Fix for a Mac Disconnecting from Wi-Fi After Sleep Wake

Apr 24, 2014 - 21 Comments

Mac Wi-Fi Tool

A fair amount of Mac users have encountered an issue where their Mac will immediately disconnect from wi-fi networks after waking from sleep, forcing users to rejoin a wireless network constantly. This is obviously pretty frustrating, but it’s usually easily remedied with a few adjustments to the Network Preferences in OS X.

If your Mac is disconnecting from wireless networks upon waking from sleep, try the following steps to resolve the issue. Before beginning, you’ll probably want to be sure you have the appropriate wifi router passwords handy so that you can reconnect to the networks quickly.

  1. Go to the  Apple menu and choose System Preferences, then go to the “Network” panel
  2. Selecting Wi-Fi from the left side menu, click on the “Advanced” button in the corner
  3. Click into the “Preferred Networks” box and hit Command+A to Select All, then click the [-] minus button to remove all wi-fi networks – there is no confirmation it just happens instantly
  4. Delete all wi-fi networks from the Mac

  5. Click “OK” to set that change
  6. Back at the Network preference panel, pull down the “Locations” menu and choose “Edit Locations”
  7. Click the [+] plus button to add a new network location, give it some name
  8. Add new Network Location in Mac OS X

  9. Choose “Done”, then back at the Network panel again join the wi-fi network you want to connect to and enter the login details as usual
  10. Choose “Apply” to set the changes and close out of System Preferences

At this point the Mac should have no issue staying connected to the wireless router when woken from sleep, behaving as intended.

For a quick breakdown of what’s going on here: the first step forgets previously connected wi-fi networks in bulk – this means no network will automatically join and you’ll need to re-join them on your own in the future again. The second step of creating a new network location builds new preference settings that won’t have any old conflicting details, a similar action to deleting the Wi-Fi Network preference files (which, by the way, is another common solution to many networking issues in OS X). Assuming all steps are followed, the Mac will stick to the networks as intended and you’ll be reliably back to work again each time the Mac is woken from sleep.

This seems to happen most often on MacBook Air and MacBook Pro computers, since they are commonly put to sleep for travel purposes as they are toted around, whereas desktop and Macs centered around a stationary location tend to be left turned on. Why the wireless networks drop upon wake to begin with is a bit of a mystery, but with a fairly easy solution it shouldn’t be much of a problem if you happen to encounter it again.

If you’re still having issues, the tried and true approach of ditching network preferences and rebooting the Mac will often do the trick as well.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks, Troubleshooting

21 Comments

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  1. Jason Rodrigues says:

    I have found Bluetooth interference to cause Wi-Fi flakiness with OS X, and the 5G networks are particularly vulnerable to this kind of connectivity dropping.

    So if you are on a MacBook you can disable Bluetooth to maintain a connection, obviously not an option on an iMac or Mac Mini without wired keyboard and mouse.

    Some routers appear more prone to this than others, as well.

  2. Chunky McChunk says:

    This is a well documented problem that I think everyone encounters, for me it disconnects and takes like a minute to reconnect, but it does reconnect eventually.

    Big thread about it on Apple Support, seems new to OS X Mavericks? https://discussions.apple.com/thread/5495375?tstart=0

  3. Ignite Mindz says:

    Worked for my mom’s Mac when I dumped previous networks, though I didn’t create a new location. It was taking over a minute to connect.

    Turning off bluetooth never did it for me though.

  4. Ignite Mindz says:

    There is an extremely long thread about this on Apple’s discussion board with plenty of people who are having no luck with any of these methods.

  5. Ignite Mindz says:

    @Chunky McChunk it goes back to at least Mountain Lion.

  6. Bob says:

    This is the fix that really works!

    go into the root Library then into the Preferences folder delete the SystemConfiguration folder and com.apple.Bluetooth.plist file and restart your MacBook and then empty your trash.

  7. Michael says:

    Well – fingers crossed – this appears to have worked.

    Thanks.

  8. JohnParri says:

    Sorry, author. An old wives tale.

  9. Gijs says:

    this fix didn’t work for me
    tried everything already uo to a total erase and install
    apple’s helpdesk can’t fix it

  10. Bob says:

    Sorry I should have added that if this fix does not work you have to make a Genius Bar appointment since it’s most likely a hardware issue.
    Removing those files works if it’s software related which is the case for like 90% of people suffering with this issue but there is a small percentage in which it’s a hardware issue.

  11. Bakari Chavanu says:

    When I click the – button, I a got a “Remove Wi-Fi network Home Network?” confirmation. So wasn’t quite sure if I should Remove All, because it says my mac and other devices using iCloud Keychain will no longer join this Wi-Fi network.

  12. TaskMattster says:

    This seems to have been introduced with the 10.9.2 update. Every Mac user I work with was fine before that update, and since it have had issues with their Macs not connecting to networks after waking. It’s frustrating a LOT of users, and looks like it’s just sloppy code. Even users who have done the fix above or Bob’s fix have had their Macs eventually develop the issue again, usually within a week. Quite frustrating.

    • Web says:

      This is me! I have followed different steps I’ve found in different websites to fix the problems, it always works for a few days then comes back. It’s when I change users or wake from sleep, it disconnects and reconnects automatically. And it makes downloading files impossible without keeping the iMac awake, which I guess is my only option. I have a very slow internet so it takes a long time to download files, I’m used to having the iMac sleep, I wake it up and the download is done. Not any more.

  13. Alvin says:

    It is a minor inconvenience. I usually just turn the WiFi off and then on again via the network icon at the top of the screen. No need to re-enter the password.

  14. OSXD Fan says:

    Worked for me! This fixed an irritating problem I didn’t even know I had. I thought this was just how it worked.

  15. huz1 says:

    i did it? and do NVRAM and PRAM but nothing for change.

  16. Apta Good says:

    I experience this issue about once every couple of weeks on OS 10.8.5 on a Macbook Pro upon waking it up. I sleep it a few times during the day as well as all night. The issue appears only after overnight sleep.

    To get it to connect I turn Wifi off/on a bunch of times as well as alternately connecting to one or the other of my two Wifi routers (Airport and Cisco). Today it took me about 10 minutes before the connection returned. Extremely annoying.

    I was then able to search online for solutions and found this site. Next time I’ll try the suggestion to remove the preferred networks and I’ll report back the results.

  17. Mark Sterry-Blunt says:

    None of these fixes or any fixes work across seven macbook pros. Apple kept changing my macbook and one did not even get out of the store before it went wrong and they gave me a second new one in half an hour. Eventually, they upgraded me to the 16gb but that still forgets the connection after about five or ten minute’s sleep – about a dozen times every day. Not a good advert and Apple’s unwillingness to address this has cost them about £11,000 in replacement computers for me alone and I am told I can still expect this one to work properly but I just can’t be bothered going back.

  18. Air user says:

    This fix solved my wifi disconnect issue. Thank you for posting this solution. The wifi disconnecting after sleep has been driving me crazy. Sigh of relief!

  19. katet says:

    For whatever reason I have ended up with two wifi addresses having the same name. Only one works. How do I delete the other address?

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