iPhone or iPad Says “Incorrect Password” Fails to Join Wi-Fi? Here’s the Fix

Jul 19, 2018 - 13 Comments

How to fix an Incorrect Password for wi-fi network error on iPhone and iPad

Some iPhone or iPad users may occasionally encounter a strange issue where they are attempting to join a familiar wi-fi network, but iOS throws up an “Incorrect password” error message, and the iPhone or iPad refuses to join the wireless network. Often users will see the “Incorrect password” wi-fi error despite they being certain the wi-fi password is correct. Given how dependent these devices are to an internet connection, it’s understandably annoying when an iOS device doesn’t join a wi-fi network or gives you a repeated “incorrect password” message.

This walkthrough will aim to troubleshoot and fix the annoying “Incorrect password for network” error messages on an iPhone or iPad when trying to join a wi-fi network.

Wait! 4 Common Reasons Why You Will See the “Incorrect Password” Error

Before proceeding any further, be sure you cover the following bases:

  • Make sure you know the correct password of the wi-fi network
  • Make sure you are joining the correct wi-fi network, sometimes they have similar names as nearby wi-fi access points
  • Make sure you are entering the wi-fi password correctly, they are case sensitive and the wi-fi password must be an exact match
  • Make sure you do not have CAPS LOCK or an alternative language keyboard enabled when entering the password

You might think those recommendations are goofy, but many people incorrectly type a wi-fi password, or have the CAPS LOCK enabled when entering one, or perhaps they hear a word or phrase incorrectly and are typing the wi-fi password wrong. For example, if a wi-fi password is “Burrito123” then it must be entered exactly as that with the proper capitalization, otherwise you will see the ‘incorrect password’ error. It’s also not uncommon for people to be trying to join the wrong wi-fi network, so entering a correct wi-fi password but on the wrong access point is not going to work.

Assuming you have the proper wi-fi password and the proper network, and you are still seeing the incorrect password message, proceed to trouble shoot the issue in iOS.

Fix “Incorrect Password” Wi-Fi Errors on iPhone & iPad

We’ll cover a variety of troubleshooting tips and tricks to resolve the “Incorrect Password” error message when attempting to join a wireless network in iOS.

1: Reboot the iPhone or iPad

Sometimes simply restarting the iPhone or iPad can resolve strange network connection issues, including an inability to connect to a wi-fi network.

Restarting an iPhone or iPad is easy, you basically just turn the iPhone or iPad off, then back on again.

  1. Hold down the Power button on the device until you see the ‘Slide to Power Off’ screen
  2. Slide to power off the iPhone or iPad
  3. When the screen has turned completely black, hold down the Power button again until you see the  Apple logo show up on screen, signifying that it is booting back up again

When the iPhone or iPad has started up again, go ahead and try to rejoin the wi-fi network again.

2: Forget the Wi-Fi Network, then Re-Join

Forgetting a wi-fi network and then rejoining that wi-fi network can often remedy incorrect password issues:

  1. Open the “Settings” app and go to ‘Wi-Fi’
  2. Tap the (i) info button next to the network name of the wi-fi router you want to join
  3. Tap on “Forget This Network”
  4. Confirm that you want to forget the network by tapping “Forget”
  5. Wait a moment or two, then re-join the same wi-fi network again and enter the correct password

3: Reset iOS Network Settings on the iPhone or iPad

Resetting the iOS Network Settings clears all wi-fi and network preferences and settings from the device. The downside to this approach is that you will lose any remembered wi-fi passwords, custom settings and configurations, and other remembered network data.

  1. Open the “Settings” app on the iOS device and go to “General” and then to “Reset”
  2. Tap on “Reset Network Settings” – it is critical you choose “Reset Network Settings” only as the other options may erase your entire device!
  3. Confirm that you want to Reset Network Settings
  4. When finished, re-join the wi-fi network with the correct password

Resetting network settings can often fix many annoying connectivity issues in iOS, often including the “incorrect password for network” error, an ambiguous “unable to join network” error, amongst others.

After you reset network settings, you may need to reconfigure various iOS networking components again. For example if you use custom DNS on the iPhone or iPad, manual DHCP configuration, use a VPN, a proxy, or if you had many networks remembered along with their passwords, all of that data would need to be entered manually again after a device network reset.

4: Restart the Wi-Fi Router or Modem

Unplugging a wi-fi router or modem, waiting about 15 seconds, then plugging the router back in again, will restart the router or modem.

Restarting a router or modem is not always possible however, particularly in many workforce or public environments. So while this approach may be fine in a home or small office, it’s not practical at an airport, office, or public space.

5: Have Someone Else Share the Wi-Fi Password With You

A great new feature available on iPhone or iPad running newer versions of iOS is the ability for anyone to share a wi-fi password with another iPhone or iPad that is nearby.

If you or someone else is in a situation where an iPhone or iPad user is repeatedly getting the “Incorrect password” error message when trying to join a network, and you and the other device is on a new iOS release (iOS 11 or later) then you can use the Share Wi-Fi Password feature in iOS to share the password with that person and allow them to join the network without having to type the password manually themselves. This is particularly effective if someone is prone to typos or CAPS LOCK, using an alternative keyboard, and other similar situations where some user error can be involved in the failure.

Additional “Incorrect Password for Network” Wi-Fi Troubleshooting Options

  • Join another wi-fi network to confirm that wi-fi is indeed working on the iPhone or iPad
  • If the iPhone or iPad will not join any wi-fi network, there may be a hardware issue – this is rare and fairly unlikely, but it’s vaguely possible (particularly if the device sustained substantial water contact or some other damage). In such a case, contact Apple Support or an authorized Apple technician or repair center to diagnose for hardware problems
  • Rarely, backing up, resetting, and then restoring an iOS device from backup may resolve the problem – this should be considered a last resort

Remember, if the wi-fi network is hidden you will need to manually enter the wi-fi SSID to join a hidden wi-fi network in iOS

Did the tips above fix your “incorrect password” for wi-fi network errors on an iPhone or iPad? Are you able to join the wi-fi network as expected? Do you know of another effective solution for this particular problem? Share with us your experiences in the comments below!

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks, Troubleshooting

13 Comments

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  1. Louie says:

    Yeah I’ve had that issue a few times, but it’s usually fixed by simply rebooting. I did try option 2 (forgettin the wifi) before rebooting at least one of those times, but it still wouldn’t take the password and connect to the wifi until after the device was rebooted.

  2. rick morris says:

    Every day I have to reset my router. Nothing else works. Damn you apple!

  3. G says:

    after doing all the above things to reset. I had an issue where someone would share the wifi password using option number 5. even then my iPhone actually said wrong password even though it was shared through iOS. (i want so far as to try with another iOS devices and 2 macs …no dice). It seems to be resolved 2 updates ago for iOS.

  4. Norm Goody says:

    I find this happens with my home network about 2x/month. I have tried manual entry and that usually worked. When it didn’t, I restarted phone and that usually worked. Howeever, now, I found I could just turn off wifi on phone and then immediately turn WiFi back on and it usually connects. No need to even turn off phone.

  5. Paul Ross says:

    Been having this problem ever since upgraded to iOS 11

    Reported it to Apple support, been at it for 6 month then decided to just live with it.

    Hasn’t resolved yet, with each update it improves slightly, but still does not the seem reliability as in iOS 10. It seems to me a software problem, happens with all iOS devices (iPhones & iPads) own several in this household. Services drops, really bad at night, different routers. On 2 separate internet connections.

    So please Apple improve quality.

  6. Mia Evangelista says:

    I’ve tried almost everything, I want to avoid getting phone checked and resetting it completely, but nothing works. This has happened to me for 3 times now! Only in just a month—I don’t know what else to do. Someone help me.

  7. John says:

    Have this problem regularly, never been able to pinpoint the problem. Seems not confined to just iPhones. Happens with strong WiFi signals. However, a strong signal is one, you also need a good quality signal. Somehow I’m getting the idea that interference from external sources are involved. But, as I have the issue on 5GHz Wifi, the changes of disturbance there are less. Any “RF” expert can pitch in?

  8. Amie Lamm-Griffin says:

    I’ve tried it all now and I still can’t connect via my iPad. My iPhone works just fine. I get the incorrect password even when I share from my phone. I’ve reset my router, reset the network from iPad, shut down and restarted. All are updated.

  9. Shama Lam says:

    Tim Crook is ruining Apple. He needs to be f***ing fired. It used to be there were a few bad parts of the Apple experience one of them being iTunes, now EVERY-F’n-THING that is Apple is garbage. Tim Crook, Jonathen Con-ivy-ng, Eddie Cue-for-nothing are ALL responsible for the tarnishing of what used to be a once professional company.

  10. Heather Smith says:

    I’ve tried everything above that’s possible to try and nothing works. It’s on a new iPhone 6s, and the same thing is happening to my old iPhone 5 that I just restored. Can’t access Settings because the phones won’t get past the password prompt, and I KNOW it is the correct password. I’m sending back this piece of garbage and never buying another iPhone again. Done.

  11. faruko says:

    Found the solution !

    I tried everything that were recommended but nothing worked. Problem was persistent not only for my iphone but also samsung device.

    I called the router company and told them about incorrect password problem.

    Adviser told me to use long Network key (mine is 20 digits) instead of router password.

    I used Network Key and magicccc ! It works for me.

    I hope it helps you all.

    Faruko

  12. Mark says:

    I’ve followed all of the steps, including a full factory reset. I can connect to every network except my work network. We’ve done a router reset, we don’t have a long network key. I’ve attempted to share the wifi password from my mac that is connected to the wifi with my phone, and nothing has worked.

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