How to Fix Wi-Fi Authentication Problems on Android

14 ways to fix problems when your tablet or phone won't connect to the internet

If the Wi-Fi settings screen on your Android phone or tablet says there's been an authentication problem, you won't be able to reach the internet properly. Below are several things you can try to fix the issue and get back online.

Specific steps may differ based on the operating system version you're running, but the basic process will be the same.

Why Am I Getting an Authentication Failed Error?

There isn't a single, clear reason for this problem, but here are some ideas we'll look into:

  • You're using the wrong password.
  • A glitch or failure on your phone or network hardware.
  • A poor connection to the router.
  • Network settings are corrupt.
  • Your phone is having trouble dealing with the frequency band.

How Do I Fix a Wi-Fi Authentication Error?

Below is a list of everything you should try. We've gathered all the best solutions from the huge variety of users who have experienced this error. Be sure to work through this list in the order we've arranged it so you're trying the easier solutions first.

  1. Turn airplane mode on and then off again. Toggling this feature on and off will essentially reboot the wireless radios and forcibly attempt to establish a new connection to the Wi-Fi network.

    Assuming the network and your phone are working correctly, this is the most likely fix for this issue if you know you didn't make any changes to the Wi-Fi password recently.

  2. Restart your phone. Restarting your phone (also called rebooting) is easy to do, and often fixes problems like this one.

  3. "Forget" the Wi-Fi network from your phone by deleting it from the list of saved networks. Do this by accessing the Wi-Fi settings, and then open the gear/settings icon next to the network that is displaying the error, and choose Forget.

    After doing that, reconnect your Android device to Wi-Fi by entering the password again manually.

    Settings Internet and network details screens on Android 12 for Pixel

    Complete this step even if you're positive it's the correct password. Even if you've used this Wi-Fi network hundreds of times in the past, rebuilding it like this is a helpful step before we get into the more complex ideas below.

  4. Reset the phone's network settings. A reset of network settings deletes all network-related information (not just the one you "forgot" in the previous step), including all your saved Wi-Fi networks and other related data.

    The goal here is to reset as much as possible without deleting any of your personal files (1the last step below). Do this through Settings > System > Reset options > Reset Wi-Fi, mobile & Bluetooth.

    You'll need to try to connect to the network again after this step.

  5. Troubleshoot this as a slow internet connection. Things like bandwidth overload and signal interference might be at play and causing the authentication issue.

  6. Restart the network hardware. You might not have the authority to do this if you're using a public network (you know, at a Starbucks, library, etc), but make every attempt you can to complete this step.

    After addressing the password and phone itself, there's not a lot left to blame for the authentication problem other than the router. This is especially true if you can get on Wi-Fi just fine on other networks, and this specific network is the only exception.

    Restart and reset are very different things. This particular step is for restarting/rebooting the network, which isn't really different from restarting any tech device.

  7. Check how many devices are running on the network at once. Although it's unlikely, especially on a home network, to reach the maximum devices supported by the router, this could be the reason your device is showing an authentication error.

  8. Reset the network hardware. This will delete all customizations made to the router since it was first set up.

    After completing this, you'll need to create the Wi-Fi network again, and then reconnect your phone to it (see Step 3).

    This is a helpful step if you're able to connect to Wi-Fi for just a short time, after which you get the authentication error. Since a full reset forces you to create a new Wi-Fi password from the router, it'll kick off every other device on the network and reduce the chance you're experiencing an IP address conflict.

  9. If your network hardware supports it, separate the 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz networks if your router is broadcasting on both frequency bands with the same SSID and password. Some users have had luck fixing this Wi-Fi authentication error by changing the network name and password for one of the bands.

    What might be happening is the phone is getting confused or going into hyper-secure mode when it sees two different networks with the same credentials, and it prevents you from accessing either one.

    See our guide on how to change the Wi-Fi channel to see where these settings are on a typical router.

  10. Change the Wi-Fi channel to fix the Wi-Fi authentication problem. Use the link at the bottom of Step 9 to learn how to do this.

    Choosing a different Wi-Fi channel number can help avoid interference, especially if there are several other Wi-Fi networks within range.

    Install a free Wi-Fi app to see what channel you and your neighbors are using.

  11. Set up your phone with a static IP address. For whatever reason, your router might be having trouble assigning your device a working address, so choosing a static IP address prevents it from changing and relieves the router from having to do it through DHCP.

    Static ip address settings for Android 12 on Pixel
  12. Check for Android OS updates. This is more of a stretch than the rest of these steps, but there might be an update you have yet to apply which fixes this particular issue. It's worth a shot, at least, before moving on to the last step below.

  13. Factory reset your phone. This is the last thing you have control over on your phone which could fix this issue. It will completely erase all customizations on your device, including all your locally saved media files, apps, etc.

    Do not jump to this step without first completing all of the above. You need to make sure the network itself isn't having a problem before taking this drastic "delete everything and start over" step. Reserve this for the worst case scenario, one where you know the phone is to blame and not the network.

  14. Contact your device manufacturer (e.g., Google if you're on a Pixel, Linksys if that's your router brand), contact your network administrator, and/or contact the ISP that delivers your internet.

    When you talk to tech support, be sure to describe all you've already tried (everything listed above), because at this stage you've done all you can do, and what's left is giving those companies a heads-up, since the fault appears to lie with one of them.

    Depending on whom you reach out to, they might be able to attempt a hardware repair if your phone is broken, or your internet service provider or hardware maker can investigate your router/modem further for Wi-Fi related issues. In some cases, the network admin might need to make some security changes on their end.

  • Why is my Wi-Fi network not showing up?

    If your Wi-Fi network isn't showing up, it could be because the router is too far away, the network adapter is disabled, or the router was not restored correctly after losing power. Other possible causes include viruses or object interference.

  • Why does my Wi-Fi keep dropping?

    If your Wi-Fi connection keeps dropping, it could be due to an overloaded network, interference from other Wi-Fi signals, or the router being out of range. Make sure that you're connected to the right Wi-Fi network.

  • Why won't my Android connect to Wi-Fi?

    If your Android can't connect to Wi-Fi, your device's software or hardware could be malfunctioning, your Wi-Fi network could be having issues, or you're too far away from the router.

  • How do I fix it when there's no internet connection?

    If you have Wi-Fi but no internet connection, the problem usually lies in your devices rather than your internet service provider. Restart the router and modem. If you still have no internet after restarting, you can try several other troubleshooting steps.

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