Fix for Mac OS X Not Remembering Wireless Networks
Sometimes, Mac OS may not remember wireless networks that have been joined or connected to before. This may be due to an error, or it may be because of a settings option. In this article we’ll discuss what to do if you find that a Mac is not remembering wi-fi networks as expected, including the settings to look for, as well as a troubleshooting technique that may resolve these issues.
The first thing to do is check that Mac OS X has the setting enabled that allows the Mac to remember wi-fi networks. If you’re joining a network, you’ll see the option to “Remember this network” and make sure that is checked.
How to Make a Mac Remember All Joined Wi-Fi Networks
There’s also a broader system setting that may be enabled manually, or disabled, and if it’s turned off that would be why the Mac is not remembering networks:
- Open System Preferences from the Apple menu
- Go to “Network”, then choose “Wi-Fi” from the menu
- Choose “Advanced” button in the corner
- Within the “Wi-Fi” tab, check the setting for “Remember networks this computer has joined”
- Choose to Apply the settings, then close System Preferences
That may resolve the issues for many Mac users, and the networks may be remembered as expected.
But that’s not always the case. I have previously encountered a strange issue where Mac OS X Lion stopped remembering a specific wireless network, forcing me to manually select the connection and then enter the password each time I wish to connect to that wireless router. This appears to be a common enough issue with wireless connectivity in some versions of Mac OS X and it usually occurs when waking from sleep or rebooting a Mac, which is followed up the connection failure. I came across the answer in the comments on a past Lion wi-fi issue article here on OSXDaily, and it resolved further troubles for me.
Fixing Mac Not Remembering Wireless Networks with Permissions Repair
- Open the “Disk Utility” application, found within Applications > Utilities
- Select “Macintosh HD” from the lefthand side menu, then click on the “First Aid” tab on the right
- Click on “Repair Disk Permissions” and let this run, this may take 15 minutes or longer
- Reboot the Mac
- Join the wireless network as usual, checking the “Remember this network” box
You should now be able to sleep and reboot the Mac without connection failures or forgetting the wireless network.
This is one of those rare instances where repairing Disk Permissions, an oft referenced generic Mac placebo for many troubleshooting issues, actually does something and resolves the problem. Try it yourself and let us know if it worked for you.
If you continue to have wireless difficulties, check out a lengthy list of tips for fixing wireless problems in Mac OS X Lion.
Updating System Software for Any WiFi Patches & Bug Fixes
It’s also a good idea to go about updating Mac OS X to the latest version available, which sometimes includes bug fixes to address networking problems or Wi-Fi stability issues. That alone may resolve these sort of problems for you, but continuing with the other solutions beyond that is OK too.
Be sure to backup the Mac before updating system software.
Did this resolve issues with your Mac not remembering wi-fi networks? Share your experiences in the comments, and any solutions you have found too.