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Mac Connected to Wi-Fi Without Internet? Try These 12 Fixes
December 22, 2022

Mac Connected to Wi-Fi Without Internet? Try These 12 Fixes

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Connecting to your Wi-Fi network doesn’t always guarantee a working internet connection. Here’s what you need to do when you run into this issue.

It’s a strange problem, but sometimes your Mac could be connected to Wi-Fi, and you still wouldn’t be able to browse the internet. Various things can cause this, ranging from ISP issues to your Mac’s software.

The bottom line is that connecting to Wi-Fi doesn’t guarantee internet—connecting to the Wi-Fi only means you’ve successfully connected to the local network.

Whatever the cause of this internet connectivity issue, we’ve compiled a list of fixes that should be able to resolve it.

1. Restart Your Devices

Follow the IT guy’s staple advice and restart your Mac. Shut it down and leave it to sit for a few minutes before you turn it back on. If this doesn’t help, then you should also restart your router.

When you boot them back up, reconnect the two devices and see if you can now browse the internet.

2. Forget the Wi-Fi and Reconnect

For your internet connection to be successful, your computer needs certain information from your router. If this information gets conflicted, it might result in no internet connection even though it seems you’re successfully connected.

So, here’s how to forget the Wi-Fi network:

  1. Launch System Settings, select Network from the left pane, and click Wi-Fi.
  2. Find the Wi-Fi name and click Connect.
  3. When you’re connected, click Details, which should open a sub-window.
  4. Look to the bottom for the Forget This Network button in that window.

After your Mac forgets the network, reconnect to it and type in the password.

3. Try a New DNS Server

Domain Name System (DNS) is an important IP directory your browser needs to load internet resources. Sometimes, your internet service provider’s DNS might become problematic, and it’s time to use a free public DNS server like Google’s.

So, let’s learn how to add a new DNS server. Follow these steps:

  1. Launch System Settings and click Network on the left pane.
  2. Click Wi-Fi.
  3. Make sure you’re connected to the problematic Wi-Fi and click Details.
  4. Select DNS from the left pane in the open sub-window.
  5. Click the plus (+) sign under the DNS Servers chart and type in any of the following DNS numbers from the table below.

Ensure to click OK after you’re done adding the new DNS.

4. Renew the DHCP Lease

Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) lease grants your device a temporary IP address so that it can be identified among a group of devices connected to a network. If the DHCP lease has issues, packets of information may not be able to get to your computer.

Follow these steps to renew the DHCP lease:

  1. Connect to the Wi-Fi network.
  2. Launch System Settings, click Network, and select Wi-Fi.
  3. Choose Details on the Wi-Fi you’re connected to and click TCP/IP in the resulting window.
  4. Select Renew DHCP Lease.
  5. When the prompt appears, click the blue Apply button.
  6. Click OK to close the sub-window.

5. Run the Wireless Diagnostics Tool

macOS comes with its own wireless connection repair tool that you can use to troubleshoot this Wi-Fi problem. It can spot problems, fix them, generate reports, and monitor your internet to ensure everything is working.

You can open the Wireless Diagnostics tool by using a Spotlight search. Just hold Command + Space and type Wireless Diagnostics, then hit Return. Once you have it open, follow the onscreen instructions till your issue is resolved.

6. Check if the Date, Time, and Location Are Correct

If your time, date, and location are incorrect, your browser might not be able to connect correctly to the internet. Here’s how to fix it:

  1. Launch System Settings and click on General on the left pane.
  2. In the General settings, select Date & Time.
  3. Make sure the Set time and date automatically and Set time zone automatically using your current location toggles are turned on.

7. Disconnect All USB Accessories

Many troubleshooting guides recommend disconnecting all accessories and unnecessary peripheral devices. And for a good reason. Sometimes, these devices can interfere with your internet connection and cause problems.

So, if you have an unnecessary Ethernet cable or USB modem, take it out, and you might finally get your internet connection to work on your Mac.

8. Reset Your Mac’s Network Preferences

You may have once tampered with your network preferences by mistake or on purpose. These rogue preferences could now be messing with your internet connection. While you can try to trace it by opening many rows of settings, you can save yourself the trouble and simply reset your Mac’s network preferences.

There isn’t a button to reset your network preferences in System Settings. So, follow these steps in Finder instead:

  1. After opening Finder, click on Go from the menu bar.
  2. Select Computer from the menu.
  3. Click the Macintosh HD local hard drive. If you changed your drive’s name, select it accordingly.
  4. Choose the Library folder and find the Preferences folder.
  5. Open the SystemConfiguration file and delete the following:
  • NetworkInterfaces.plist
  • Preferences.plist
  • Settings.plist

9. Rearrange Your Network Priority

Network priority allows you to arrange your known Wi-Fi connections so that your Mac automatically connects to the highest available one on the list. If you have a faulty Wi-Fi connection as your first, it might be the reason for your internet problem.

Unfortunately, you can no longer do this in macOS Ventura. And this just adds to one of the reasons some think macOS Ventura’s System Settings is a downgrade. However, if you still use macOS Monterey or Big Sur, we have a guide on how to set network priority on your iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

10. Clean Up Profiles

Profiles can also disrupt your internet services. You have to find errant ones and remove them from your Mac so that you can access the internet.

Follow the simple instructions below:

  1. Open System Settings > Privacy & Security.
  2. Scroll down till you see the Others section.
  3. Open Profiles, click on the profile installed, and use the minus (-) button on the screen to remove profiles.
  4. Restart your Mac and try again.

11. Create a New Network Location

Sometimes this problem can be caused by an error in your network location. You can easily change this in macOS Monterey in System Preferences > Network.

Here, you’ll find a dropdown menu for Location. Select Edit Locations from the dropdown menu, then use the plus (+) sign to add a new location.

However, this path only works with older macOS versions with the System Preferences panel; macOS Ventura has removed this option from network settings.

12. Stop mDNS Responder With Activity Monitor

A core process called mDNS might be behind your internet problem. It’s supposed to help your system scan for other Apple devices. However, it can misbehave and cause a hitch in your network.

Here’s how to stop it:

  1. Launch Spotlight with the Command + Space bar shortcut.
  2. Search for Activity Monitor and hit Return.
  3. Click the Network tab and toggle Process Name to sort them alphabetically.
  4. Find mDNS responder and click the X button at the top of the window.

Your ISP Might Be Responsible

With these tips, you should be able to connect to the internet again. But if this problem persists, it might be time to check your carrier settings or call your ISP. Your internet subscription may have expired, or your ISP may be facing technical difficulties.

Either way, it’s time to put things in the hands of an expert since it’s more than just your Mac acting up at this point.


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