How to Fix a Poor Wi-Fi Signal on Your iPad

The problem could be with the iPad, router, or network provider

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Wi-Fi is a great convenience that frees us from the chains of Ethernet cables when it works, and when it doesn't, it is a headache to deal with. Fortunately, there are several ways to troubleshoot a weak Wi-Fi signal.

Causes of Slow Wi-Fi on an iPad

Because a wireless network has so many parts, including a modem, a router, and all of the devices that you use to access the internet, a dip in speed could have a few different causes.

Before you start tinkering with the router in an attempt to improve the speed of your Wi-Fi signal to your iPad, take steps to confirm the problem isn't with the tablet. The best way to find out where the problem exists is to connect to the wireless network from two different devices, such as a laptop and an iPad, from the same spot in your house. If it's definitely the iPad that's the problem, here are some steps to fix it.

  1. Move closer to the router. If you're in a separate room (or even level of the house) from your wireless hardware, it's possible that the signal isn't strong enough by the time it reaches you. Walls and floors can diminish a Wi-Fi signal and make it weaker in different parts of your house, even if you're still "in range."

    Move the iPad closer to the router and see if the signal strength improves. If the connection is speedy near the router but slows down in distant rooms, you may need to boost the signal strength

  2. Use an app to test your internet speed and get an idea of how fast it is running. If you are comparing it to a laptop, download Ookla's Speedtest app for the iPad and test it against the website version of Speedtest on the laptop.

    If the speed test shows a fast connection on your devices, the individual website you are trying to connect to may be having a connection problem. Try connecting to a popular website like Google to see if the performance issues persist. 

  3. Reboot the iPad by holding the Sleep/Wake button at the top until the display changes to a screen reading slide to power off. After the iPad is dark for a minute, press down the Sleep/Wake button again to power it back up. 

    An iPad with the Slide to Power Off on screen.
  4. Rebooting your iPad usually solves Wi-Fi issues, but if it doesn't, you may need to reset the information the iPad stores about your network. Launch the iPad's Settings app and tap Wi-Fi in the left-side panel to locate your Wi-Fi network. 

    The network you're using is listed at the top of the screen with a check mark next to it. If no network is listed, you aren't connected to a Wi-Fi network. If the wrong Wi-Fi network is listed, that could explain the problem you are having with the Wi-Fi.

    Wi-Fi setting on an iPad
  5. To forget a network, tap the blue i with the circle around it just to the right of the network name. You'll go to a screen that shows the Wi-Fi network information. Once connected, tap the i button again. This time, touch the Forget This Network button at the top of the screen. 

    You can only forget a network you're connected to.

    Instead of connecting again immediately, reboot your iPad to ensure nothing holds over in memory before you connect again. When the iPad boots up, go back to Settings, choose your Wi-Fi network, and type the password.

    Screenshot of Forget This Network option in iOS on an iPad
  6. Reset the network settings or perform a full reset to factory defaults to clear out any remaining problems with the iPad. Both options are available at Settings > General > Reset. Resetting to factory defaults isn't as bad as it sounds as long as you back up your iPad first. Then, restore from that backup to come out the other side virtually the same.

    Screenshot of Reset button in iOS on iPad
  7. Reboot your router by either turning it off for a minute or unplugging it from the wall for a minute. It can take up to five minutes for the router to reboot and connect again to the internet. When it is finished, try connecting with your iPad. 

    If this doesn't solve the issue, go through all the troubleshooting steps for a weak signal on your router.

  8. Contact your internet provider. If your router is broken or old, they may replace it free of charge. The problem could also be with the internet coming into your house or apartment rather than with the router itself, and your provider may have more information about outages or additional troubleshooting steps.