How to Connect an iPad to Wi-Fi in 6 Easy Steps

Get your iOS tablet online in no time

What to Know

  • Tap Settings > Wi-Fi and toggle on the Wi-Fi slider.
  • Connect to public network: Tap the network name. Connect to private network: Tap the network name, enter network's password, tap Join.
  • Shortcut: Go to Control Center and tap the Wi-Fi icon. Your iPad will join any nearby Wi-Fi network that it connected to in the past.

This article explains how to connect your iPad to Wi-Fi, whether it's a public Wi-Fi network or a private network that requires a password.

Connecting an iPad to Wi-Fi

When you want to get your iPad online, follow these steps to connect to Wi-Fi:

  1. From the iPad's home screen, tap Settings.

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  2. Tap Wi-Fi.

    Wi-Fi setting on an iPad
  3. To start the iPad searching for nearby wireless networks, move the Wi-Fi slider to on/green. In a few seconds, a list of all the networks near you will appear. Next to each one are indications of whether they're public or private and how strong the signal is.

    If you don’t see any networks, none may be within range.

    Connect to Wi-Fi
  4. You'll see two kinds of Wi-Fi networks: public and private. Private networks have a lock icon next to them. To connect to a public network, tap the network name. Your iPad will attempt to join the network and, if it succeeds, the network name will move to the top of the screen with a checkmark next to it.

    Next to each network name is a three-line Wi-Fi icon that shows the strength of the network's signal. The more black bars in that icon, the stronger the signal is. Always connect to networks with more bars. They'll be easier to connect to and will deliver a faster connection.

    Connect to Wi-Fi
  5. If you want to access a private network, you'll need a password. Tap the network name and enter the network's password in the pop-window. Then tap the Join button in the pop-up.

    Connect to Wi-Fi
  6. If your password is correct, you’ll connect to the network can get online. If not, try entering the password again or troubleshooting your connection.

A Shortcut to Connecting to Wi-Fi: Control Center

If you want to get online fast and are in the range of a network you've connected to in the past (for instance, at home or the office), you can turn on Wi-Fi quickly using Control Center. To do this, swipe down from the upper-right corner of the screen. In Control Center, tap the Wi-Fi icon so that it's highlighted. Your iPad will join any nearby Wi-Fi network that it's connected to in the past.

Wi-Fi in Control Center

Connecting iPad to iPhone Personal Hotspot

If you can't find any Wi-Fi networks, you can still get your iPad online by sharing a nearby iPhone's cellular network. You'll use the Personal Hotspot feature built into the iPhone to use its data connection (this is also known as tethering). The iPad connects to the iPhone via Wi-Fi.

You'll find available hotspots under Personal Hotspots in the Wi-Fi settings.

Choosing the personal hotspot on iPad

Data Security and Wi-Fi Hotspots

While finding a free, open Wi-fi network when you need one is great, you should also be mindful of security. Connecting to a Wi-Fi network that you haven't used before and don't know that you can trust could expose your internet use to surveillance or open you to hacking. Avoid doing things like checking a bank account or making purchases over an untrusted Wi-Fi network. Be aware of things you should check before you connect to a Wi-Fi hotspot.

You won't be able to connect to Wi-Fi if your Wi-Fi menu is disabled. Learn what causes this problem and how to fix it in how to fix grayed-out wi-fi (the article is about the iPhone, but applies to iPad, too).

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