How to Quickly Fix iPad 3 Wi-Fi Reception Problems

Mar 21, 2012 - 79 Comments

iPad 3 No Reception

If your new iPad 3 has poor wi-fi reception, you’re not alone. After getting a shiny new iPad 3rd gen, I immediately noticed it wasn’t registering any bars of wireless reception, and wi-fi was strangely slow regardless of the network I joined or the distance to the router. It must be defective and I should storm down to the Apple Store and get a refund, right? Wrong. It’s actually really easy to fix, so before you call AppleCare support, give this fix a try, it worked for me.

  • Open Settings and tap on “General”
  • Tap “Network” and tap “Wi-Fi”
  • Tap the blue arrow next to the wireless router you are connected to
  • At the next screen, tap “Forget this Network”
  • Go back to Wi-Fi and rejoin the network you just forgot

Like magic, you should now have full reception bars, as visible in the upper left wifi indicator.

iPad 3 with Full Wi-Fi Reception

If wi-fi is still not working, try this as well:

  • From Settings, tap “General” then “Reset”
  • Tap “Reset Network Settings”
  • Reboot the iPad
  • Connect to a wireless network again

Resetting network preferences loses router passwords, be sure to have those handy beforehand.

Often these issues are software related and fairly easy to handle, as I’ve resolved a number of times with OS X Lion too, so don’t assume some of the complaints you’ll read on Gizmodo and Apple Discussions are all hardware related. That said, if you’ve attempted both of the methods outlined above and your 3rd gen iPad wi-fi is still problematic, you might actually have a genuine problem and it would be worth contacting Apple or AppleCare.

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Posted by: William Pearson in iPad, Tips & Tricks, Troubleshooting

79 Comments

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  1. Mike says:

    Nobody bothers to troubleshoot this on their own, they just go rush to proclaim a new product as defective and demand refunds. Along with the simplicity of the iPad has come a simplicity of mind that never ceases to amaze me, it’s almost like people just want something to complain about.

    • red says:

      most users nowadays assume that everything works…just as advertised. when its not working they dont have a clue to whats going on.

      • Bob says:

        When you pay over $500 for a product, one assumes that it will work! A new user shouldn’t have to have a degree in IT to keep what’s supposed to be a user friendly device working smoothly!
        This is one of the most frustrating thing for average users about computers. Unlike a television or a toaster, when you turn it on – it doesn’t always behave. (Even Macs aren’t perfect!)
        Someday, I hope this will no longer be an issue.

        • Mary says:

          I agree….it should work….I’ve had mine for 10 days….worked fine and now, I’m trying to get the thing to work….and I have a degree in IT. Everyone suggests the same thing….none of this has worked for me. I’m not very impressed!!!

          • Ingrid says:

            I agree. all this hype and it is a pain to get it work on a wireless network. Not a problem with my mac book pro so I really didn’t expect my ipad to be this difficult especially when you can only connect it via wireless capability ….I am so not impressed with this product…..

        • Paul Castelin says:

          Agree 100%, Bob. Apple has always pitched that they have the best “out of the box” functionality, so it needs to be backed up by some statistics…

    • Dan says:

      Really? I don’t expect to buy a product and then troubleshoot it. I’m not your company’s quality control guy. There should be no need for troubleshooting on my part, whether I spend a quarter or a million bucks on a product. The problem here is that many consumers have lived with a lack of quality that continues to spiral downward. The expectation is more and more becoming that we need to fix products we purchase that are not of quality “out of the box”. Sad. Very sad. Don’t accept it. Demand quality in the products spend your money on. Your time is too valuable not to expect it.

    • Joe says:

      Why in the world if I spend $600+ for a new product should I immediately have to spend time troubleshooting it? Why does anyone put up with that?

    • Reiscyt says:

      It’s a basic function and user should not have to worry about that kind of issues. Just like for example using Flash Player – or in iPad case not using it and not being alle to use some major services.

  2. [...] confirms resetting Wi-Fi and network settings seems to be fixing the issue for some and provides instructions. Back in 2010 the first generation iPad had Wi-Fi connectivity issues for some users and apple [...]

  3. Space 2001 says:

    I don’t have a new iPad but my iPad 2 signal was cycling constantly and this fixed it, so that’s cool.

  4. Ian says:

    Gizmodo are Apple trolls, they aren’t looking for a solution they just want to inflame people and get links and attention for problems that don’t exist. It worked, you just gave them a link and got sucked into their little web marketing campaign.

  5. jim says:

    doesnt work. tried both fixes above

  6. mds says:

    Tried both, and didn’t help….tried twice more and still didn’t help. Oh well, glad it helped some of you.

  7. APK says:

    Worked for me! Thanks!!

  8. Ben says:

    Didn’t work with either of the fixes above, ipad 3rd gen. My Wifi doesn’t work on my office network where I connected for a few hours and then it dropped it, forgot it and I haven’t been able to connect since, even after resetting the router. FYI, it works fine on my home network where my wireless router is only a year old.

    • Joelle says:

      I’m having the same problem of it working in some places but not others. Works in three different coffee shops but not at home.

    • Bry says:

      “your office” are you the network admin?
      Your iPad access could have easily been blocked with a click of a mouse.

  9. [...] there is an extremely simple fix that worked for me that might work for some of you.OS X Daily has posted a quick little tutorial on how to fix the Wi-Fi connection issue with the new iPad. I decided to [...]

  10. Jim says:

    Did not work for me either.

  11. arsie says:

    Well I was not fortunate to make it work.. maybe I have to pay Apple center a visit to check it.

  12. [...] are one of them who is facing this issue on your new iPad then don’t worry. You can fix it. osxdaily has found a way using which you can fix Wi-Fi connectivity issues on new iPad. Follow the steps [...]

  13. mds says:

    This has been posted many times over the last few days and it seems to be a temp fix at best. Most that have tried it have not had any better wifi than before they tried it. I’m testing again this afternoon with Apple tech’s and will post what they say afterwards later in the afternoon.

  14. [...] prima cosa, provate a reimpostare la connessione al router WiFi. All’interno delle Preferenze, spostatevi in Generale, Rete e infine WiFi. Da [...]

  15. Jim Jam says:

    It’s not just a matter of forgetting the wi-fi network and reconnecting you fools… It’s wi-fi throughput on the new iPad. A new iPad, connecting side by side with an iPad 2 on the same wi-fi network (unless within 10 feet of the access point) results in speeds that are 50% or less and drops by a factor of ten the farther you get from the access point.

    Resetting your network connections will NOT resolve that problem.

    • Michel Bolduc says:

      Exactly. I have the same problem with my New Ipad.

      Even within 10 feet of the router, my New Ipad as a fraction of the download speed as my wife’s Ipad 2.

      I hope Apple resolves this problem rapidly.

  16. Ryan Lucier says:

    Regarding the article talking about ipad 3 poor reception, I made a video which clearly illustrates the ipad 3 is fundamentally broken if you hold it wrong (i.e., the “death grip”). The video shows the reception dropping to the point where it’s unusable when someone holds it.

    Please see the video here:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rB9nI-Fv2o0&feature=youtu.be

  17. [...] How to Quickly Fix iPad 3 Wi-Fi Reception Problems __________________ WTS: iPhone 4s white transparent back cover [...]

  18. Cheryl says:

    My husband and I both just bought iPad 3′s and both of them are having wifi issues at home as well as at the office. I don’t think it’s just a coincidence. It will be working fine, then suddenly drop. Then it keeps asking for the router password. Tried all the tricks above and it still doesn’t work. I don’t want to blow through my data plan, so this thing is rather useless at the moment. $900 wasted until they implement a fix.

  19. Dan says:

    Agree. I am on my 2nd unit after I exchanged it. It is doing the same. Went to apple care and the tech guys seem to agree there are issues with the new iPad 3. He wasn’t shock when old him the issues.

  20. Richard says:

    I had the same problem with my IPad 3 on a Virginmedia Netgear cable modem/router. Rotten signal strength that kept dropping out. Spoke with Apple support on three occasions and they finally replaced it. Guess what….the replacement IPad 3 is just as bad…what next?

  21. Dom says:

    I’ve had enough of apple and all their problems. It’s one scandal after another with their products. No more will I fall into apples marketing propaganda which is all hype. Don’t believe the paid bloggers on here who defend or deny the many countless problems of apple products.

  22. Hans says:

    I tried all the suggested fixes – without any positive change. Still WiFi works for a couple of minutes then hangs up and needs a full reboot of the browser after at least a minute. And even then function is poor and hangs up again. That is frustrating, as i was a happy and convinced IPad2 user. Professional working is impossible. I never had a problem like this before and think about giving the New Ioad back and step back to an IPad2. Any better suggestions?

  23. arfish says:

    You are correct
    My iPad and iPhone in the same area have dramatically different reception
    iPhone is strong
    iPad is very much less and even switches to E rather than 4G
    Something really wrong with new iPad
    The reset procedure does not fix

    • Hans says:

      In the 4G-version it is ok to switch to 3G, as the 4G-protocol is not supported in many countries, even not that proprietary protocol, which the New iPad is constructed for (different frequency band and protocol beween USA and EU). But that WiFi does not work proper that way is not acceptable at all, as these protocols are normative and known supported in iPad 1 and 2 already perfectly. I hope for a slight change in the IOS to get that problem corrected asap.

  24. Martin says:

    i can confirm the problem with iPad 3.
    My wife iPad 2, my iPad. 3 and my MacBook pro side by side:
    - iPad 2 and MacBook pro are at full wireless level
    - iPad 3 is a level 1 or 2

    My wireless bas statio is the airport extreme (3rd gen : latest firmware)
    I don’t use the airport extrem has a router so it only does wireless.

    I can easily see this issue everyday on the iPad 3. I saw this issue the first day.

    So yes, I see an issue. a reset won’t fix this. This needs to be fix in ios.
    apple delete their own forum regarding this issue…incredible

    iPad 3 32go wifi only

  25. Philip says:

    I have a linksys E3000 and had problems with signal strength with an iPad 3.

    The solution mentioned in http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2362319,00.asp
    worked.
    I defined two SSID’s one for the 2.4 GHz band and one for the 5GHz.
    I connect the iPad 3 to the 2.4 GHz band.

  26. Ollie says:

    Thank you so much!! i’ve been pulling my hair out trying to get this thing connected.. finally done it now thanks to your advice.. if people are saying this information is isn’t effective i simply say just try again because it worked perfectly for me. WHERE THE HELL IS THE HELP FROM APPLE. I suppose this is what happens when the main man isn’t around anymore.

  27. Tulio says:

    Same here. I recently got an Ipad3, till then I had the 1st one. For me the wifi reception of the 1st is 20 times better, even the Ipad2 does not have the good wifi reception of the 1st. Im really piss with apple, this is not posible that a state of the art product has such a low product defect.

    Its not troll or nothing. Right now i just cant use the wifi at work with this Ipad where before I did fine with the 1st.

    P.S. Excuse my english, writing from the Dom.Rep.

  28. Eric says:

    The wifi signal drop issue started when I updated to the latest iOS. I have been following turning off and restarting wifi and it seems to work. I believe it is a software problem.

  29. Vorenus says:

    yeah, didn’t work for me either. I spent 40 minutes on the phone with Apple tech support today. Forgot the connection, re-established the connection, erased and reset the ipad, etc. All of it took care of the problem temporarily and then it came right back. I’m sitting far away from my AP and it should be registering 1 bar, but I get a full 3 bars. Quite truthfully, too far of a distance and too many walls for 3 bars. My Samsung Galaxy S II normally shows 1-2 bars (of 4), but never has a problem with the connection. iPad3 works sometimes and other times not. Good thing this thing was cheap (not).

  30. Grunter says:

    My iPad 3 had very poor wifi reception too. It must be a software issue with the iPad. The only thing I can think of doing is getting a modern router and try that.

  31. Phil says:

    Have been seeing this problem for some time. I turned off Location Services this morning and problem cleared. Have stong connection and no drops.

    • Bruce says:

      Turning off location services instantly fixed my iPhone problem of forgetting wireless network key and passwords. Maybe the use of Wi-Fi hot spots for locations screws it up. Apple, are you reading this? Saw so many complaints going back years with iPhones and iPads as I searched for an answer. So far this looks like it.

      Thanks Phil for posting.

      • PJ says:

        Turning off location services also worked for me! I told a friend of mine that I thought this was the cause of the problem and he didn’t think it should have been causing the wifi connection problems. So I’m glad to see that others had same results as I did.

  32. Han says:

    Did everything, but still no luck. The network recognizes mine, and the little signal bars pop up in the left corner, but the circle thing (in loading) just keeps going and going with no real signal bars.

  33. Pari says:

    I am so disappointed in my iPad 3. I can’ keep it on line. I replaced the router and most cable. Everything else , pc tv my husband iPad , I phone etc and I am stuck with the most expensive non working device. They should recall them. Pretty soon stock price will start reflecting on these prices.

  34. carolyn says:

    thanks for that hint it worked for me, but will wait and see how long it lasts

  35. tony says:

    This also worked for me. Thanks.

  36. Laraine says:

    Because I live in New Zealand I was EXPECTING poor wifi reception on my new iPad 3rd generation. This is the first time I’ve connected anything to wifi and I had no trouble whatsoever. It doesn’t work if I want to wander out into the paddocks, of course. But I’d have to be an idiot to expect that.

  37. Rae says:

    My new iPad (3) is having similar problems. It joins some wifi networks (work, public wifi like starbucks) and not others (some hotels, my house). These are all different routers ranging from Cisco, airport and others. To fix the problem at home I went out and bought a new Airport extreme and now it works. But what is causing this? We have a vacation home and the cable company provides the wifi router and I cant get my iPad to join. However, my family members iPads, iPhones and my macbook all join no problem. I have tried everything, reset network settings, reboot router, reboot my ipad, refresh router….help!

  38. Lynn says:

    Have just followed your advise and reset my network settings as I could not connect to the internet following a rercharge of my ipad and now I have nothing to connect to, no IP address, so Im screwed, any advice now ?

  39. Kerry says:

    Not that you need to have access to the internet necessarilly with an I-phone, but anyone with an I-phone, check your wireless connectivity. You have the same problem. I am also locked out of my home network on my I-phone. Same software problem I’m guessing … same company.

  40. George says:

    Apple sucks big time. I can’t see how they can be so irresponsible! They seem to not even acknowledge the issue. I can’t believe we spent so much money for this piece of crap they sold us!

    • Judi says:

      Apple does suck ! My first Ipad worked fine I broke and replaced it with the same, Ipad 2. This one constantly searches for the internet and drops it all the time.

      I called Apple for help and they said they would help me for a one time fee of 59.99 or a 100.00 for a year of support. So on top of what I just spent they want me to spend more. Along with everyone else having issues. Sounds like a SCAM to me. A waste of money as now I never use it.

  41. Pam says:

    This worked perfect thanks called apple support and they were going to charge me 59.00 you saved me

  42. Paul says:

    Tried turning off location services… Can’t tell if it works but have tried everything short of voodoo. Tired of dropping wireless signal when wife’s IPad 1 NEVER DOES!!!!

  43. Manish says:

    Thanks a ton. Worked like a charm!! Saved me a trip to the store and an unnecessary argument.

  44. wood says:

    i tried this. found nothing that offered a “reset” or “forget this network” option. what am i missing?

  45. Saravana says:

    Hi all,
    I bought ipad3 wifi+4g 64GB just yesterday…
    I always check twice/thrice before buying any product, not sure how come i missed to see these reviews and issues on WIFI connectivity issues… Inspite of tried everything even turning off location services.. still i’m not able to access internet.. wireless network seems connected with full signal bars displayed… but still unable to access network… but now sure why i’m not able to open any other apps that i have installed during this time… please advice.

  46. RET says:

    Ipad3 had Wifi issues for months. Hours of my life have been lost to this issue. So sad. Beyond frustrated. No more Apple.

  47. Subby says:

    Rubbish. Does not work. Explain theory why you proposed this?

  48. Subby says:

    Made in china. Thats why it doesn’t work. No QC at Foxconn.

  49. Andrew says:

    I have tried all this things and it doesnt work. It used to connect now it doesn’t. I don’t even see the wifi sign with iPad on it. It only connects to other wifi connections but not the home’s wifi.

  50. Dane says:

    I have tried so many things to fix the slower-than-slow problem after I got my new netgear router. This is he first to work! Thank you so much!

  51. don says:

    I am on my second ipad Same issues dropping wifi constantly, Every other device (laptop apple tv etc) work perfectly. Called Apple no support. Are they not aware that they have a problem Frustating to say the least

  52. Kara says:

    My generation 1 iPad works just fine because it is not upgradable to ios6.
    Ever since I updated to ios6 on my iPad 2 Ive had the exact same issues. Very very frustrating since it worked perfectly before the software update. And, yes the forget this network and rejoin is a very temp fix at best.

  53. k. says:

    I got my new ipad 3 or so few days ago and wifi doesnt work at all it first took me an hour to get the wifi wrok then it worked for few 2 day and now again not. Wifi on my phone is fine but on ipad it finds it but wont connect. Ugh any help?

  54. Natasha says:

    Doesn’t work , this simple miracle is simply stupid , all it does is erase the network you connected to. Then it won’t show up in your available network until you sit beside your router and enter your password . And you are back to the beginning : poor to nonexistent connection. Had better speed with phone modem back in 1996.

  55. shweps says:

    I’ve been reading through a lot of advice, and I can’t believe this is such a big issue for a brand that is supposed to be so user friendly. I tried resetting the iPad, that didn’t work. Neither did turning off wifi and resetting that after a minute, nor did ‘forgetting’ the network and reconnecting. However, what did work was turning off ‘Location Services’, which is in Settings, under ‘PrivaCy’. After doing that, wifi is back online!!! just watch out as some websites prompt a ‘turn location services on’ pop up, and you may turn them on again without realising it, if you’re not paying attention. Thank you for the advice, and good luck fixing any issues you have.

  56. Richard says:

    shweps, just tried your recommendation and it appears to have worked for me so far. I got sick to the back teeth of constantly rebooting my ipad 3.
    Never again will i buy another apple product. My 3GS, 4 and 4S along with various other ipods are now being rehomed!!!!

  57. Richard II says:

    Works fine for me! Back to 100%. I was going to contact Apple. Didn’t have to :-)
    Thanks!

  58. Shahid says:

    My iPad was having the same problems. There is some issue with the DHCP ip address conflicts. It used to work perfectly one router and then fail on another one. My router is configured to use addresses between 192.168.1.100 through 192.168.1.149, and that I typically only use the first 10 to 15 of these with all the various networked devices in my house.

    Following advice from another forum, I simply set a static ip address on my iPad of 192.168.1.120
    Subnet mask set to 255.255.0.0,
    with the gateway and DNS servers at 192.168.1.1.
    (Your Gateway and DNS may be different or similar.

    I was having constant issues before. Since assigning a static ip , I’ve had no trouble whatsoever.

  59. Shalik Anas says:

    Gr8 man this worked thanx mate

  60. Traveller1976 says:

    I saw this fix on another post and can attest that it works. I suffered from dropped connections and forgotten passwords, on both an Ipad1 and Ipad2, on both a Netgear and a TPlink router. Solution – Always use the Other option to manually enter network name, security type and password.

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