How to reset network settings on Mac

How to Reset Network Settings On Mac

Macs are one of the most reliable personal computing devices. However, with features like Private Relay in macOS Monterey and later and increased reliability on VPNs, you may mess up the network settings on your Mac. And as a result, your Mac might not connect to the internet, or you may face slow internet speeds.

If you happen to be in the same boat, here’s how you can reset the network settings in macOS. But first, let’s understand why you may want to!

Why reset network settings on your Mac?

Sometimes, it’s not your ISP’s fault. The Wi-Fi is working, the internet is up and running, there’s no power failure, YouTube’s working on your iPhone, the hell — internet’s working even on your Apple Watch, but why isn’t it working on your Mac? If you’re saying this to yourself, you’re in the right place.

It may happen that whenever you tweak your internet settings — as simple as connecting to a VPN per se — the Wi-Fi settings might get messed up on your Mac. Internet settings are quite ‘sensitive,’ and enabling/disabling even a toggle might result in no internet connectivity on your Mac.

Why reset network settings of your Mac

Unlike iPhone and iPad, which have a one-click solution for resetting network settings, factory resetting network settings on a Mac is tedious. Nonetheless, here’s how you can reset network settings on your Mac quickly.

NoteYou should only reset internet settings on Mac when other basic troubleshooting methods, such as disabling/enabling Wi-Fi, restarting Mac, or changing DNS, don’t work.

How to reset Mac’s internet settings: The easiest method

The first and the easiest way to reset network settings, either Wi-Fi or Ethernet, is through System Preferences. In this method, we’ll basically reset the network chip, making it work as if your Mac just came from the factory.

Before you follow this method, please note that this will erase your Mac’s Wi-Fi information. So, ensure to keep the Wi-Fi password handy if you don’t happen to have another Apple device, in which case it will automatically sync via iCloud and reconnect.

  1. Open System Preferences on your Mac.
  2. Go to Network.
  3. In the left bar, select Wi-Fi.
  4. Now, click the minus (-) icon below the list of connections.
  5. Hit Apply.
  6. At this moment, your Mac’s Wi-Fi should be disconnected and shown as disabled.
  7. To re-add, hit the plus (+) icon.

    select Wi-Fi from Mac's Settings
  8. Select Wi-Fi and hit Create.

    Select Wi-Fi and hit Create on Mac
  9. Click Apply.
  10. Now, select the Wi-Fi name and enter the password.

Delete network configuration files to reset macOS settings: The complicated method

If the above method doesn’t fix things, this method will surely help, but it is a bit complicated. It resets your internet settings, and the chances of your internet not working after following this method are second to none.

Here’s how to reset network settings on Mac by deleting configuration files.

  1. First, turn off your Mac’s Wi-Fi.
  2. Next, select the Finder icon from the Dock and click Go → Go to Folder… in the menu bar.

    Select Go to Finder on Mac
  3. Enter the following code into the text field and select Go.
  4. Select the following files in the Finder window.
    • or
    • NetworkInterfaces.plist
    • preferences.plist

      Delete network configuration files on Mac
  5. Copy all the files, and save them to some safe folder—in case things go south.
    Once you’ve made a backup of these five files, continue with the steps.
  6. Now, select the above-mentioned five files and hit Command (⌘) + delete to move them to Trash.
    If prompted, enter your Mac’s password.
  7. Now, go to Trash and permanently delete them.
  8. Once permanently deleted, restart your Mac!
    The deleted network configuration files should be recreated automatically by macOS, and all your network settings should now be reset.

Note: If everything is working fine, go ahead and delete the backup files.

How to reset network settings on Mac using Terminal: The unusual method

Alternatively, you can also reset the network settings on your Mac using the Terminal. Here’s how

  1. Open Terminal on Mac and enter the following code:
    sudo ifconfig en0 down

    Delete network configuration files to reset macOS settings
    Now, your Wi-Fi should turn off.
  2. Enter the following command to re-enable Wi-Fi using Terminal.
    sudo ifconfig en0 up
  3. Alternatively, you can enter the following command if the above one doesn’t work.
    ifconfig -a

Bonus: Try another administrator account

Sometimes, the network chip of your Mac might become corrupt. In this case, it’s safe to set up a new administrator account and check if the internet is working on a different profile. A new Administrator account will create a new File system, starting from scratch. Thus, making your problem more diagnoseable.

Here’s how you can set a new user account on a Mac:

  1. Open System Preferences Users & Groups.
  2. Enter your Mac’s password.
  3. Now, click the plus (+) icon in the left bar panel.

    Try another administrator account on Mac
  4. Set Administrator as the New Account type.
    Fill in the username, password, and hint fields to create a new user.
  5. Sign out and sign in with the new user.
  6. If you’re able to use the internet on the new user profile, delete the previous one.
    Note: Deleting a user will also delete the data of that user.

If none of the methods work, you may have to reset your Mac. Click here to know how you can reset your Mac in a couple of steps.

I hope the above methods helped you reset the network settings on your Mac and fix the problem. If you run into some issues while following the steps, leave a comment below, and we would be happy to help.

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