How to Connect an iPad to Wi-Fi in 5 Easy Steps

connect ipad to wi-fi
image credit Maciej Frolow/Stone/Getty Images

While some iPad models offer always-on 4G LTE internet connections, most people buy iPads whose only way to get online is using Wi-Fi. While not quite as ubiquitous as 4G cellular networks, Wi-Fi is pretty easy to find these days in your office, home, airports, coffee shops and restaurants, and many other locations.

But just finding a Wi-Fi network doesn't mean you can use it. Some Wi-Fi networks are public and available to anyone (though some of these require a fee of some kind).

Others are private and password protected.

Connecting an iPad to Wi-Fi

When you want to get your iPad online, follow these steps to connect to Wi-Fi and, if necessary, join password-protected networks:

  1. From the iPad's Home screen, tap Settings
  2. On the Settings screen, tap Wi-Fi
  3. To start the iPad checking for available wireless networks, move the Wi-Fi slider to On/green. In a few seconds, you'll see a list of all the networks near you, whether they're public or private, and how strong their signal is (more on that in the note below). If you don’t any networks on the list, there may not be any within range
  4. In many cases, there will be two kinds of Wi-Fi networks in the list: public and private. Private networks have a lock icon next to them; public ones don't. 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. You're online!

  1. If you want to access a private network, you'll need a password. Assuming you've got the password, tap the network name and enter it the password in the pop-window. Then tap the Join button in the pop up.

    If your password is correct, you’ll connect to the network and be ready to surf the web. If not, try entering it again (assuming you've got the right one, of course).

    Advanced users can click the i icon to the right of the network's signal strength indicator to access more technical configuration settings. Everyday users probably won’t need to look at these options.

    NOTE: Next to each network name is a Wi-Fi signal strength indicator (the three-line Wi-Fi icon) -- the more black bars in that icon, the stronger the network's signal. When possible, always connect to networks with more bars. They'll be easier to connect to and will deliver a faster connection.

    A Shortcut to Connecting: 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 use it, swipe up from the bottom of the screen. In that Control Center mini window, tap the Wi-Fi icon so that it's highlighted. Your Wi-Fi will join any nearby network that it's been connected to in the past.