My iPhone Won’t Connect To Wi-Fi. Here’s The Fix!

Your iPhone won’t connect to Wi-Fi and you don’t know why. Maybe your computer connects, maybe your friend’s iPhone connects, or maybe no devices will connect at all. Maybe your iPhone connects to every Wi-Fi network except for one, or maybe it doesn’t connect to any networks at all.

There are a lot of maybes when it comes to diagnosing and solving this problem, but I’ll help you get to the bottom of it. In this article, I’ll explain why your iPhone won’t connect to Wi-Fi and help you fix the problem, whether it’s with your iPhone or your wireless router.

Meanwhile, At The Genius Bar…

iPhone Connected To Wi-FiA customer comes in and says their iPhone won’t connect to Wi-Fi. The technician asks the customer to connect to Wi-Fi inside the store, and most of the time, it works. That’s the first step in diagnosing this issue, and the first question you should ask yourself:

“Will my iPhone connect to any Wi-Fi networks, or is it just one network my iPhone won’t connect to?”

If you don’t have another Wi-Fi network to use to test your iPhone, go to Starbucks, your local library, or your friend’s house and try to connect to their Wi-Fi. If your iPhone connects, it’s not a hardware problem – there’s a problem between your iPhone and your wireless router at home.

Note: If your iPhone doesn’t connect to any wireless networks, skip to the section of this article called Delete All The Wi-Fi Networks Stored On Your iPhone. If that doesn’t work, skip to to the section called Diagnosing Hardware Issues. Check out my other article if Wi-Fi is grayed out in Settings!

The Simplest Fix

If you haven’t already, try powering off your iPhone and Wi-Fi router, and turning them back on.

  1. On your iPhone, press and hold the power button until slide to power off appears. Slide across the screen with your finger and wait for your iPhone to power off. It can take 15 seconds or more for your iPhone to power off. Next, hold the power button until you see the Apple logo appears on the screen.
  2. We’ll use a very technical trick to turn your Wi-Fi router off and back on: Pull the power cord out of the wall and plug it back in.

After your router reboots, try reconnecting your iPhone to Wi-Fi. If it works, there was a problem with your wireless router’s built-in software (sometimes called firmware). Few people understand how Wi-Fi networks actually work. All Wi-Fi routers use essentially the same hardware to create wireless networks, but the software built into Wi-Fi routers varies greatly from model to model. 

Just like on your iPhone and your computer, the software built into your wireless router can crash. The router may still broadcast the Wi-Fi network, but the built-in software doesn’t respond when a device tries to connect. If resetting your wireless router fixes the problem, you may wish to check the manufacturer’s website to see if a software (or firmware) update is available for your router. Software updates can prevent the problem from coming back.

When Your iPhone Connects To All Wi-Fi Networks, Except For One

This scenario makes it very difficult to diagnose the problem, especially in an Apple Store. Usually, the customer can’t reproduce the issue because it only happens at home. The best a technician can do is offer some generic advice, reset some settings, and wish the customer best of luck. I hope this article will be more helpful than that, because unlike a Genius, you can take it home with you.

Before we dive deeper, I find it helpful to restate the problem: Your iPhone won’t connect to Wi-Fi because there is a problem with your iPhone or your wireless router. Problems with iPhones are easier to diagnose, so we’ll start there.

Problems With iPhones And Wi-Fi Networks

iPhones remember all the Wi-Fi networks they’ve ever connected to, along with the password for each network. When we come home from work, our iPhones automatically reconnect to our Wi-Fi at home and enter the password. At least they’re supposed to.

One of the major benefits of the iPhone, and the thing that geeks are always complaining about, is that it’s simple, and therefore limited in terms of a user’s ability to “go under the hood” to diagnose an issue. Unlike your Mac or PC, your iPhone can’t display the list of Wi-Fi networks it’s saved over the years. You can “forget” a Wi-Fi network, but only if you’re already connected to it.

Toggle Wi-Fi Off And Back On

One quick step when your iPhone is not connecting to Wi-Fi is quickly turning Wi-Fi off and back on. Think of it like turning your iPhone off and back on — it gives your iPhone a fresh start and second chance to make a clean connection to Wi-Fi.

Open the Settings app and tap on Wi-Fi. Then, tap the switch next to Wi-Fi at the top of the menu. Wait a few seconds, then toggle W-Fi back on!

toggle wi-fi off and back on iphone

Delete All The Wi-Fi Networks Stored On Your iPhone

Next, try completely resetting your iPhone’s database of Wi-Fi networks. This fixes the issue a lot of the time, and all but eliminates the possibility that a software issue on your iPhone is causing the problem. Go to Settings -> General -> Reset and choose Reset Network Settings.

how to reset iPhone network settings

You’ll have to reconnect to all your Wi-Fi networks and enter their passwords again, so make sure you know the important ones before you begin. Try reconnecting to your wireless router after your iPhone reboots. If it still won’t connect, it’s time to take a look at your wireless router. I’ll show you how to fix it on the next page of this article.

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About Author

I'm a former Apple employee and the founder of Payette Forward, and I'm here to help you with your iPhone.

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Anonymous
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Anonymous

Had exactly the OPPOSITE experience regarding encryption: TKIP worked fine, but AES was a no-go.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Done everything listed and the iPhones nor iPad will connect. It “sees” the router/wifi network but won’t actually connect. Other smartphones connect. It used to work fine then had to change router and it hasn’t been the same since.

Bart Nawojski
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Bart Nawojski

I have an iPad 2 that works on every wifi network but my work one. It is literally driving me nuts. I attempt to connect (to employee network and public guest network), put in User name and password, and get Incorrect username or password even though both are correct. I’ve done everything including system restore and still not able to connect. Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

Charlene Wang
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Charlene Wang

Hey David, I have a question regarding the way my iPhone 6 connects to the internet in my home. Yesterday i was able to skype in my bedroom which is admittedly far from the router, however today the iphone won’t even connect to the wifi at all. It works just fine near the router for example in the same room, but as i walk away from it, it get’s worse. I want to understand what that means.. is it because my iPhone is getting old? or something i might’ve done? i did recently update to iOS 9.3.3 but that was… Read more »

Anabell
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Anabell

Hi David, I have an iphone 6 that will not connect to my home Wifi. I have tried everything and nothing work. Any suggestions? Do I need a new phone or should I take it to an apple store? Great article by the way

Anon
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Anon

Anabell, I used the following technique to make my iphone 11 accept our router (Apple Airport Extreme), after all else failed. Have a person in your home send you their WIFI password; this works on updated phones, apparently. (1) Both people turn on bluetooth and wifi on their phones, unlocked of course. Sit near each other. (2) Receiver clicks on the desired wifi network name in wifi settings; then opens it and taps password to open the password window. Nothing is typed. They just wait for the next step. (3) Sender at this point will, without doing a thing, automatically… Read more »

Sascha Marchinkowski
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Sascha Marchinkowski

Hello David. Thank you for a great article. I have an iPod Touch that will not connect to my home Wifi or Router Extended unless I am sitting right next to the modem/router. Cannot be used in another room or even across the room where the router is. All other laptops and apple devices connect. Walk into an Apple Store and it connects immediately. I’ve tried almost all of your above measures and none have helped. The software has also been reinstalled.

Do you have any help or suggestions?

Petra Bauernfeind
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Petra Bauernfeind

Hello, thanks for the informative and helpful article.

The problem I have is the following: My iPhone 6 connects to the home Wifi, but only Whatsapp works although a bit flaky, but no other Apps, Email, Safari, etc. are working. Only Whatsapp and push notification from a few Apps work.
When I use my iPad it all works fine there.
When I use a different Wifi, e.g. in the office, Starbucks, etc. – my iPhone 6 works perfectly fine.

I tried everything except setting it back to factory settings, which I am trying to avoid.

Any suggestions how to fix that? Thanks a lot!!

Cesar Gil
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Cesar Gil

Your instructions are much better than those of the Apple site, which are so detailed, and which suggest radical measures you wouldn’t want to take so early in the game such as resetting all configurations. Your instructions worked, thank you.

Tracy Wanyama
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Tracy Wanyama

Thanks David, your guide is superb! My problem was solved by following your instructions to reset the network

Molly Seay
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Molly Seay

This article really helped. Thanks!

PR
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PR

David.
i have done EVERYTHING you said and reset my networks but the problem is the same
and it still won’t work sometimes it will connect for minutes then go bad again what should i do?

Virgil
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Virgil

David,

Your website is fantastic. The descriptions are perfectly clear without being overly pedantic. I finally understand the relationships between my modem, my router, and my devices.

Thanks!
Virgil

Natalie March
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Natalie March

Hi! I’ve got an iPhone 4 that’s disabled and I know how to fix it, but whenever I select restore and update it just says that an error has occurred and it cannot connect to the updating services (I don’t remember what it said exactly) so I’m not able to do anything because whenever I try to fix it, it just says the same error every time! My iPhone says it’s not connected to the wifi, but before my iPhone was disabled it was connected. Could this be my problem? How do I fix it? Will it be fixable?
-Natalie March

Robert L Calandra
Guest

Hello sir I am 76 yrs old and just spent 40 mins going over all your article on this page and have followed your recommend things and I must say you are top notch 100 perfect I can see my phone is working better already I would like to no about charging the phone when and how long and what about external battery’s thank you again for your help. Robert l calandra.

Gale Munn-Eastwood
Guest

I purchased an iPad Air 2 about two months ago and when I first got it when ever my iPhone would have an incoming call my iPad would ring also and I could answer with it. I thought that was a nice feature, but it stopped a few days later. I would like to know what I need to do to get my iPad to ring again. Any suggestions?

Gale E.

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