Fix “Wi-Fi: No Hardware Installed” Error on Mac OS X

Jul 11, 2016 - 94 Comments

Fix wi-fi no hardware installed error on Mac

Some Mac users may encounter a stranger wi-fi issue where the wireless menu icon has an “X” in it, and the wi-fi dropdown menu says “Wi-Fi: No Hardware Installed”. Since we’re all dependent on wireless networking these days, having no functioning wi-fi connection can be very frustrating, but fortunately this is usually a really simple fix.


Typically if you experience this problem, you’ll see the ‘Wi-Fi: No hardware installed’ message after waking a Mac from sleep, rebooting the Mac, or sometimes after installing a system software update. It can happen on any MacBook, MacBook Pro, Air, iMac, Mac Mini, Mac Pro, and virtually any other hardware, though MacBook users are usually the first to notice it given the propensity for wireless networking usage with Mac laptops.

The 2 Step Solution: NVRAM & SMC Resetting

The trick to resolving the wi-fi hardware not installed error is usually two parts; you’ll reset the SMC and reset the NVRAM as well on whatever Mac that is displaying the problem message in the wireless menu. This two-part troubleshooting method works on every Mac and every version of Mac OS X, so it doesn’t matter which model or OS version you are experiencing trouble with.

Since resetting SMC is slightly different on each Mac, first we’ll cover resetting the NVRAM which is the same on every Mac model.

NVRAM: For all Mac models with Wi-Fi No Hardware Installed Error

  1. Reboot the Mac and immediately hold down Command + Option + P + R keys together
  2. Continue holding all Command+Option+P+R keys until you hear the Mac reboot sound again, then release all keys concurrently

When the Mac boots back up, pulldown the wi-fi menu again. Is it working? Is the wi-fi menu no longer showing the “X” and “No hardware installed” error message? Is it looking for networks? Then you’re good to go.

Wi-Fi looking for networks means it is working again

If you still have problems and still see that error message, you’ll want to continue on with resetting the SMC which we’ll cover next.

SMC: For newer MacBook, MacBook Pro models with internal batteries

If you have any newer model MacBook with a non-removable battery (basically anything post-2010 model year), this is how you reset the SMC:

  1. Shut down the Mac
  2. Connect the MacBook to the MagSafe power cable and an outlet so it is charging
  3. Hold Shift + Control + Option + Power buttons concurrently for about five seconds, then release all keys together
  4. Boot up the Mac as usual

When the Mac boots up you should no longer see the “X” in the wi-fi icon and wi-fi should work as usual on the Mac.

SMC: For older MacBook models with removable batteries

If you can take out the battery on the MacBook yourself, then resetting SMC is a bit different:

  1. Shut down the MacBook and take out the battery
  2. Disconnect the power cable, then hold the Power button for about 5 seconds, then release the button
  3. Connect the battery again and boot up as usual

If the wi-fi works, join wifi as usual and you’re good to go.

SMC: For iMac, Mac Pro, Mac Mini

  1. Shut down the Mac and disconnect it’s power cable
  2. Press and hold down on the Mac power button for about 5 seconds
  3. Release the power button, re-attach the power cable, and boot the Mac as usual

Wi-fi working now? Great!

Still seeing the “Wi-Fi: no hardware installed” error on the Mac?

If you reset the Mac NVRAM and SMC and you still encounter the “Wi-Fi: no hardware installed” message in the dropdown menu in Mac OS X, you may have a physical hardware problem with the computer in question. Usually this means the network card has failed, has become disconnected, doesn’t exist (as in, it was manually removed), it’s a third party external wi-fi NIC model that needs different drivers, or perhaps even the Mac had liquid contact and has suffered some form of damage. In any event, if it can’t be resolved with the methods outlined above and it’s not a software wi-fi issue, you’ll likely want to make a trip to the Apple genius bar or official call center.

Wifi no hardware installed error on Mac OS X

Did this work to get your wi-fi working again? Let us know your experience in the comments.

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

94 Comments

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  1. Tom says:

    I had a similar issue on a i5 2011 Mac mini running El Capitan. SMC and NVRAM resets did not help. I even dismantled the whole thing to see if the Airport card is connected properly. Nothing.

    And then, there was a OSX software update and voila. Came back to life just like that.

    I suspect I messed up my system with using Continuity Activation Tool

    It seems that running any available combo update could also theoretically help, so maybe it’s a good idea to try this insead of waiting for another OSX update or reinstalling the whole system.

  2. Wharf Xanadu says:

    Had this once before. It fixed it.

  3. junebeetle says:

    I’ve had this problem before on my 2010 MacBook. One time, a simple reboot fixed it. The other time the permissions on some kexts had gotten messed up and it couldn’t find the hardware until I did a permissions repair in Disk Utility.

  4. Darren says:

    Had problem with the no hardware for wifi. Airport Extreme card Mac Desktop Pro
    The SMC reset fixed it!!!
    So happy to get advice that actually worked😃

  5. Ken says:

    Tried all of that. Still not working. Strangely, it works in safemode.

  6. Jim says:

    Had the same problem with my 2009 mac pro, the SMC reset fix it. Hope Apple patches this soon.

  7. OB Wan says:

    Great tip – fixed the wi-fi issue in 5 min.
    THANKS!

  8. Rachel says:

    None of that work it actually deleted and WiFi of WiFi diagnostics selections off my macbook

  9. Nikos says:

    Tried the NVRAM and it fixed it..!! Gongrats & many thanks!!!

  10. JOsh says:

    This hasnt helped at all still same problem

  11. Laura says:

    Tried the SMC and NVRAM on my early 2015 Mac book air and still doesn’t work. Oh man, I think I’m dying.

  12. michael says:

    My MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Early 2015) has this problem. I used the shift, contorl, option and power thing and it works fine… but the problem happens on and off, sometime while im working and suddenly it stops and i have to do this processs.

    What is the solution?

    • stephanie says:

      same exact model and problem, and the fix mentioned only helps temporarily. I have stopped relying on my MacBook to actually do work. One work around, if I really need to use it, is that I plug my iPhone into it and use the USB connection to tether the internet to the MacBook (I think that is the right terminology). You have to do it before the wifi actually disappears or it will never recognize the USB connection. Hard to believe my MacBook is almost useless.

  13. Jay says:

    Neither worked for me. I left PC for this nonsense!? Not happy with Apple these days.

  14. alai says:

    lifesaving tips! Fixed it in like 60 secs! Thank you!!!!

  15. Jordan says:

    NVRAM restart worked for me first try! Thanks.

  16. Alexej says:

    Hi guys, none of these things worked for me.

    At the beginning I had the “No hardware” message, then I reinstalled the mac (shifting from Yosemite to Sierra) and the problem persists. So I bought a wifi USB dongle (Sitecom AC450) and it still doesn’t work (apparently it’s not fit for Sierra, but that’s just one comment in one forum). It sometimes works when I just re-start my computer but sometimes it just crushes down again and I fall again in deep depressing despair…

    Anyone any help? Would be life saving!

  17. Kelcro says:

    Wifi no hardware error on my MacBook pro early 2011. Tried all the resets and nothing worked. Finally repaired permissions from disk utility and rebooted and it worked.

  18. Alex says:

    I had the same issue, and I ended up resolving it by:
    1: Installing all the software updates
    2: Safe reboot (Go into system preferences –> start up disk) and Safe (hold shift)
    3: A normal restart, this fixed everything.
    Hope my comment helped!

  19. Raz says:

    Worked with the NVRAM! You guys are the best ♥️ Thought I’d have to go and get a new Mac!

    Thank you!

  20. Rajiv says:

    Worked like a charm . Thank you for the great tip.

  21. Chloe says:

    My MacBook Pro does this all the time and I’ve tried everything off this website to fix it and it normally works but it’s not this time and it’s been like that for 4 days I need my laptop with internet badly but nothing is working! How do I fix it??

  22. Christine Renee says:

    Had the same issue with no wifi hardware found and no solutions worked except the very last one I tried. Unplug the Power cord from the back of the tower, hold power button for 10-15 seconds, reboot and it should be ok! Good luck

  23. nandita says:

    worked like a miracle on the iMac, thank you!

  24. EJ says:

    Great tip, forgot all about that from my powerbook days. It started up when I upgraded my RAM to 8Gb on my 21.5″ iMac 2009.

    So far so good.

  25. Drew says:

    How can u do a software update without internet connection? Do I need an Ethernet cable? It says I can’t connect to App Store.

  26. Nganya says:

    Thank you much sir SMC worked for me my Mac Pro is of late 2008 with removable battery. My hat to you

  27. Nyeron says:

    Shift control option power worked like a charm! Thank you!

  28. Remittance Girl says:

    None of these fixes worked for me, but deleting my NetworkInterfaces.plist file did.

    1) click on the finder
    2) click on ‘Go’ (top menu) -> ‘Go to Folder…’
    3) copy and paste this into the field (minus the quotations) ” /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration ”
    4) find and trash NetworkInterfaces.plist
    5) reboot

  29. Ken says:

    These fixes worked then they didn’t. Permanent fix for me was to get an $8 Edimax USB WiFi adapter. 2.4 GHz only, but better than nothing. Others are available for more.

    Interesting thing is that built-in WiFi continues to come back sporadically. It will work for a few days, then stop.

  30. DA says:

    I’ve been trying them several times but it didn’t work. Anyone pls help me!! It’s been a week and i need internet for my work :(

  31. HB says:

    I’ve had my Mac for about 2 years, and it only just started having this problem. I fixed it before using all the steps at the top of the page, but now it keeps happening over and over. What usually ends up fixing it is shutting it down for the night, and then when I restart it in the morning, it’s usually fixed but whenever I turn my Mac off and restart it o have the same problem or it will just shut my wifi off randomly while I am using my computer. I am wondering if my computer is at the end of its life because people have told me that macs usually last for about 2 years (or maybe more) before they start having problems and you have to get a new one. So that might be the real issue

  32. visual effects queen says:

    I reset the NVram previously, and that’s when this no hardware issue came up.

    I reset the Nvram as suggested, that didn’t work, but after resetting the SMC fixed the issue.

    thank you

  33. visual effects queen says:

    The no hardware issue happened ironically when I reset the nvram before reading this post.

    resetting the SMC did however fix the issue.

    thank you

  34. Abdul says:

    none of the methods worked for me I’m mac book pro late 2013 retina 13″

  35. Kevin Humphreys says:

    None of the methods worked for me either. I have a late 2013 MacBook Pro Retina 13″. The last thing I remember doing was running CleanMyMac 3?

  36. Norbert Karon says:

    I have a 2012 MacBook Pro 15 inch and the control option p r method worked for me. I was ready to go to the Apple Store and have them fix it. thank you so much

  37. V. Diaz says:

    None of these resets worked for me. I even tried all the steps from the comments and still nothing. Called Apple and tried the resets with a rep and nothing. Took it to the Apple Store to find out it’ll cost me $147 to fix, the cost mainly being the labor! I’ve only had my MacBook for a year and a half. The fact that my machine, which wasn’t cheap, for NO good reason has stopped working kills me.

  38. Rex Racer says:

    I have tried every suggestion above and also from all commenters. I have a macbook mid 2010 edition. This computer even went back to the Genius desk for a repair on the display (main board replacement for a flat fee during 2014, i can’t remembr the price) ; after 1 year, the display’s issues became worse (streaks of lines appearing at the bottom of the screen, and edges of the screen collapsing inside, all very weird; it appears like a kaleidoscope). Have 2 iphones 4 and 5S with lots of issues too. Had 2 ipod nanos, also useless now due to batteries being dead.

    Meanwhile at the office i have been using a HP Probook Core i3 for 5+years at 8-10 hours per day….and NEVER had any issue with it!

    You know what!? I have had it with Apple and their overpriced garbage!

  39. Abi says:

    Lifesaver! Worked 2nd on second attempt with steps 1&2. Thank you

  40. Delphine says:

    Hi there,

    I just did the SMC reset and it WORKED ! didn’t think it would … I’m impressed ! thanks so much

  41. Delphine says:

    I just did the SMC reset and it WORKED ! didn’t think it would … I’m impressed ! thanks so much

  42. Julia says:

    These fixes worked for me the first few times, but the problem was recurrent (every time I closed the screen on my Mac) and they stopped working.

    The thing that did work for me and some may find helpful (found on another help board): for users who use a lot of different wifi networks in different places, the list of saved networks becomes very long and the wifi is likely to crash going through them all each time. So I went to System Preferences –> Network –> Advanced and deleted most of the networks I joined once while travelling and will likely never use again. This seemed to work for me.

  43. Alec says:

    I had this problem with a mid 2012 MacBook pro. Apparently the cable connecting the wifi card to the logic board can become loose, so I opened up the back and pressed all of the connections.
    So far it has fixed the problem.

    Ifixit have good tutorials on replacement of the wifi cable. Follow the same steps but instead of replacing just push the cable back into the connection.

    https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/MacBook+Pro+15-Inch+Unibody+Mid+2012+AirPort-Bluetooth+Cable+Replacement/10758

  44. Derek says:

    Thank you soooooooooo much. Thought hardware issue and was without wifi for a year… fixed immediately…..
    Thank you thank you thank you!!!!

  45. Kelly says:

    Thank you so much! This worked for my MacBook Pro

  46. DJ RAINBOW says:

    AM STILL TRYING BUT CANT GET IT FIX. CAN SOMEONE HELP PLEASE

  47. Rick says:

    My mid-2010 Macbook Pro has lost wifi capability. Changed Airport Card, SRC, NVRAM, etc. Nothing. Wifi won’t even come up when trying to add location. Genius bar said because my Mac is from 2010 that it is “too vintage” to work on and won’t even look at it. Extremely frustrating. I can connect via ethernet, but it won’t allow me to do any diagnostics. Every 10th or so NVRAM reset, it will work for 5-30 mins before kicking off again for no reason. Says it’s still connected to Wifi, although obviously not. Then it won’t allow me to turn Wifi back on. Stuck in off mode. Reset and shows either “No hardware installed” or just blank without ability to turn on. Thoughts?

  48. Isabelle Leonard says:

    Does anyone have a permanent fix for this issue? It happens intermittently on my MacBook Retina, early ‘15. Maddening. I’m running High askers 10.13.1 and it just happened today…

  49. Seever says:

    The SMC reset worked for me. Thank you!!!

  50. RJsmum says:

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you 😊❤️😊❤️

  51. JW says:

    I could kiss you! THANK YOU!!! It worked!😃

  52. Briana says:

    You’re my favorite and a lifesaver!!!

  53. Annika says:

    This is for anyone for whom the SMC reset didn’t work: I tried these resets over and over again without any success, when suddenly I realised that the issue was my Bluetooth connection. I went into my networks folder via system preferences and saw that my network was connected to “Bluetooth PAN”, not wifi. Once I deleted this from the list entirely and created a new wifi folder (using the plus sign) it all worked perfectly again. This may be a very rare issue unique to my situation but I thought I’d flag it just in case it’s helpful to any of you. Good luck!

  54. Ak says:

    NVRAM reset worked for me! thanks!

  55. Ninad Jape says:

    Tried using SMC reset, didn’t work out as well. I was still getting ‘No Hardware Installed’ error.
    Then tried NVRAM reset and the error message was gone and Wi-Fi started working as before.

    Thanks for this quick fix.

  56. Nneoma Ugwu says:

    I normally don’t comment on this stuff but thanks this was a life saver it worked !

  57. Aini Abdul Rahim says:

    Thank God u saved my life! My life!

  58. Aminullah Ghaznavi says:

    Thanks man it really worked for me really appreciate it 😊.

  59. Peter says:

    I was having the same issues on my early 2011 Macbook Pro 15″ for a long time.
    As mentioned on several forums I thought it was the wi-fi card that broke and I got a new wi-fi card from the internet, also went for one that had Bluetooth 4.0.

    After installing the card and enabling continuity it worked for a short period of time, until it all started showing the same thing – “no hardware installed”.

    Tried the NVRAM and PR resets without success, until I disabled System Integrity Protection to enable continuity. Enabling SIP again got me into trouble once more. As soon as SIP in Enabled, it gives me the “no hardware installed” error. Not ideal, but since disabling SIP everything has been working again as it should…

    • Ali Asad says:

      Setting csrutil disable and back to enable solved my problem. But i think it’s not the ultimate solution. It might be a battery problem.

  60. Jackie B says:

    First step didn’t work, but second step did..Thank you!

  61. Race says:

    This is unbelievable. No one knows how to reinstall a driver on Mac? A bad Linksys driver destroyed my MacBook Pro networking. No one knows how to re-install the factory driver? Seriously. I’d have this fixed on Windows in two minutes.

    • Romo says:

      There is no “reinstalling drivers” process in Mac OS, that’s not how the Mac works. There are no drivers, this isn’t Windows. Instead, the Mac supports its included hardware (only Apple makes Macs remember) directly in the operating system. For third party hardware components, third party software is used.

      If installing some junky third party software component ‘destroyed’ your networking, then restore from a backup, or reinstall MacOS system software. You can do that without formatting, just reinstall the OS.

  62. Kim Forman says:

    Thank you! I was having this issue on my MacBook Pro and the second solution did the trick. :)

  63. Nika says:

    I have a 2011 Mac book pro, these both didn’t work but I tried repairing permissions in disk utility with a reboot and it worked !

  64. Hemant says:

    Thanks Issue resolved with given solution

  65. Raged says:

    It worked like a charmed, you little beauty. Mine is a 15” mid 2010 MacBook Pro. Still going strong.

  66. Ansh says:

    Dude this is amazing, I love it so much, I tried reinstalling my pc, then also the Time machine back-up, nothing worked and I lost my music also, then I came across this thing.

    NVRAM fixed it real quick and also my laptop is not lagging at all, it is just amazing.

  67. Dhaval Mehta says:

    Love you. This just happened on my MacBook Air and I was freaking out. The SMC after trying a few different times. Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!

  68. Bo says:

    Hi! My problem is that the SMC reboot works, but I still have to do it all the time. Seems like I reboot and then after a while it will disconnect from the WiFi again and say no hardware installed, with the ‘X’ and everything. btw I have a MacBook Pro late-2011, Any ideas?

  69. Nizzy says:

    I’ve been trying to fix this issues since forever, went to service center I didn’t get proper answer, apple products is becoming thrash these days with lots of problem and issues. I’m getting rid of Apple now. Steve Jobs gone so does apple. Feeling frustrated !

  70. Robin Francis says:

    In case anybody is still facing this issue. I FOUND THE FIX!

    The issue is with the firmware most probably.

    I was having the same issue and tried doing everything mentioned in the article to no avail, took it to apple store and they said it’ll cost about 300 EUR, I told them to shove it inside their buttocks!

    Now, coming to the solution.

    https://static.tp-link.com/2018/201804/20180428/TP-Link_Installer_Beta_Mac.zip

    Try installing this driver, it is from a third party vendor but works!
    It totally fixed my system.

    If you are working with more than one OSX version, install it for everyone individually.

    Apple genius, my a**! They are so incompetent at their work, its ridiculous. Saved myself 300 EUR!

  71. aydno1 says:

    I have an iMac late 2013 and a Mac Mini late 2014 and neither one of them are showing the fix to enable WiFi.😣😣😣😣

  72. Polonius007 says:

    The NVRAM reset solved my No WIFI
    problem. I encountered problem this after installing
    the latest OS 10.14 (Mojave). High Sierra was running
    beautifully and I wondered if this OS should still be in
    BETA ? Seeing this article it became clear that this
    can commonly happen after loading a new OS.
    Thanks; I really appreciate the advice.

  73. Johnson says:

    You are a genius. Thank you.

  74. Cynthia says:

    There was no specific mention of MacBook Air so I tried both fixes on my roughly 2013 machine. I am really untechie so I am not sure I did them correctly but neither worked. I just spent three hundred on a microsoldering repair because the machine pulled ambient moisture inside. I have never spilled on this new to me gift. However I spent the last two months in the woods where it rained so often our laundry would not dry. The local repair person asserts that moisture like that can be drawn in to the workings of the laptop. I am going to have to take my computer back to him because i need WiFi – of course. Thanks for sharing ideas

  75. Michel says:

    Great! it worked for me!
    Thanks

  76. Megan says:

    The NVRAM reset worked for me! Praise Jesus! Thank you!

  77. Priscilla B says:

    This worked amazingly well! Thank you! Very simple instructions to follow. ☺️

  78. Gauasn says:

    Thank you ! Worked for me

  79. Tim says:

    For what its worth, my issue ended up being software-related. After doing the nvram and smc resets with no luck, I realized a few files could be regenerated. Followed the directions here to delete /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/ NetworkInterfaces.plist preferences.plist preferences.plist.old com.apple.airport.preferences.plist

    Restarted, and voila!

    http://osxdaily.com/2018/11/19/fix-macos-mojave-wifi-problems/

  80. jonnie oxide says:

    I had been dealing with the wifi working, then going off with the error (no wifi hardware installed); I could sometimes turn the computer off and start it up again and the wifi would be back for an hour or so… then, out again.

    I tried pretty much everything I read on this and similar pages short of changing out the wifi device.

    Then I came across the fix.

    So the wifi device has a few plugs, and ribbon wires are plugged into the the wifi device. The plugs hang down from the wifi device – but they are securely connected, or at least they should be.

    But every time you set your computer down, you create a micro shock or vibration that works against the plug. My computer is a 2011 model, so this has been happening for several years. Well, over time, the plug becomes loose – so that it has a tenuous connection to the wifi device. And this is what makes the wifi sometimes “exist” and other times be “not installed on this device.” In fact, the computer is reporting an accurate error – as there is little difference between unplugged hardware and non-existent software.

    The fix is super simple: just unscrew the bottom of the MacBook and unplug and re-plug the wires into the wifi device. Presto – your wifi will work like new. No problems, no need for new hardware, and no need to reboot SMC or other things.

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