What to Do When Your Mac’s Wi-Fi Will not Join After Waking From Sleep

Few things kill productivity faster than a Mac that isn't acting the way it should. Technology can be unpredictable, and errors related to software and hardware are common. One problem you may have experienced is that a Mac won't connect to Wi-Fi after waking it up from sleep.

While the problem doesn't completely prevent your device from joining your wireless network, there may be a delay or you may have to connect manually. The problem can be minor, but it can get in the way of a quick workflow, so let's go through the troubleshooting steps that will fix the Wi-Fi sleep / wake error.

1. Restart your router

Restarting your router is a simple, and often effective, way of troubleshooting a network-related problem. Due to the simplicity of the step, we recommend trying this first. If a router restart fixes the problem, you have saved yourself a lot of time and effort. If the problem persists, you haven't lost much of your ground.

To effectively restart your router, you should unplug the device for about 30 seconds before plugging it back in and turning it on. The startup process can take some time, and you will usually be notified by certain indicator lights when your connection is restored.

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Related: Internet Problems? How to reset your router

Once you're back on the WiFi, you can test to see if restarting fixed the problem. If not, you should move on to the next troubleshooting step. You should also restart your Mac, if you have not done so since you started experiencing the problem.

2. Check for software updates

Installing all available software updates should be an early troubleshooting step for almost any problem. Apple and other developers are constantly collecting data on reported issues and releasing patches accordingly. If you haven't turned automatic updates on, here are steps to see what's available:

  1. Navigate to System settings> Software update.

  2. Wait for macOS to check for updates.

  3. click Update now when available.

Large files may take some time to download and may require a restart to complete the installation. Once your software is up to date, you can test and monitor whether the update has fixed the problem. If not, then you should move on to more specific troubleshooting.

3. Check the WiFi settings and the service order

Often times, if the Wi-Fi is slow to connect after waking up from hibernation, the problem lies in its priorities. For example, if you're using other connection methods such as Ethernet or Thunderbolt, macOS may not give your wireless protocol priority, causing a delay in connecting. Fortunately, you can set the service order with a few simple steps:

  1. Navigate to System Settings> Network.

  2. Press the More (…) at the bottom of the side menu.

  3. Choose Define service order.

  4. Draw Wireless Internet access to the top of the list and click OK.

  5. click Use.

Now macOS will prioritize your Wi-Fi protocol over other options, which can improve your connection speed after waking up from sleep. When you're there, be sure to check that out too Join this network automatically is ticked under your network name.

4. Clean up or rearrange your preferred network list

An overloaded list of preferred networks is a common cause of Wi-Fi connection delays after your Mac wakes up from sleep, as macOS prioritizes the earliest entries first. To clean up your list of your preferred networks, do the following:

  1. Navigate to System Settings> Network.

  2. click Progressive.

  3. Choose Wireless Internet access Menu tab.

  4. Drag your main network to the beginning of the Preferred networks perform. You can also delete any unwanted entries.

  5. click OK.

  6. click Use.

At this point in the troubleshooting process, there is a good chance that you have solved your WiFi connection problem. If not, don't despair because we still have a few more steps to try.

5. Try a new network location

If you have tried to optimize your network settings without success, you may need to reset your settings. Don't worry, this isn't a drastic step and you can easily restore your previous settings at any time. You simply create a new network location that contains a new batch of settings.

To create a new network location in macOS, do the following:

  1. Navigate to System Settings> Network.

  2. Click the menu box next to Location.

  3. Choose Edit locations.

  4. Press the Plus (+) Button.

  5. Enter a location name.

  6. click complete.

  7. click Use.

Wi-Fi and other connections will be temporarily disconnected when the new settings are inserted, but everything should reconnect automatically. Once you're back up and running, you can test whether the new location has fixed the problem. If for any reason you need to move to a different network location, you can do so from the same page Location Menu.

6. Test on a different network and use macOS Recovery

In most cases, troubleshooting in macOS will fix your WiFi connection problem. However, sometimes the problem isn't because a Mac is slow to connect, but rather a router delaying the connection. One way to know for sure is to test your Mac on a different network. In general, this is the fastest and easiest way to set up a WiFi hotspot on your mobile device.

If the problem does not occur on a different network, you will need to troubleshoot your router to identify the source of the error.

Additionally, booting from the macOS recovery partition and testing from there is a great way to further isolate the problem. Recovery is done outside of the main operating system (OS), which means there shouldn't be software bugs that would normally affect your device.

Related: A Complete Guide to macOS Recovery: Uses

If everything works fine during the recovery, an unidentified problem in your main operating system is likely causing the problem and requires further troubleshooting.

Use a logical troubleshooting process

You can temporarily fix a Mac that won't connect to Wi-Fi after waking up from sleep by either waiting or connecting manually. However, those of us who need our tools to run smoothly will not be satisfied with the loss of productivity.

Whenever troubleshooting a problem, always try the most basic steps first, such as: B. turning your devices on and off and updating the software. If simple solutions don't fix the problem, you can move on to more specific troubleshooting.

Isolation is key to solving most software and hardware problems, and following a logical process is the most efficient and effective approach. Once you've identified the root cause of a problem, you can come up with a workable solution. In the worst case scenario, your Mac may require a complete operating system reinstall or hardware repair.

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About the author

Matt Moore
(35 published articles)

Matt is an Australian freelance writer with a degree in creative and critical writing. Before his studies he worked in technical support and gained valuable insights into the technology and its users. His real passion is storytelling and he hopes one day he will be able to write a well-published novel.

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By Matt Moore

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