What Are Network Settings?

Network setting names and locations vary across computers, phones, and consoles

Network settings describe wired and wireless connectivity preferences on computers, mobile phones, video game consoles, tablets, and smart devices. Connecting your device to the internet, a local network, or a cellular network all require the use of network settings to some degree.

Network Settings Meaning

You can use network settings to manage a wide variety of device functions relating to networking and connectivity. Many settings could be referred to as a network setting. However, it may be named something else depending on the operating system or app.

Here are some of the more common network settings you may encounter:

  • Wi-Fi network names and passwords.
  • Local computer network preferences.
  • Cellular network authentication and connection options.
  • Data download limits and options.
  • VPN service connections and preferences.
  • Automatic and manual proxy server settings.

How Do I Check My Network Settings?

The location of network settings can vary depending on what kind of device you’re using. Some devices will group most network settings under one menu, while others may spread them within various sub-menus or other categories.

Windows Network Settings

You can manage most basic networking and internet functions from within the Windows 10 Action Center by selecting an appropriate icon or right-clicking it for more options. For more advanced connection preferences, open Settings and select Network & Internet.

To find a specific network setting quickly, open the Start Menu and type what you’re looking for on your keyboard. A direct link to the Windows 10 network setting should appear.

Mac Network Settings

You can find Mac network settings via System Preferences > Network. You may also want to select Sharing if you're looking for network settings relating to sharing your internet connection with another computer and Internet Accounts for managing various login and connection data. 

iPhone and iPad Network Settings

Network settings on Apple’s iPhones and iPads are sprinkled throughout the Settings app. Most prominent network settings, such as those for internet, Bluetooth, and mobile, are displayed prominently at the top of the Settings menu. However, you may also want to explore the General section for managing a VPN, updating your carrier settings, or resetting your network settings.

Android Network Settings

Android’s network settings are in the Network tab under Settings. From here, you can manage mobile data, internet and cellular connections, connected devices, Bluetooth and tethering options, and even NFC if your Android smartphone or tablet supports it. 

Xbox One and Xbox Series X Network Settings

Players can often use network settings to fix Xbox One and Xbox Series X sign-in and internet connectivity issues. Microsoft’s console families use the same operating system layout, so the methods for finding network settings on each are identical.

Press the Xbox logo button on your controller to open the user menu, navigate to the far-left Profile & system tab, and select Settings > General > Network settings.

Additional network settings can also be found within General > Online safety & family.

PS4 and PS5 Network Settings

To open a PlayStation 4 or 5’s network settings, open Settings from the main dashboard and select Network.

The Settings icon looks like a toolbox on PS4 and a gear on PS5.

Gamers can use PlayStation network settings to connect to different internet connections, change DNS settings, and even make video games download faster on the PS4 and PS5 consoles.

Nintendo Switch Network Settings

Network settings on Nintendo Switch consoles are under System Settings > Internet from the main screen.

The Nintendo Switch System Settings icon is the circular one which looks like a gear.

Access these settings to connect a Nintendo Switch to the internet and fix various Wi-Fi and download problems.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What will I lose if I reset network settings? When you reset network settings, you'll lose information related to how you connect to the internet, networks, and other devices. A Windows 10 network reset returns all linked network adapters to factory settings, while resetting network settings on an iPhone removes all prior Wi-Fi, cellular, and VPN information.
  • When should I reset network settings? Resetting network settings can help resolve numerous internet and connectivity issues. Since this step deletes network-related information, it's wise to try a few other fixes first, such as restarting your device and rebooting the modem and router.
  • What are network proxy settings? Network proxy settings apply to proxy servers, which act as a go-between for a network and the internet. Proxy servers hide internal IP addresses and play an essential role in firewall protection for businesses and organizations.
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