Fix for Wireless Connection Problems on MacBooks, MacBook Pros, and MacBook Airs

Warning: This is a semi-technical posting for Mac-heads with network connection problems. If you aren’t experiencing this particular problem, you probably won’t find this post too interesting. On the other hand, if you have this problem, you may well regard this information as a God-send.

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/imbarney22, Image #704547

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/imbarney22

I thought I was losing my mind. About a week ago, my wireless network connection started flaking out. I would be connected for about two minutes. Then the connection would suddenly drop out. All the while the signal strength would appear to fluctuate wildly.

The most disconcerting thing was that all the other computers in my house were working fine. So, that pretty much ruled out a problem with the modem or the router (an Airport Base Station). Nevertheless, I tried changing a few settings on the router and managed to completely trash the system. Argh!

I finally got it to work for a few minutes and posted a request for help in Apple’s Internet, Networking the MacBook Pro Support Forum. I promptly headed for the gym to chill out.

After an hour’s hard run, I came back to the forum and found that a guy named Brody had posted a reply. He directed me to a FAQ he had put together specifically for MacBook Pro connection problems. Though it’s a little old, I recommend reading it. I had already tried most of his suggestions, but #12 completely healed my system. It has been working ever since.

Here’s what I did:

  1. I clicked on the Apple Menu () on the upper left-hand corner of the screen. I selected System Preferences. I then clicked on the Network icon.
  2. In the dialog box, I clicked on the Advanced tab in the lower right-hand corner. I then clicked on my network entry and drug it to the top, so that it was the first entry in the list. (It may take a couple of tries to “grab” it.) It looked like this:

    System Preferences | Network | Advanced

  3. I then clicked on Apply Now and shut down my computer.
  4. Next I re-started my computer and zapped the PRAM. This sounds more dangerous than it really is. You simply hold down the Command (⌘), Option, P, and R keys simultaneously immediately after re-starting the system. You must do this before the gray screen appears. Don’t let go of the keys until you hear the startup sound for the second time.

That’s all there is to it. Evidently, something got corrupted in my PRAM. Clearing it fixed the problem. Kind of like a reboot.

Don’t worry if you don’t understand what PRAM is. I still don’t. All I know is that my system is fixed, and I am happily surfing away.

Question: Did this fix work for you? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • http://www.facebook.com/joseph.delponte.3 Joseph DelPonte

    Worked for me. My Macbook Air was not finding our home wifi whenever I opened the cover. Fine now.

  • http://twitter.com/ernstdehaan Ernst de Haan

    Yes, it seems to have worked for me as well. MBP 2011-model with OS X 10.8.2. Thanks!

  • Neil

    Hey I also had same issue… I bought MBP 13inch…running OSX 10.8.3… It was kind of weird problem i was facing… I wasnt able to see the wireless ssid from my MBP… I was able to see the same SSID from Windows laptop… iPhone… but MBP somehow it was not able to see… Sometimes it was shown but if i tried connecting it gave could not join network error….. Did lot of stuff to solve this but no luck… I zapped PRAM… changed IPV6 settings, created manual new network but nothing worked…. I did reset all settings on router (Syslink router) too..

    Finally I thought of changing SSID and password information on router and that worked…. now my macbook is able to connect to wireless without any issues…. just changing SSID info on router solved the issue…. hope this helps…..

  • WJaredH

    Even 6 years later this still fixed my internet.

  • shrinkray

    I haven’t needed to reset PRAM in ages, probably since the 90′s? I sort of forgot about it. It’s like a fix-all for what ails you. Thanks for the reminder. And even though this post is from 2007, we still need it in 2013.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Yea, it’s of amazing, isn’t it?

  • Nikola

    Thanks so much. Finally my MacPro has stopped dropping out of the net. Cheers Nikola

  • Aminger

    I have a Macbook Pro Late 2011 with the same issue but it did not fix using PRAM metod.

  • Marci3

    Thanks!!
    No idea why it worked or what was wrong, as it always showed connected to my Airport but it just would not get on the internet. I had been going crazy! I tried your PRAM suggestion and voila, I’m in!
    Thanks again!
    ~Marci

  • erinrgilliam

    I can’t find the drop down show menu like a couple of others have said.
    It’s not there. I’m going crazy over this. ARRRRRRGGGGHHHHHHH. Thanks
    for the post I hope I can eventually figure this out.

  • Leni

    Thank you so much!!! This information is still working fabulously!!!!!!! Found you after trying several other things I googled. This post is old but I said what the heck I’ve tried everything else. And BOOM, it worked :)

  • fml

    it got worse…

  • BECCA

    I had been having trouble for months and was going crazy! Had been trying to learn about it in order to troubleshoot effectively, SOOOO time-consuming. Then I found this page and tried Zap the Pram. Solved everything immediately. That was August 22, 2013. The next time I installed a software update, the problems began to return and so today (Sep. 1, 2013) I zapped the pram again and the problems disappeared. I’ve got a Macbook that’s almost 2 years old (Macbook 7,1) running on Mac OS X 10.6.8. Wifi connection provided by FREE, Paris, France.
    THANK YOU SO MUCH! ! ! ! ! !

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      So glad to know it is still working! Best.

  • Paul D

    Worked on my trusty old Black MacBook 13″. Thank you so kindly for this simple fix! I recommend anyone try it as a first trouble shoot.

  • William

    Thank you thank you thank you.

  • Izan164

    Thank you very much. A life saver

  • Yoon

    Hey! I just got same problem that I had before.
    After this suggestion, my computer works fine!
    ty so much

  • Dana Mennen

    Genius!! It worked like a charm!! Now I look so smart! I’m canceling my appointment at the apple store for later today thanks to your post!! BTW, my very apple savvy college student son came home this weekend and even he couldn’t fix my computer’s internet connection problem. I was stuck hard wiring my computer to an ethernet cord to get email and do work. Thanks to your tip, I’m cutting the cord!! Yeah!!

  • Jennifer Allison

    Thank you, Thank you. Thank you, Thank you! I was freaking out. I have a major presentation to work on and my MAC and it would not connect to the Wi-Fi . It worked! You just saved my day!

  • dawn

    Thanks for writing this… This fix still works!!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Good to know. Thanks!

  • Michael

    Have looked and looked for an answer to the problem, seems have tried half of you suggestion without any results, However, you have shaven my temper and sanity, thanks, it worked!

  • Dmelo

    thank you so much!!! it was very helpful..

  • Neeraj T

    Thank you, this was a great help.

  • Ashleigh Son

    This really worked. Thanks!

  • Ian

    according to this support page: http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1379, “OS X does not store network settings in NVRAM / PRAM. If you are troubleshooting a network issue, resetting it will not help.”

  • oilymouth

    Thanks, Mike!

  • R. Tandon

    For your information PRAM does not store any network settings. It’s resetting has no effect on network settings.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I have heard that before. Yet … some people claim it fixes their problem. (Just scan the comments.) Maybe it is some other variable that is reset.

  • Lorace

    7 years later and zapping the PRAM resolved my issues after trying 10 different fixes from other forums…thank you!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      That is amazon! So glad it helped.

  • Nav

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!!!!!!

  • massala

    Absolutely brilliant – I was going sparred as this mac book pro is only
    two weeks old!! I wandered why I had suddenly lost wifi whilst other
    computers were ok. Thank you so much. :))