOS running on original Apple hardware is less prone to technical issues when they do occur, finding solutions can be difficult.
One issue that keeps coming back over the years is unstable Wi-Fi connections. In other words, your MacBook either keeps dropping the wireless connection or refuses to connect at all.
We’ve explored the collective wisdom of the web, added a strong touch of our own, and rounded up tips that are most likely to get your MacBook Pro back on the information highway.
Is it a WiFi network issue?
This may seem like an obvious question, but does your MacBook Pro really have a Wi-Fi connection issue? If the Wi-Fi connection icon indicates that you are connected to a local network, but your Internet speed is slow, or only some websites are working, the problem is most likely not with the Wi-Fi connection itself.
Questions like this are beyond the scope of this article. If you need help with the internet, check out our article on the topic. Below we will consider only possible solutions to problems with connecting to Wi-Fi.
Before you start panicking and looking for mysterious voodoo rituals to turn Wi-Fi back on, start with the obvious and simple steps that can often solve problems on their own.
First, make sure your MacBook is updated to the latest version of macOS. Then restart your Mac and restart your router. It is also advised to disconnect everything from USB / Thunderbolt ports to eliminate the third party culprits.
Pay attention to macOS Wi-Fi recommendations
When you connect to a Wi-Fi network using macOS, your computer performs several standard connection tests to make sure it is working properly. If you run into any problems, you will see a pop-up list of recommendations in the WiFi menu. Please try to solve any of the listed problems first. If the problem persists after the suggested advice, continue investigating.
WiFi Diagnostic Tool
If you do determine that the issue is indeed Wi-Fi related, the best place to start is by using the macOS Wireless Diagnostic Tool.
- Just hold the select button and click the Wi-Fi icon.
- Click Open Wireless Diagnostics and then run the diagnostics itself by following the instructions in the wizard.
- If a tool needs to find something systematic, it will list the problem and you can find them specifically. If the problem occurs intermittently, you may find that the diagnostic tool won’t find anything. In this case, the investigation continues.
Has anything changed recently?
The next thing you should think about is if something specific happened when your WiFi started working.
Have you just updated your drivers? Have you changed routers? If possible, try to undo changes that have occurred recently to see if the problem is gone.
Is this just a Mac?
It is very important to find out if your MacBook Pro is the problem with the disconnected wireless connection, or if the problem is with other devices using the same Wi-Fi network. This includes Windows laptops, smartphones, smart TVs, and anything else that uses an internet connection.
Are they working as expected? If not, it might not be your MacBook Pro’s problem at all. If this happens on different devices, then the common factor is likely to be the router.
Is it on every network?
Likewise, don’t jump to conclusions if Wi-Fi disconnects occur on only one network. If the problem is with your MacBook, the problem will most likely follow you from one Wi-Fi network to another.
If it doesn’t, there might be a router again. Be sure to read our article on how to fix your router if the connection keeps dropping.
Does the problem persist on Ethernet?
If you have an Ethernet adapter for your MacBook Pro, it’s worth turning off Wi-Fi and connecting directly to your router. If the problem is still present even when using an Ethernet connection, then it may be a router configuration issue as this excludes WiFi as a factor.
Is the signal strength low?
Low signal strength is always a prime candidate when looking for suspected Wi-Fi shutdowns. Does the problem occur when you are near a network router or access point and see them? Your router may have a poor connection to your MacBook Pro for many reasons.
If you find that the unstable connection disappears as you get closer to the network access point, you may be able to fix the problem using a Wi-Fi repeater. This increases the strength of your signal, so that the quality Wi-Fi area increases.
You may also want to consider increasing the signal strength in your router settings or adding an external antenna to it if you haven’t already. You can read our complete guide to boosting WiFi signal strength here.
Remove sources of interference
Modern Wi-Fi operates in the 2.4 and 5 GHz frequency bands. Because it is digital and has a sophisticated error correction system, other devices using the same frequency usually do not have a noticeable impact on performance.
However, you can eliminate interference as a problem by disconnecting Bluetooth devices (which also operate at 2.4 GHz) and moving away from devices such as microwave ovens. Band switching on the router can also improve stability.
Is there a channel contest?
All Wi-Fi systems operate at the same frequencies, so why don’t they conflict with each other? The answer is that they use “channels” that break the fundamental frequency into small, narrow channels.
There are 11 and 45 channels at 2.4 and 5 GHz, respectively. Thus, usually your neighbor’s router will automatically use a link on which nothing else happens. However, it may happen that the router channel is manually set, or that for some other reason the competition is too high to find a good channel. Channels 1.6 and 11 are popular choices for the 2.4 GHz band because they do not overlap.
You can use the WiFi analyzer app on your smartphone or computer to find out which local WiFi networks are using which channels, and then configure your router to use relatively flawless.
Does it happen after waking up?
Mac users often face a situation where Wi-Fi does not connect properly after waking up from sleep mode. The good news is that there is a fairly reliable way to fix the problem.
- First go to the Apple menu, System Preferences, and then Network.
- Click Advanced. Here you will see a list of your preferred networks.
- Select them all with Command + A and then hit the minus button to delete them all.
- Now return to the Network window as before. Click the Locations drop-down menu, and then click the plus sign. Name the new location and click Done.
Now all you have to do is reconnect to Wi-Fi, and from now on there should be no more network connectivity issues after waking up from sleep.
Forget the Grid
If you find that you cannot connect to a network even though it worked before, the solution is often to simply forget about that network and then reconnect to it.
If you’ve read the above solution for waking up from sleep, you already know how to do it. The only difference is that you will only select one network, and not the entire list, as we did above.
No more worrying about disconnection
Solving the problem with a broken wireless connection on your MacBook Pro can be frustrating. Moreover, if you are used to the MacBook Pro, otherwise it works flawlessly. With a bit of luck, trial and error, and a little prayer to the Mac gods, we hope you now have full Wi-Fi access again.