Wi-Fi Not Working on MacBook Running macOS Big Sur? How to Fix It

Wifi Not Working On Mac

Wi-Fi is the preferred medium to connect with the amazing world wide web. After updating the Mac to macOS Big Sur, you may face some Wi-Fi issues like no internet, frequent disconnection, failure to join a network, low net speeds, and such. Thankfully, these problems can be addressed successfully by following one or a combination of solutions mentioned below. Let’s jump right in and fix macOS Big Sur Wi-Fi Issues.

Tips to Fix Wi-Fi Not Working on MacBook

  1. Reboot Your Router
  2. Reboot your Mac
  3. Forget the Network and Reconnect Your MacBook To It
  4. Update Software on Your Mac
  5. Try Using the 5GHz Band
  6. Run Apple Diagnostics
  7. Use Apple’s Wireless Diagnostics
  8. Check Out the DNS Settings
  9. Change the DNS Setting for Your Network
  10. Reset your SMC, PRAM or NVRAM

Keep in mind:

  • Make sure the router is not overheating. Ensure that it hasn’t been covered or placed at a location where there isn’t much ventilation
  • Be sure not to put the router on or near the large metal surfaces. For instance, if it’s placed on a filing cabinet or near the radiator, it won’t work properly

1. Reboot Your Router

One of the first things you should try to resolve the Wi-Fi issues is to restart the router. More often than, it can get your job done. To do so, disconnect the router from power for a few seconds and then plug it back in.

Reboot Wifi router

2. Reboot your Mac

Believe me or not, this little trick has worked several times for me. Therefore, I would suggest you try it out as well. Click on the Wi-Fi menu and turn it off. Now, click on the Apple menu and select restart.

Reboot your Mac

Once your computer has rebooted, turn on Wi-Fi. It should start working now. If it has, wonderful! But if it’s not the case, move on to the next solution.

3. Forget the Network and Reconnect Your MacBook To It

Another reliable trick that you can try to eliminate this issue, force the notebook to forget the network and reconnect to it.

Open System Preferences and click on Network on Mac

Step 1: Open System Preferences and click on Network.

Choose Wi-Fi and click Advanced in Mac Network

Now, choose Wi-Fi in the list on the left and click Advanced.

Choose Network you want to forget and then click minus to remove on Mac

Step 2: Next, choose the network you want to forget and then click on (-) to remove.

Now, try to reconnect to the network.

4. Update Software on Your Mac

“Software Update” has always been one of the most trusted solutions for fixing common or miscellaneous issues. Moreover, Apple keeps on releasing the update with several bug fixes and performance improvements. So, give it a chance as well.

Open System Preferences click on Software Update and Choose Update Now

To download and install the latest version of macOS Big Sur, open System Preferences, click on Software Update, and finally click on Update Now.

5. Try Using the 5GHz Band

If you are still struggling to fix the problem, try switching to the 5GHz band, if it’s available. The reason why I suggest you give it a chance is that it provides more bandwidth as compared to the 2.4GHz band. Moreover, it’s more efficient.

To get started with the 5GHz band on your dual-band router, make sure to separate the 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks on router. It would be better to give them different names.

You can set your Mac to join 5GHz. To do so, head over to System Preferences → Network pane. Then, click on Wi-Fi and select the Advanced button. Finally, you have to drag the 5GHz network to the top.

6. Run Apple Diagnostics

“Apple Diagnostics” can help you discover the root of the issue. So, run them on your notebook to find out the issue.

  1. First off, disconnect all the external devices. I mean, if you have connected your Mac to earphones, disconnect them.
  2. Now, shut down the Mac.
  3. Next, turn on the computer while pressing and holding the D key.
  4. Next up, you would be asked to choose Wifi network and then your language.

Now, wait for a few minutes to allow Apple Diagnostics to find out the issues. Once done, it will offer suggestions for fixing them.

7. Use Apple’s Wireless Diagnostics

macOS comes with a Wireless Diagnostics utility that can let you detect common Wi-Fi issues. Moreover, this app can also help you monitor wireless connection for intermittent connectivity failures. It also notifies you when a connectivity failure is detected.

Open Wireless Diagnostics on Mac

Step 1: Open Wireless Diagnostics on your Mac. You can take the help of Spotlight to open it quickly.

Click on Windows menu and select Performance on Mac
Wireless Diagnostics utility Can detect common Wi-Fi issues on Mac

Step 2: Now, click on the Windows menu and select Performance.Step 3: Next, you should see three graphs, showing the transmission rate, signal quality, and signal and noise levels.

It shows the data rate of your network in Mbps. In most cases, the data rate is consistent. However, if you find it below par, it means something is wrong.

Check out the middle graph, which is named Quality, shows the ratio of signal to noise. If it has a bit straight line with tiny spikes, it means it’s up to the mark. But if it’s not the case, something is coming in the way of the signal.

There is a bottom graph called Signal. It shows the signal strength and measured noise and displayed as dBM, or Decibel-milliwatts. If you are wondering what they are, let me tell you that they are the commonly used unit of the power of radio signals.

If the signal strength is between 60 and -10dBm and a noise level below -75dBm, it’s pretty good. Keep track of the graph to figure out when the signal dips below the expected level.

8. Check Out the DNS Settings

Now that you have tried out all the above options, it’s time to give a close look to DNS Settings. Wondering what it is meant for? Well, let me clear it to you. It stands for Domain Name System and helps your Mac convert domain names such as apple.com into IP addresses. And just in case the DNS server, which the computer is using, is at fault, you can’t connect to any site by that name.

So, how do you find out whether the DNS is working or not? It’s quite simple. Open your web browser and enter the following URL:

Now, you should see the Apple website. If it’s the case, then the Internet connection is working properly and the problem could be with the domain names.

Choose your network connection in Mac Network Settings

Step 1: To get rid of this issue, open System PreferencesNetwork panechoose your network connection in the list on the left.

Click Advanced and select DNS in Mac Network Settings

Step 2: Next, Click Advanced and select DNS. In DNS Servers field, IP addresses will appear.

Click Plus sign and Change the DNS IP in Mac Network Settings

Step 3: Now, you need to click the plus-sign (+) button and enter
You have to repeat the same process using
These addresses are known as OpenDNS. As compared to the default servers, this free DNS service is considered to be more functional.

Step 4: Up next, click OKApply.

Click OK and then Apply to Confirm DNS Settings on Mac

Now, check out if the problem is resolved or not.

9. Change the DNS Setting for Your Network

If none of the tricks have solved the problem, it would be worth changing the DNS setting for the network. Do note that you will have to delete your Wi-Fi preference file. Therefore, make sure to back them up.

Open Go To Folder on Mac

Step 1: Open FinderGo → Go To Folder.

Then enter:


and then click on Go.

Go to SystemConfiguration Setion on Mac

Step 2. Now, locate the files mentioned below and then you need to drag them into a backup folder on your Desktop:

Back up Wi-Fi preference file on Mac
  • com.apple.airport.preferences.plist
  • com.apple.network.identification.plist
  • com.apple.wifi.message-tracer.plist
  • NetworkInterfaces.plist
  • preferences.plist

Just in case, this trick doesn’t solve the problem, try creating a new Wi-Fi network location by adding custom MTU and DNS details.

Make sure to close all apps that may be using the Wi-Fi.

Step 1. Open System Preferences and click on Network.

Open System Preferences and click on Network on Mac

Step 2. Now, click on Wi-Fi. Then, you need to click on the drop-down menu next to Location and select Edit Locations.

Click WiFi and select Edit Locations in Mac Network Settings

Step 3. Then after, click the “+” to create a new location and then name it. Click Done.

Click Plus icon and Create New Location in Mac Network Settings

Step 4. Next, click on Advanced.

Click on Advanced in Mac Network Settings
Select Renew DHCP Lease Under TCP:IP Section in Mac Network

Step 5. Under TCP/IP tab, you need to select Renew DHCP Lease.

Now, you will get a warning saying “Renewing DHCP lease will cause any unsaved changes to be lost. Would you like to apply your changes before renewing the DHCP lease?” Click on Apply.

Click Apply to Confirm renewing the DHCP lease on Mac

Head over to DNS tab and add and to the DNS Servers list.

Add New DNS Server in Mac Network Settings

Note: For those unfamiliar, they are Google DNS that is considered to be faster and more efficient.

Step 6. Up next, select Hardware and Configure Manually.

Select Hardware and Configure Manually in Mac Network Settings

Then, you need to change MTU to Custom and set it to 1453 and click OK.

Change MTU to Custom in Mac Network Settings

In the end, click on Apply.

Click on Apply to change DNS setting for your Mac network

10. Reset your SMC, PRAM or NVRAM

On a few occasions, I have succeeded in fixing the Wi-Fi problem by resetting the PRAM/NVRAM and the SMC. If you are unfamiliar with them, let me tell you that they are known as System Management Controller and can help you in getting rid of this issue.

That’s it!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why is my Mac connected to Wi-Fi but not working?

When router settings are incorrect, the DNS is altered, there is a fault on the Internet service provider’s end, or due to macOS Software bugs, misbehaving apps, and externally connected devices, your Mac may be connected to Wi-Fi but not work.

The solutions in this article help you address all these issues.

2. Why does my WI-FI keep cutting out on my Mac?

When the Mac and Wi-Fi router are placed at a distance, signal strength is low. As a result, your Mac may often drop the connection. Similarly, when you have not restarted your router and Mac in a long time, such issues may creep in.

3. How do I run a WIFI diagnostic on my Mac?

Quit all open apps first. Then, try joining a Wi-Fi network, if you aren’t already. Next, press the option key and click on the Wi-Fi icon in the top menu bar. Finally, click on ‘Open Wireless Diagnostics’ and follow the on-screen instructions.

Wi-Fi Not Working Issues Solved!

Hopefully, you have finally got the better of the issue. Let me know which one of the above solutions worked for you.

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