How to Reset Network Settings on Mac

Resetting network settings on a Mac is done a little differently than iPhone

What to Know

  • Apple menu > System Preferences > Network > your Wi-Fi name > Minus > Apply and then re-add your connection settings.
  • Alternatively, turn Wi-Fi off and then delete select files in Go > Go to Folder > /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/ > Go.
  • Macs don’t have an option called Reset Network Settings, though the steps above perform the same function.

This article will walk you through the steps for how to reset network settings on a Mac. Unlike resetting network settings on an iPhone or Windows 10 computer, there’s no specific function on Macs for refreshing internet and wireless connection preferences, but it can still be done via the two methods shown below.

The following methods for resetting network settings on a Mac have been tested on macOS Big Sur (11). However, both should also work on computers or laptops running earlier versions of the macOS operating system as well.

How Do You Reset Network Settings on macOS?

There are two different ways to reset the network settings on a Mac. The first method is relatively simple and should be tried first if you’re experiencing any connectivity or internet issues. The second process for resetting your network settings is safe, though it is a bit more complex and only recommended if the first method didn’t work.

Reset Mac Network Settings: The Easy Way

The first way to reset a Mac’s network settings is basically to delete your Wi-Fi connection and then add it again. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Click the Apple icon in the top-left corner of the screen.

    Mac desktop with Apple menu icon highlighted
  2. Click System Preferences.

    Mac desktop with Apple menu open and System Preferences highlighted
  3. Click Network.

    Mac desktop with System Preferences window open and Network highlighted
  4. Select your Wi-Fi connection from the list of connections.

    Mac desktop with Network settings open and Wi-Fi Connection highlighted
  5. Click the minus icon under the list of connections.

    Mac desktop with Network settings open and the minus icon highlighted

    Make sure that you have your Wi-Fi login information. You will need to re-enter it after the next step.

  6. Click Apply.

    Mac desktop with Network settings window open and Apply highlighted
  7. Finally, click the plus icon and then re-add your Wi-Fi connection as you did when you first entered it.

    Mac Network settings window with the plus icon highlighted

Reset Mac Network Settings: The Complicated Way

If you’re still experiencing connectivity issues or bugs after trying the above tip, it can be worth giving this second method a go. This process essentially deletes certain system files relating to network settings that will then be restored automatically after restarting your Mac.

  1. Click the Wi-Fi internet symbol in the top-right corner.

    Mac desktop with Wi-Fi symbol highlighted
  2. Click the switch to turn Wi-Fi off.

    Mac desktop with Wi-Fi switch turned on and toggle highlighted
  3. With Wi-Fi off, click Go.

    Mac desktop with Wi-Fi off and Go highlighted
  4. From the Go menu, click Go to Folder.

    Mac desktop with Go menu showing and Go to Folder highlighted
  5. Enter /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/ into the text field and click Go.

    Mac Go to Folder prompt and "Go" highlighted
  6. Select the following five files:

    • com.apple.airport.preferences.plist
    • com.apple.network.identification.plist or com.apple.network.eapolclient/configuration.plist
    • com.apple.wifi.message-tracer.plist
    • NetworkInterfaces.plist
    • preferences.plist
    Mac network settings files in a folder with five files highlighted
  7. Copy all five files to your desktop as a backup just in case. To do this, right-click the files, select Copy, then right-click the desktop and select Paste.

    Mac network setting files with 5 files highlighted and Copy highlighted from the right-click menu
  8. Right-click the files in their original location and select Move to Bin to delete them.

    Mac network setting files selected with Move to Bin highlighted
  9. If prompted to confirm the deletion with a password or an action on your Apple Watch, do so.

    Mac desktop with Apple Watch confirmation prompt and Use Password highlighted
  10. Restart your Mac as usual and turn its Wi-Fi back on. The five deleted files should be recreated within their original location, and all your network settings should now be reset.

    Mac network settings files in folder.

    If everything is working fine, feel free to delete the copies of the files on your desktop.

What Will Resetting My Network Settings Do?  

When you reset a device’s network settings, you’re basically deleting all saved preferences and settings relating to internet and wireless functionality. Doing so is a common strategy for fixing Wi-Fi or other networking glitches preventing a computer, smart device, or video game console from working properly.

FAQ
  • How do I reset network settings on an iPhone?

    To reset network settings on an iPhone, go to your iPhone's Settings app and tap General > Reset > Reset Network Settings. This action will also reset all your Wi-Fi networks and passwords, as well as prior cellular and VPN settings.

  • How do I reset network settings on Windows 10?

    To reset network settings on Windows 10, go to your Windows 10 Start menu and select Settings > Network and Internet > Status. Then, click Network Reset, review the Network Reset information, select Reset now to continue, and follow the prompts.

  • How do I reset network settings on an Android phone?

    While exact instructions may vary according to your Android device, the process will be similar. Go to your Settings app and select System > Reset Options. Tap Reset Wi-Fi, Mobile, & Bluetooth or Reset Network Settings, depending on your Android version.

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