Connecting to Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi is a technology that allows you to wirelessly connect to a local-area network. A Wi-Fi connection will allow you to browse the Internet, connect to the App Store and iTunes Store, and use many other features of your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. There are multiple ways one can configure a Wi-Fi network; here are ways to connect to the most common Wi-Fi network configurations.

To connect to a network

  1. Tap Settings > Wi-Fi.
  2. When Wi-Fi is on, your device will automatically search for available Wi-Fi networks:
  3. Tap the name of your desired Wi-Fi network.
  4. When your device is connected to a Wi-Fi network, a checkmark will appear to the left of the network name. The Wi-Fi logo  will also appear in the status bar at the top left of your display:

To connect to a password-protected network

  1. Tap Settings > Wi-Fi.
  2. When Wi-Fi is on, your device will automatically search for available Wi-Fi networks.
  3. Tap the name of your desired Wi-Fi network. A password-protected network will have a lock icon to the right of the network’s name.
  4. You will be prompted to enter the password:
  5. Enter the password for the Wi-Fi network.
  6. Tap Join.
    Note: If tapping Join has no effect, the password you have entered is too short. If you do not know the password to the secured network, please contact your network administrator.
  7. When your device is connected to a Wi-Fi network, a checkmark will appear to the left of the network name. The Wi-Fi logo  will also appear in the status bar at the top left of your display.

To connect to hidden network

  1. Tap Settings > Wi-Fi. By default a hidden network will not appear in your available network list.
  2. Tap Other.
  3. Enter the exact name of the network:
  4. Tap Security to choose the security type:

    Note: Not all hidden networks are secure. Please check with the network administrator if necessary.
  5. Choose the appropriate security type, and then tap “< Back” in the top left.
  6. You will now be able to type the network password in the Password field.
  7. Tap Join.
  8. When your device is connected to a Wi-Fi network, a checkmark will appear to the left of the network name. The Wi-Fi logo  will also appear in the status bar at the top left of the display.

Troubleshooting Wi-Fi networks and connections

Resolution

Occasionally while using your iOS device, you may notice unexpected Wi-Fi behavior:

  • Difficulty locating or connecting to a network
  • Unexpected Wi-Fi signal strength or disconnects
  • Inability to access the Internet
  • Not automatically connecting to Wi-Fi when expected

Follow these steps to troubleshoot the above issues:

  1. Be sure you’re in range of your Wi-Fi router (access point).
  2. Tap Settings > Wi-Fi and turn Wi-Fi off and on. If your Wi-Fi setting is dimmed, follow these steps.
  3. Confirm that your Wi-Fi router and cable or DSL modem are connected to power, turned on, and connected to the Internet. If not, refer to your network administrator or Internet service provider (ISP) for assistance.
  4. Restart your iOS device.
  5. Tap Settings > Wi-Fi and locate the Wi-Fi network to which you’re connected.
  6. Tap  and Forget this Network.
  7. Try to connect to your desired Wi-Fi network.
    Note: You may need to enter your Wi-Fi password again if your network requires one.
  8. Turn your Wi-Fi router off and on2. If your ISP also provides cable or phone service, check with them before attempting this step to avoid interruption of service.
  9. Update your device to the latest version of software.
  10. Update your Wi-Fi router to the latest firmware2. For AirPort Base Stations, install updates using the AirPort Utility.

If the issue is still unresolved

Follow the steps below for the issue you’re experiencing.

Unable to locate a Wi-Fi network

  1. Verify that the network is available by tapping Settings > Wi-Fi and choosing from the available networks.Note: It may take a few seconds for the Wi-Fi network name to appear.
  2. Move closer to your wireless router (access point) and attempt to locate the Wi-Fi network.
  3. If you do not see the network you would like to join, you may be attempting to connect to a hidden network.
  4. Supported Wi-Fi configurations vary by iOS device model.
  5. Reset network settings by tapping Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network SettingsNote: This will reset all network settings including:
    • previously connected Wi-Fi networks and passwords
    • recently used Bluetooth accessories
    • VPN and APN settings

Unable to connect to a Wi-Fi network

  1. Verify that you’re attempting to connect to your desired Wi-Fi network.
  2. Make sure you’re entering your Wi-Fi password correctly. Passwords may be case sensitive and may contain numbers or special characters.
  3. Reset network settings by tapping Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network SettingsNote: This will reset all network settings including:
    • previously connected Wi-Fi networks and passwords
    • recently used Bluetooth accessories
    • VPN and APN settings

Wi-Fi disconnects or signal strength is less than expected

  1. Move closer to the Wi-Fi router (access point).
  2. Check for sources of potential interference.
  3. Remove any case, stand, or other accessories from your iOS device and see if signal strength improves.
  4. Reset network settings by tapping Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network SettingsNote: This will reset all network settings including
    • previously connected Wi-Fi networks and passwords
    • recently used Bluetooth accessories
    • VPN and APN settings

Unable to access the Internet while connected to Wi-Fi

  1. If you’re using a public or commercial network, you may need to log in or subscribe.
  2. Check to see if you have a self-assigned IP address:
    1. Tap Settings > Wi-Fi and locate the Wi-Fi network to which you’re connected and tap .
    2. If your IP address is 169.254.xxx.xxx, you may not be able to access the Internet.
  3. If you do not have a self-assigned IP address, see if other Wi-Fi devices on your network have Internet access.
    • If they do not, consult with your network administrator or ISP for further assistance.
    • If they do, reset network settings on your device by tapping Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network SettingsNote: This will reset all network settings including:
      • previously connected Wi-Fi networks and passwords
      • recently used Bluetooth accessories
      • VPN and APN settings

Unable to automatically connect to Wi-Fi

  • Avoid giving your Wi-Fi network a common name.
    • Some wireless routers are preconfigured with a common SSID (network name) such as “wireless” or “default.”
    • If your desired Wi-Fi network has a common SSID, try changing the SSID to something unique2.
  • If your desired Wi-Fi network has a unique SSID, reset network settings by tapping Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network SettingsNote: This will reset all network settings including:
    • previously connected Wi-Fi networks and passwords
    • recently used Bluetooth accessories
    • VPN and APN settings

Wi-Fi settings grayed out or dim

In rare instances, the setting to turn on Wi-Fi on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch may appear grayed out or dim. You might see the following when you tap Settings > Wi-Fi.

Wi-Fi setting off and dimmed

If this occurs, your device won’t respond when you try to turn Wi-Fi on. If you’re using iOS 7.1, “Wi-Fi Not Available” might appear in Control Center.

Resolution

Follow these steps to resolve the issue:

  1. Restart your iOS device.
  2. Make sure that airplane mode is off by tapping Settings > Airplane Mode.
  3. Reset the network settings by tapping Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings.
    This will reset all network settings, including Bluetooth pairing records, Wi-Fi passwords, VPN, and APN settings.
  4. Make sure that your device is using the latest software. To do so, connect your device to your computer and check for updates in iTunes.

If you still can’t turn Wi-Fi on, please contact Apple for support and service options. If you can turn Wi-Fi on but are experiencing other issues with Wi-Fi.

Recommended settings for Wi-Fi routers and access points

The following Wi-Fi base station (or Wi-Fi router) settings are recommended for all Macs and iOS devices. These settings will help ensure maximum performance, security, and reliability when using Wi-Fi.

Wi-Fi base stations are 802.11a/b/g/n access points that include AirPort Extreme Base Stations, AirPort Express, and AirPort Time Capsule. “Wi-Fi router” is a generic term and includes Wi-Fi base stations and third-party 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi access points.

Before configuring or adjusting specific settings, perform the following steps:

  • Ensure that your Wi–Fi router’s firmware is up to date.
  • Verify that all Wi–Fi devices you intend to use support the settings recommended in this article.
  • If possible, back up your current Wi–Fi router’s settings.
  • If necessary, refer to the product documentation or manufacturer’s website.
  • Forget or remove the Wi-Fi settings for your network from any devices that connect to your Wi-Fi router. (This will prevent the devices from attempting to connect to your network with the old configuration.) You will need to reconnect these devices to your network once you’ve finished applying the new settings.

Configure all Wi–Fi base stations on the same network with the same settings. Not doing so will cause connectivity and reliability issues. On dual-band Wi–Fi base stations, configure both bands to have the same settings unless otherwise noted below.

Use the following settings for maximum performance, security, and reliability.

Set to Any unique name.
Description The SSID, or network name, identifies your Wi-Fi network to users and other Wi-Fi devices. It is case sensitive.
More details Choose a name that is unique to your network and is not shared by other nearby networks or other networks you are likely to encounter. If your router came with a default SSID (network name), it is especially important that you change it to a different, unique name. Some common default SSID names to avoid are “linksys”, “netgear”, “NETGEAR”, “dlink”, “wireless”, “2wire”, and “default”, but there are others. If your SSID is not unique, Wi-Fi devices will have trouble identifying your network. This could cause them to fail to automatically connect to your network, or to connect to other networks sharing the same SSID. In addition, it may prevent Wi-Fi devices from using all base stations in your network (if you have more than one Wi-Fi base station), or prevent them from using all available bands (if you have a dual-band Wi-Fi base station).

 

Set to Disabled
Description Hidden networks don’t broadcast their SSID over Wi-Fi. This option may also be incorrectly referred to as a “closed” network, and the corresponding nonhidden state may be referred to as “broadcast” or “open”.
More details Because hidden networks don’t broadcast their SSID, it is more difficult for devices to find them, which can result in increased connection time and can reduce the reliability of auto-connection. Note that hiding a network doesn’t secure your Wi-Fi network, because the SSID is still available through other mechanisms. Security is enforced by a different setting (see Security below).

 

Set to Disabled
Description Restricts access to a Wi-Fi router to devices with specific MAC (Media Access Control) addresses.
More details When enabled, this feature allows a user to configure a list of MAC addresses for the Wi-Fi router, and restrict access to only devices with addresses that are in the list. Devices with MAC addresses not in the list will fail to associate to the Wi-Fi network. Unfortunately, device MAC addresses can be easily changed, so this cannot be relied upon to prevent unauthorized access to the network. Security should be enforced by a different setting (see Security below).

 

Set to WPA2 Personal (AES)
Description The security setting controls the type of authentication and encryption used by your Wi-Fi router. This setting allows you to control access to your wireless network, as well as to specify the level of privacy you’d like to have for data you send over the air.
More details WPA2 Personal (AES) is currently the strongest form of security offered by Wi-Fi products, and is recommended for all uses. When enabling WPA2, be sure to select a strong password, one that cannot be guessed by third parties.
If you have older Wi-Fi devices on your network that don’t support WPA2 Personal (AES), a good second choice is WPA/WPA2 Mode (often referred to as WPA Mixed Mode). This mode will allow newer devices to use the stronger WPA2 AES encryption, while still allowing older devices to connect with older WPA TKIP-level encryption. If your Wi-Fi router doesn’t support WPA/WPA2 Mode, WPA Personal (TKIP) mode is the next best choice.
Note that the use of WEP is not recommended for compatibility, reliability, performance, and security reasons; WEP is insecure and functionally obsolete. However, if you must support legacy WEP devices and you have a newer (802.11n) Wi-Fi router, you may be able to select the WEP Transitional Security Network (WEP TSN) security mode. This mode will allow legacy WEP clients to join your network with WEP encryption while allowing newer devices to use more modern and secure encryption modes, such as WPA TKIP or WPA2 AES. If WEP TSN mode is not supported, then WEP128 with Shared Authentication should be used (with a single WEP key in key index 1). Forcompatibility reasons, WEP128 networks should use 13-character ASCII passwords.
For reference, “None” or unsecured mode, provides no authentication or encryption. If you use this security mode, anyone will be able to join your Wi-Fi network, use your Internet connection, or access any shared resource on your network. In addition, anyone will be able to read any traffic you send over the network. For these reasons, this security mode is not recommended.
Note: Due to serious security weaknesses, the WEP and WPA TKIP encryption methods are deprecated and strongly discouraged. These modes should  be used only if it is necessary to support legacy Wi-Fi devices that don’t support WPA2 AES and cannot be upgraded to support WPA2 AES. Devices using these deprecated encryption methods will not be able to take full advantage of 802.11n performance and other features. Due to these issues the Wi-Fi Alliance has directed the Wi-Fi industry to phase out WEP and WPA TKIP.

 

Set to 802.11b/g/n
Description This setting controls which versions of the 802.11a/b/g/n standard the network uses for wireless communication on the 2.4 GHz band. Newer standards (802.11n) support faster transfer rates, and older standards provide compatibility with older devices and additional range.
More details Routers that support 802.11n should be configured for 802.11b/g/n for maximum speed and compatibility. Routers that only support 802.11g should be put in 802.11b/g mode, while those that support only 802.11b can be left in 802.11b mode. Different Wi-Fi routers support different radio modes, so the exact setting will vary depending on the Wi-Fi router in use. In general, enable support for all modes. Devices will then automatically select the fastest commonly supported mode to communicate. Note that choosing a subset of the available modes will prevent some devices from connecting (for example, 802.11b/g devices will be unable to connect to a Wi-Fi router in 802.11n-only mode). In addition, choosing a subset of the available modes may cause interference with nearby legacy networks, and may cause nearby legacy devices to interfere with your network.

 

Set to 802.11a/n
Description This setting controls which versions of the 802.11a/b/g/n standard the network uses for wireless communication on the 5 GHz band. Newer standards support faster transfer rates, and older standards provide compatibility with older devices and additional range.
More details Routers that support 802.11n should be configured for 802.11a/n mode for maximum speed and compatibility. Routers that only support 802.11a can be left in 802.11a mode. Different Wi-Fi routers support different radio modes, so the exact setting will vary depending on the Wi-Fi router in use. In general, enable support for all modes. Devices will then automatically select the fastest commonly supported mode to communicate. Note that choosing a subset of the available modes will prevent older devices from connecting (for example, 802.11a devices will be unable to connect to a Wi-Fi router in 802.11n-only mode). In addition, choosing a subset of the available modes may cause interference with nearby legacy networks, and may cause nearby legacy devices to interfere with your network.

 

Set to Auto
Description This setting controls which channel your Wi-Fi router will use to communicate. “Auto” allows the Wi-Fi router to select the best channel automatically. You can also manually select a channel.
More details For best performance, choose “Auto” mode and let the Wi-Fi router select the best channel. If this mode is not supported by your Wi-Fi router, you will need to manually select a channel. You should pick a channel that is free from other Wi-Fi routers and other sources of interference.

 

Set to 20 MHz
Description Channel width controls how large a “pipe” is available to transfer data. However, larger channels are more subject to interference and more prone to interfere with other devices. A 40 MHz channel is sometimes referred to as a wide channel, with 20 MHz channels referred to as narrow channels.
More details Use 20 MHz channels in the 2.4 GHz band. Using 40 MHz channels in the 2.4 GHz band can cause performance and reliability issues with your network, especially in the presence of other Wi-Fi networks and other 2.4 GHz devices. 40 MHz channels may also cause interference and issues with other devices that use this band, such as Bluetooth devices, cordless phones, neighboring Wi-Fi networks, and so on. Note that not all routers support 40 MHz channels, especially in the 2.4 GHz band. If they are not supported, the router will use 20 MHz channels.

 

Set to Both 20 MHz and 40 MHz
Description Channel width controls how large a “pipe” is available to transfer data. However, larger channels are more subject to interference, and more prone to interfere with other devices. Interference is less of an issue in the 5 GHz band. A 40 MHz channel is sometimes referred to as a wide channel, with 20 MHz channels referred to as narrow channels.
More details For best performance and reliability, enable support for both channel widths. This allows devices to use whichever width they support, which results in optimal performance and compatibility. Note that not all client devices support 40 MHz channels, so do not enable 40 MHz-only mode; devices that support only 20 MHz channels will not be able to connect to a Wi-Fi router in 40 MHz-only mode. In addition, not all routers support 40 MHz channels; a router that doesn’t will use 20 MHz channels.

 

Set to Only one DHCP server per network
Description The Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) assigns addresses that identify devices on your network. Once assigned, devices use these addresses to communicate with each other and with computers on the Internet. (The functionality of a DHCP server can be thought of as similar to a phone company handing out phone numbers, which customers then use to call other people).
More details There should be only one DHCP server on your network. This DHCP server may be built in to your DSL or cable modem, a standalone router, or integrated with your Wi-Fi router. In any case, only one device should act as a DHCP server on your network. If more than one device has it enabled, you will likely see address conflicts and will have issues accessing the Internet or other resources on your network.

 

Set to Only enabled on your router; only one device at most should provide NAT services on the network.
Description Network address translation (NAT) translates between addresses on the Internet and those on a local network. (The functionality of a NAT provider is like that of a worker in an office mail room who takes a business address and an employee name on incoming letters and replaces them with the destination office number in a building. This allows people outside the business to send information to a specific person in the building).
More details Generally, NAT should only be enabled on the device acting as a router for your network. This is usually either your DSL or cable modem, or a standalone router (which may also act as your Wi-Fi router). If NAT is enabled on more than one device—”double NAT”—you will likely have trouble accessing certain Internet services, such as games, Voice Over IP (VoIP), and Virtual Private Network (VPN), and communicating across the different levels of NAT on the local network.

 

Notes

  1. iOS devices sold in China may use the term Wireless LAN (WLAN) instead of Wi-Fi. Not all China iPhone models support WLAN.
  2. If needed, please consult with your network administrator (which may be your Internet Service Provider) for assistance with this step.
  3. iPhone 5, iPad devices, and iPod touch (5th generation) are the only iOS devices that can connect to 5 GHz networks.