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

Problems With Your Wireless Router

A common reason why iPhones won’t connect to a Wi-Fi network is a problem with your iPhone’s relationship to your wireless router. You’ll understand how to fix the problem after you know a little bit more about how Wi-Fi works on your iPhone.

How Wi-Fi Networks Work, And Why It Applies To You

There are two things involved when your iPhone connects to Wi-Fi: Your iPhone and your wireless router. Your wireless router broadcasts a signal with the name of your wireless network for all to see. When you connect to Wi-Fi, a relationship is formed between your wireless router and your iPhone. 

Your wireless router (or Wi-Fi router) is like the post office. It’s the middleman between your iPhone and the internet, just like the post office is the middleman between the flow of mail between your home and the outside world. When you send a letter, the post office delivers it to the right address. When you receive a letter, the post office can only deliver it if it knows your address. That’s exactly what happens with your iPhone.

When your iPhone and other devices connect to Wi-Fi, your wireless router assigns each one a separate address. Everything on the internet has its own unique address. When you came to payetteforward.com, your wireless router (or internet connection) translates payetteforward.com into 104.24.106.250, the internet address of this website. Your computer has an address, too. You can find out what it is by typing What Is My IP? into Google.

How Does This Relate To My iPhone Not Connecting To Wi-Fi?

A lot of the time, your iPhone won’t connect to Wi-Fi because your wireless router won’t assign your iPhone an address the way it should. This can happen for different reasons, but it’s only necessary to understand that your wireless router is refusing to allow your iPhone to connect because it’s confused about its address.

Resetting your wireless router to its factory default settings resets its “address book”, and it’s the easiest, most effective way to fix the problem for good. Don’t waste your time trying to diagnose obscure wireless connectivity issues. Just reset it to factory defaults and set it up again. It only takes a few minutes to set up a wireless router, but troubleshooting wireless connectivity issues can take hours.

How Do I Reset My Wireless Router To Factory Defaults?

If there were one way to do this, I’d tell you how. There are a billion different wireless routers out there, so I’ll do the next best thing and show you the easiest way to find out how to reset your router.

Reset Wi-Fi RouterMost routers have a tiny reset button in a hole on the back or the bottom of your router. The easiest way to reset it to factory defaults is to leave your router plugged in and use a pen to press down the reset button inside the hole for about 15 seconds. The picture is an example of what this hole looks like on a Linksys router. Your router will act just it did when you took it out of the box for the very first time.

This is the way I’d reset my router, but if you don’t know how to set your wireless router from scratch, make sure you have the instructions handy. Here’s the best way to find them if you threw away the box.

  1. Find your wireless router’s model number and write it down. It’s usually on the bottom or the side of your wireless router.
  2. Visit the manufacturer’s support website and search for your model number. You’ll find the setup instructions or downloadable user guide on the manufacturer’s support website. Here are links to a few of the big ones:

When You Set Up Your Wireless Network Again

When you set up your wireless router, it’s OK (but not necessary) to use the same name for your wireless network and same password as before. Try reconnecting to the network with your iPhone. If it connects, we’ve determined the problem was with your wireless router.

A Less Common Reason Why Your iPhone Won’t Connect To Wi-Fi

If you’re still having problems, look at your wireless security settings. Make sure the wireless security type is set to WPA2 Personal using AES encryption, not TKIP or TKIP / AES. It’s not official, but Apple devices seem to have difficulty with TKIP security. Fortunately, it’s not necessary to understand why. Look for wireless security settings in your wireless router’s manual to find out how to change this setting.

Diagnosing Hardware Problems

iPhone

If you’ve Reset Network Settings on your iPhone and it won’t connect to any Wi-Fi networks at all, try to DFU restore your iPhone and restore it from a backup. If that doesn’t work, there’s a good chance you’ll need to repair your iPhone.

Apple Stores don’t do repairs to Wi-Fi antennas. The best they can do is replace your whole iPhone, and that can be expensive if you don’t have AppleCare+ and your iPhone is out of warranty or damaged. A less-expensive option I recommend is Puls, a repair company that will send a certified technician to you.

Wireless Router

If you’ve reset your wireless router to factory default settings and no devices will connect to it, there may be a hardware problem with your Wi-Fi router. Visit the manufacturer’s website to learn the troubleshooting steps before you decide to go out and buy a new one.

If You Have To Buy A New Router

Apple’s Airport routers are easy to set up and have great software built in. I’m not being an Apple fanboy with this one — they really are better than the others I’ve seen. They’re a bit more expensive than the other routers you’ll find on Amazon, but may be worth paying more to avoid any more headaches.

Wrapping It Up

By this point, your iPhone is connected to Wi-Fi or you’re well on your way to a fix. I’d like to hear about your experiences solving the problem in the comments section below. If you do, let us know exactly why your iPhone wouldn’t connect to Wi-Fi and the model number of your wireless router. Your experience can help other readers with the same problem.

Thanks so much for reading and all the best,
David P.

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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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