What to Do When Your iPad Won't Connect to the Internet

iPad Wi-Fi connection problems and fixes

A sign that reads

Marcelo Graciolli/Flickr

The reasons an iPad won't connect to the internet can include anything from an app issue or software problem to a Wi-Fi network misconfiguration, router issue, or internet service provider problem. There are several reasons you can't reach the internet, though most of them will involve your connection to your Wi-Fi (although it technically is possible to connect your iPad via Ethernet connection). Read through the troubleshooting steps below, in order, to identify where the iPad internet problem lies and learn how to fix it.

Most of these steps should apply to any iPad model running on any iOS version.

How to Fix iPad Internet Problems

The following steps apply to an iPad that connects to Wi-Fi. Some of these steps work for iPads that use a mobile network. At the bottom of this page are some additional tips for iPads that use a mobile network.

  1. Test the internet connection. On the iPad, open a web browser such as Safari or Chrome and access a web page that you know is online, such as Google or Microsoft.

    If the page displays in the browser, accessing the internet isn't the problem. It may be an isolated issue and related to the specific app you're using. The only thing you can do is wait for the developer to fix it.

    If you can't connect to the website, continue to troubleshoot the problem.

  2. Reboot the iPad. A reboot is a common fix for many pieces of technology and is always an important step in basic iPad troubleshooting. A quick restart might power cycle whatever the issue is and get you back online.

    To restart an iPad, hold the power/sleep button, then slide the button to power off. When the screen is completely black, press and hold the power button once more to power it on.

  3. Connect the iPad to a Wi-Fi network. Double-check to make sure the iPad is connected.

    To access the Wi-Fi settings, select Settings > Wi-Fi.

    Wi-Fi settings pane on iPad

    Networks with a lock symbol are password protected while others are open networks that you can connect to freely without knowing the password.

    If you don't remember the Wi-Fi password, change the password to the Wi-Fi network. Or, if a Wi-Fi hotspot locator app is installed on the iPad, find a free Wi-Fi nearby.

  4. Forget the Wi-Fi network, then reconnect. Deleting the iPad's memory of the network and then re-establishing it can be helpful.

    Tap the small (i) next to the network you're connected to, choose Forget This Network, then repeat Step 3 above to connect the iPad to Wi-Fi.

    Forget This Network button in Wi-Fi settings on iPad
  5. Reset the network settings on the iPad. There may be a glitch or misconfiguration that stops the iPad from connecting to the internet.

    Select Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings.

  6. Check the Wi-Fi strength and move closer to the router. When you're connected to Wi-Fi, you'll see the three-lined Wi-Fi symbol at the top of the display. The Wi-Fi symbol looks like a dot with two circular waves above it and appears either on the far right or left side of the status bar, depending on your iOS version.

    Wi-Fi symbol on iPad, enlarged

    If you have a poor connection, one or more of the waves above the dot are gray rather than black. If there is only a dot, the Wi-Fi connection might be so degraded that you can't connect to the internet.

  7. Disconnect other devices from the network. As more and more devices connect to the same network, bandwidth has to be divided equally, which can lead to each device having only a tiny slice of the network bandwidth.

    To provide more speed and better connectivity for the iPad, shut off devices or remove devices from the network.

  8. Check the internet connection speed if you're connected to Wi-Fi but can't do anything on the internet.

    A speed test shows even a really slow connection speed, which can make it clear whether you're completely disconnected or just connected with such a slow speed that the internet doesn't work.

  9. Restart the router. The router handles all the network connections, so a restart can be helpful whether it's just the iPad that's having internet issues or other devices, too.

    A TP-Link router with a full range of network lights on.
    Firecracker PR/Flickr
  10. Check with your ISP to ensure that there isn't a system-wide problem. If there is a system-wide problem, you'll need to wait until your ISP fixes the issue.

  11. Reset the iPad and erase all of its contents. At this point, if your other networked devices work and the iPad doesn't, the iPad may be the problem and may need to be reset.

  12. Make an Apple Genius Bar appointment to have a professional look at your iPad. There might be a hardware problem that can only be fixed by a service technician.

Tips for Cellular Users

If your iPad connects to a mobile network such as AT&T or Verizon, there are a few additional steps you can take to fix the internet problem.

After trying any applicable steps from above, continue with these:

  1. Go to Settings > Cellular. If data is on, turn off the Cellular Data toggle switch, then re-enable it after a minute. If data is off, tap the Celluar Data toggle switch to turn it on.

    A screenshot of iOS cellular settings showing the Cellular Data option.
  2. If refreshing the mobile data option didn't make the iPad work properly, and especially if the phone works on the same network, go to Settings > General > About and check for a carrier settings update.

  3. If there isn't a carrier settings update, remove and reinsert the SIM card.

  4. Call your cellular provider if your iPad still won't connect to the internet.