How to Force Open a Public Wi-Fi Login Page (Captive Portal)

Jun 26, 2022 - 13 Comments

Captive portal wi-fi network login page

You may have visited somewhere in the past where in order to access the local internet hotspot, you connect to the router, and then a captive network portal page comes up where you typically agree to have access, or enter a room number, or something similar. But what if you want to join a local wi-fi network but the captive portal page is not showing up?

We’ll walk through some tips so that you can force open a captive portal wi-fi login page again, so that you can sign in and get access to the internet on your computer or device.


These tips apply for basically every device, whether it’s a Mac, iPhone, iPad, or even Windows PC.

Force Open a Captive Portal on Mac, iPhone, iPad

The simplest way to forcibly reopen a captive portal wi-fi login page is to go to the following URL in Safari on your device:

This should immediately find the captive portal and force it to open.

Thanks to our helpful readers who left this great tip in the comments!

If that doesn’t work, try the tips below as well.

1: Turn off and on Wi-Fi

Sometimes simply turning off wi-fi, waiting a few seconds, then turning it back on again is enough to trigger the captive portal page to show up again.

After you turn the wifi off and on on your device or computer, try re-joining the network, then wait a moment for the captive portal page to reappear.

2: Reboot the computer or device

If you turned off wi-fi and back on again, and attempted to rejoin the network to no success, try restarting your computer or device.

You can do this by simply turning your iPhone or iPad off and back on again, or restart your Mac (or Windows PC).

3: Clear DNS Cache

Open the Terminal application and enter the following command, then hit return:

sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder

This will flush the DNS cache on the Mac.

Wait a moment, then try to join the wi-fi network again, and the captive portal page should show up.

4: Mac users: Did the captive portal page open but get lost?

If you’re on a Mac and have a bunch of open windows and apps, the captive portal login page may have opened but become lost in the sea of open windows.

Turning to Mission Control to see all currently open windows on a Mac by swiping up on the trackpad with three or four fingers. This shows every window currently open on the Mac as a thumbnail, where you may be able to find the captive portal login page on the display.

Did the above tips work for you to relaunch the captive portal page on your device? Did you find another solution to get logged into a public wi-fi network, coffee shop wi-fi, or hotel wireless network? Let us know what worked for you in the comments below.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Tips & Tricks, Troubleshooting

13 Comments

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  1. Pierre says:

    Thanks for all this information. But what about Android? I have also the same problem on my phone.

  2. Ryan Dobbes says:

    Why bother? Just snoop the network and spoof a MAC address of an authorized NIC and bobs your uncle free internet at hotels and airports.

  3. tehgreggles says:

    You’re missing the best tip. Bookmark the captive portal detection URL and visit it in a web browser. http://captive.apple.com/hotspot-detect.html

  4. krishna chauhan says:

    Thanks a lot man.
    Now I am able to open my neighbor WiFi without any effort 😅😅

  5. pfurg says:

    I typically just go to http://captive.apple.com/hotspot-detect.html and that does it.

  6. JBirdVegas says:

    Captive portals are usually accomplished by redirects. Best bet is to try to reach a non https site that can be rewritten and redirected.

    For example Firefox detects captive portals by calling:

    http://detectportal.firefox.com/canonical.html

    The GET call just returns 200 success that’s not what’s important. The important part is because it’s http (not encrypted) and therefore the request can be intercepted by the router rewritten with a 300 range redirect header. The header tells the browser to go to this locally hosted captive portal page instead.

    While rebooting is often a great solution for any computer problem… for this one I’d take the easier route

    Reference: https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/captive-portal

  7. bcarney says:

    I’ve had instances where I’ve tried the above and none worked. For me, creating a new wifi location corrected the issue:

    Apple menu
    Location
    Network Preferences (at bottom)
    Location pulldown at top
    Edit locations
    + sign
    Add a new location

    This should clear the networking config and allow the TOS popup to appear.

  8. Aquilla says:

    Or you can open any browser and simply access captive.apple.com (or any site that doesn’t have https). You’re gonna be redirected to the captive portal and simply filling the info will give you access.

  9. Dave Crumbine says:

    Alternatively, what would this solution look like if it was simple?

    Go to the website: neverssl.com

    Problem solved.

  10. Dan Trockman says:

    There is a much more simple method. Simply put captive.apple.com into your browser. Works like a charm on Mac and iOS.

  11. Dan Trockman says:

    There is a much more simple way to invoke the captive page on a Mac or iOS device. Simply put captive.apple.com into your browser.

  12. Daniel says:

    The only time I’ve had trouble its because the portal page is a “pop-up” window and browsers and/or ad-blocking both seem to suppress those by default

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