Tips on how to Reset Community Settings on a Mac

Macs are almost always very reliable, but sometimes you may run into difficulty connecting to the internet or run into slow browser speeds. The internet may work just fine on your other devices, which can be annoying. It is often not clear what is causing a problem or whether there is even one.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, you may want to reset network settings on your Mac. There are several different settings you can reset and the details can be daunting. No fear; We'll tell you what to try to troubleshoot your network problems.

Why might you need to reset network settings on your Mac?

In general, you should feel confident about using macOS. It's a solid operating system that is reliable 99% of the time. However, there may be times when you cannot connect to the Internet or browse websites. Wi-Fi is working, the internet is available on all of your other devices, but for some reason your Mac can't connect.

If you use a VPN frequently, there is a chance that your system's network settings will get mixed up. Internet settings can be very sensitive, as even the smallest change or optimization can result in a loss of Internet connection.

Here's how to reset internet settings on your Mac

The good news is that like other operating systems, you can reset network settings on your Mac. Unfortunately there is bad news. Unlike Windows and even iOS, there is no one-click method of resetting network settings on your Mac.

There are two solutions you can use to reset your Mac's network settings. For temporary issues, you can simply reset the current Wi-Fi network you are connected to. Your Mac will forget the settings for the current network and you can reconnect from scratch, just like the first time you set it up. This usually resets the Wi-Fi network settings and should fix the problem.

However, if the problems are still not resolved, you can use the second method to delete the network configuration files from your Mac. This is a complicated method, but it is the ultimate solution to any stubborn network problem you may face.

Before going any further, make sure that the problem is with your Mac and not with your Wi-Fi connection itself. An easy way to do this is to check the internet connection indicators on your router. You should also check that the internet is working on another device (iPhone, iPad, etc.) connected to the same WiFi network.

Related: Does your Mac keep switching between Wi-Fi networks? Here's what to do

How to reset the Wi-Fi connection

The first and easier method is to reset the network connection for either Wi-Fi or Ethernet. This will delete the connection and then re-establish it. It also erases the Wi-Fi data (username and password) from your system, so it is important that you write down the details. This will help you reconnect later.

How to reset the WiFi connection. This is the standard and most commonly used connection, but yours may be different. You can use an Ethernet connection instead, for example.

  1. Open up System settings on your Mac.

  2. Click on network.

  3. Choose Wireless Internet access from the left pane.

  4. Press the minus (-) Icon under the list of connections.

  5. Click on Use. This should disable your Mac's WiFi.

  6. To add it back, select the Plus (+) Symbol.

  7. Choose Wireless Internet access and choose Create.

  8. Click on Use, and you should see the option to choose a Wi-Fi connection. Select the connection you want to connect to and enter the password. Your Mac should now connect and the internet should work normally.

Reset the network configuration files

If the above method doesn't work for you, this should help. It's a bit more complicated, but it's completely safe. This process deletes certain system files related to network settings. Your Mac will then restore them the next time it restarts.

In order to do this:

  1. Switch off the WLAN using the WLAN symbol in the top menu bar.

  2. Open up finderand click walk in the top left menu bar. Choose Go to folder.

  3. Enter the following address in the text box and click walk. / Library / Settings / System Configuration /

  4. A Finder window should open in front of you with some system files. Select the following files:

    • com.apple.airport.preferences.plist
    • com.apple.network.identification.plist or com.apple.network.eapolclient.configuration.plist
    • com.apple.wifi.message-tracer.plist
    • Network interfaces plist
    • settings.plist
  5. Copy these files and save them in a safe place as a backup. This will help you restore the network settings in case of problems.

  6. Now remove these files from the System configuration Folder. Select it and press Command + delete to move them to the trash.

  7. Then empty the recycle bin to permanently delete the files.

  8. Now restart your Mac.

macOS should now regenerate the deleted network configuration files and all of your network settings should be reset.

Try connecting to the internet to see if everything works properly. If all goes well and you can surf the internet successfully, you can delete the files previously saved as a backup.

Related: How to See Wi-Fi Passwords on Mac

Reset the network settings with the terminal

If you want to use the Terminal instead of the System Settings app, you can use it to reset the network settings. This will reset the current Wi-Fi network and allow you to reconnect, similar to what we did in the first section.

  1. Open up terminal on your Mac.

  2. Enter the following command:
    sudo ifconfig en0 down

    You'll need to enter your password as sudo is a privileged command. Once you enter it, the command should turn off your WiFi.

  3. Now enter the following command to re-enable Wi-Fi:
    sudo ifconfig en0 up

  4. That's it. Try connecting to the Wi-Fi network again to see if it works.

Still out of luck?

If you've used the methods above and your problem persists, your Mac may have a hardware problem rather than a software problem. Your best bet is to take it to an Apple Store or Apple Authorized Repair Center to have it checked and repaired.

Updating your settings can solve many network problems

Using the above methods should solve your network problems 99% of the time. However, if you are still facing slow browsing on all of your devices, then you should contact your ISP or upgrade to a higher network speed.

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About the author

Shujaa Imran
(24 articles published)

Shujaa Imran is a die-hard Apple user and loves helping others with their macOS and iOS issues. Apart from that, he is also a cadet pilot who wants to become a professional pilot one day.

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