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Fix your Mac’s spotty wireless connection after waking from sleep

Fix your Mac\'s spotty wireless connection after waking from sleep

Occasionally your Mac may decide it doesn’t want to connect to your wireless network via AirPort after you wake it from sleep. Other devices connect fine, so your router’s not the problem. Maybe starting over can help.

Over the past few months, this is one issue that has become increasingly annoying for me. I wake my MacBook Pro from sleep and can’t connect to the internet. It sees the wireless network, but that’s as far as it goes. Using Safari’s built-in network diagnostics tool usually gives me a 50/50 shot of getting it to work, but most of the time I end up needing to restart my router. Why? That’s an excellent question. Other Macs and my iPod touch are working flawlessly on the network, so why won’t this particular machine follow suit? Another excellent question — one that more than a few Mac users are also asking themselves.

Unfortunately, I don’t have the answer. Perhaps a networking guru could enlighten us in the comments of this article to help clear up the confusion. Nevertheless, I can offer a solution that seems to have worked for me. Hopefully anybody suffering from the same problem can find success resolving their troubles as well.

Fix AirPort connection on Mac after waking from sleep

To start off, go to the Network pane in System Preferences. Choose AirPort from the menu on the left if it’s not already selected and click the Advanced button.

Fix AirPort connection on Mac after waking from sleep

You should now see a list of your Preferred Networks. Find the one that is giving you headaches and remove it from the list. Once you have done so, click OK and then Apply in the System Preferences window.

Next, open Keychain Access (Applications > Utilities). Under the Keychains menu, select Login. Find the entry for your wireless network and delete it from the list. Select the System keychain and delete any remaining entries for your network there as well. Now that your wireless network has been erased from the system, you can restart your Mac.

Fix AirPort connection on Mac after waking from sleep

When it reboots you will have to find and re-enter all of your network information again. This primarily means your router’s password or security code. After everything has been set up, your Mac’s wireless internet connection should hopefully be much more reliable after waking from sleep in the future.

While this solution has worked for me and others, it is unfortunately not a guaranteed fix for everybody. It will work for some, but not all. If you have a related issue or perhaps an alternative fix, please feel free to let us know in the comments.

16 Comments Have Been Posted (Leave Your Response)

I usually use the Airport icon on the menu bar to Turn Airport Off. After restarting (turning the Airport On), the connection will be back again.

thanks, this worked great!

Best discussion on this issue I have seen. I have a similar problem on my brand new iMac ever since it came out of the box. Here is the problem restated – “iMac may fail to connect back to wireless network after wakeup from sleep. The AiportMenulet wheel spins round and round, rests, and then repeats forever”. Extended testing over 2 week period have pretty much ruled out improper network settings and my WiFi network. There is no cure in my case, including suggestions above. Once afflicted, the only remedy is system restart. Because of intermittent nature it is impossible to get resolution over the phone with Apple. My experience with computers tells me the problem is likely due to Airport hardware/firmware, system (OS X Version 10.6.1) drivers, or poor configuration management in Cupertino. My previous computer was an iBook G4 with latest version of Leopard and it never had the problem on same network. Therefore somehow related to Intel chipset and/or Snow Leopard. My guess is that you will see a lot of email traffic soon and Apple will find a fix, eventually.

I’m one of many who is experiencing a slow (to the point of no traffic at all) connections on the airport after sleep. Tried this, but didn’t do anything… Slow Leopard’s been around a while now, it’s about time Apple fixes this (btw, under windows on the same mac I have no issues with the airport).

Didn’t work for me :( I did these steps. There were no entries that I could see in the keychain utility, but I removed the wireless network at least and rebooted. perhaps adding restarting the modem/router to the list?

I have a PowerMac G5 and have recently hooked up a new router – Linksys WRT320N. When I wake up my computer and try to get online, it takes several attempts to reconnect – I am hard-wired to the router. I have already called Linksys and Comcast and they have no idea what’s happening. This did NOT happen with my old router. Any ideas? Thank you ~

I have this issue. Normally I right click on the airport icon (top right) and turn it off. Then i quit Safari. Then turn airport back on, then restart Safari. This normally works. Sometimes a window comes up asking for my wireless router’s password. I always cancel this.
I’m not sure if what I’m doing is a fix or it’s just the time that it takes to do this is allowing the connection.

I just got my new iMac 27″ and with OS X 10.6.4 and now 10.6.5 and I have the same issues described here.

Still under support so will see what I do with Apple Support.

Amazing to see this is still a problem almost a year after your post. I have this problem on my iMac 27 and have searched for a solution without any luck so far.

Thank you =). This worked perfectly on my GFs Macbook Pro 13″ 2011 with the newest OSX Lion (10.7.1).

Worked for me. Thank-you! This has been irritating me for months.

Worked for me too! When I rethink some steps it might have been a recent update on my mac. But what, remains the question …

This didn’t work for me.

My HD was almost full. I deleted some files – and now my wireless is faultless!

hi, this worked great on my iMac mid-2011. I had multiple Airport passwords stored in Keychain and deleting them all and restarting did the trick in the second and last step. Only removing preferred networks did not do anything for me.

Can”t thank you enough for posting this. Spent all day trying to figure this out and your solution was the only thing that worked!

Wow!! These posts are ancient, and would you believe that my brand new MacBook Air 13″ 256G has the same problem?? Just received my MB, yesterday, and it have spent much more time just trying to stay online than I have browsing………sometimes it works, sometimes it don’t!! Thoroughly disgusted!!