How to Fix it When Your iPhone is Not Connecting to Wi-Fi

Troubleshooting your iPhone's Wi-Fi connection problem

It's super frustrating when your iPhone won't connect to Wi-Fi (especially if you have a monthly cellular data limit instead of an unlimited data plan). Not being able to connect to Wi-Fi stops you from doing things like updating the iOS, downloading large files, and streaming music and video.

Frustrated person unable to connect their iPhone to Wi-Fi
Derek Abella / Lifewire

You might not be able to connect to Wi-Fi if you're out of range or there's interference with the Wi-Fi signal. Make sure you're close to the wireless router when you're trying to solve this issue.

This article was written using iOS 12 and iOS 13, but the concepts apply to many earlier versions. On earlier versions, the exact steps described below may be slightly different.

How to Fix iPhone Wi-Fi Problems

In most cases, you can fix an iPhone that won't connect to a Wi-Fi network after some simple troubleshooting steps. In other cases, more advanced techniques are needed. Check out the many ways you can fix an iPhone that can't connect to Wi-Fi and get back to high-speed internet access.

  1. The first rule of tech support is to confirm the thing you're trying to fix is turned on. In this case, you may simply need to turn on Wi-Fi on your iPhone. Using Control Center to turn on Wi-Fi is easiest.

    Turning on wifi

    A rare issue that comes up is when the iPhone's Wi-Fi option is grayed out. Luckily, there are several solutions you can try to fix grayed out Wi-Fi.

  2. Check if airplane mode is on.

    If your iPhone is in Airplane Mode (maybe you accidentally left it that way after a recent trip), your Wi-Fi is disabled.

  3. Check if the Wi-Fi network is password protected.

    You can tell which networks are password protected because they have lock icons next to them on the Wi-Fi settings screen (go to Settings > Wi-Fi). If it does, you can request a password from the network owner (easy if you're at a coffee shop, for example) or look for an unlocked network.

    You can also try disconnecting and reconnecting from the network. Scroll down to the section called How to Make the iPhone Forget Wi-Fi Networks in this article about Wi-Fi on the iPhone.

    Password protected wifi
  4. If there is an update, install it. That may solve your problem.

    Upgrade software
  5. Restarting your iPhone often solves its problems. If that doesn't work, you can force restart your iPhone as a last resort.

  6. If one of the Wi-Fi settings is corrupted, it could prevent you from connecting to Wi-Fi. Although this deletes some preferences, sometimes it's your only option.

    Reset network settings
  7. Your iPhone does a lot of helpful things behind the scenes. One of these involves using nearby Wi-Fi networks to improve the accuracy of mapping and location services. This is a nice bonus, but it can be the cause of your iPhone not being able to connect to Wi-Fi.

    Turn off location services
  8. If you're still unable to connect to Wi-Fi, you may need to take a drastic measure: restoring your iPhone to its factory settings. This deletes everything from the iPhone and returns it to its original, out-of-the-box condition.

    Before you do this, be sure to back up of all the data on your phone.

    Restore iPhone to factory settings

    When the reset is complete, you'll have a fresh iPhone. You can then either set it up as a new iPhone or restore from your backup. Restoring from backup is faster, but it could bring back the bug that prevented you from accessing Wi-Fi in the first place.  

If none of the above fixes work, you might have a hardware problem, which is best diagnosed and repaired by Apple or an authorized Apple service provider. Search Apple's online support site if you still want to try to fix it yourself. Otherwise, take your iPhone to a local Apple Store; we recommend making an Apple Genius bar appointment.