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How I fixed my Mac’s broken wireless and got back online today

How I fixed my Mac's broken wireless and got back online today

Immediately after upgrading to 10.6.3 last night, my MacBook Pro lost the ability to connect to the internet via WiFi. While a wired connection worked, wireless was apparently ravaged by the latest Mac OS X update.

I’m not sure if this is a widespread issue, but I know at least some other Mac users have experienced similar Airport related problems. Supposedly, installing Mac OS X 10.6.3 through the Software Update mechanism is more likely to cause trouble than manually downloading & installing the update from Apple’s website. Unfortunately, I went with the easier first method and ended up with a MacBook Pro that was showing itself as connected to my network with the correct IP addresses, yet refusing to access the internet. Both Safari and Firefox would hang for minutes with no response at all. I even tried connecting to another wireless network in a totally different location with no luck. It was a bit frustrating, to say the least.

If your Mac’s wireless won’t work or connect to the internet anymore, I may have come across a fix that could work for you – whether your problem was triggered by the 10.6.3 update or not. After trying everything else under the sun, here is what did the trick for me earlier today:

  1. Open System Preferences and click on the Network pane.
  2. Select Airport in the list to the left and click the minus button (-) below to temporarily delete it.
  3. Restart your Mac.
  4. Go to the Network section of System Preferences again, this time pressing the plus (+) button towards the bottom of the window.
  5. Select Airport from the Interface menu, leave “Airport” as the default name, and click Create.

Your Mac should now scan for and find your wireless network. Not only that, it should connect to it and let you browse the internet again. If not, I apologize for getting your hopes up – I’m just thinking what happened to work for my ailing MacBook Pro could be successful for others as well!

Is your Mac’s WiFi not working? Are you experiencing another issue after the 10.6.3 update? Share it in the comments below!

23 Comments Have Been Posted (Leave Your Response)

Same issue used to happen with me before 10.6.3. And I was fixing the trouble in the same manner, however, a restart step was not necessary.

Thanks for confirming this worked for you! I usually add the restart step out of habit and good practice after changes like this, but it’s good to know it isn’t required.

My wireless stopped working but in a different way. The icon was missing from the menu bar. It continuned to work for a little while, then after a wake from sleep, nothing. I restarted went into system preferences and checked the box for show icon on menu. Then everything worked again. 10.6.3 might not be so good.

Hi, I’m about to update from 10.6.2 to 10.6.3, I have a Macbook Pro middle ’09.
Just want to know wich MBP generation do you have ?
Maybe this problem occurs with a specific MBP’s generation ?

I have the previous generation MBP (right before the new ones introduced a couple weeks ago). Purchased in August 2009.

Thank you, this worked brilliant!!!

Fixed, great thanks. Just added 10.6.3 to iMac and
MacBookPro, laptop had lost wireless at home, all sorted. thank

Thank you so much! This actually worked for me. I had to look up this from my friend’s iPad because I couldn’t use my Internet. Helped so much! Thanks!

OMG can I marry you? you saved my stress level

You hit the nail on the head. Problem solved. Thank YOU!!

That is awesome! I had the same problem after my MBP cut out when the battery died. Tried everything to get the wifi to work again and this just did it!! Thank you!!!

THANK YOU!!!!!!! Saved me a lot of stress and money

Worked for me in Mac OS 10.8.1. Thank you!

This is the first thing that has worked for me! Weeks of frustration over this issue and my wifi is finally working again. Thank you so much!

really love your post and your effort but unfortauntly it didn’t work for me. it still came up with invalid password and after trying the process another two time now it’s just come up with connection failed.

my issues is exactly the same as outlined above, ive been using my wifi for two years and as soon as i upgraded to snow leopard it won’t connect to the wifi :(

Thank you so much Ant! I still have an old MacBook and this worked perfectly for me.

When I go to add a new interface “Airport” is not one of the options. Help?? I see firewire, ethernet, bluetooth, VPN, PPPoE, and something called 6 to 4, but no “airport”.

this was kind of last ditch hope as we have this issue for weeks now since 10.6.8.

nothing has worked. will connect wirelessly directly beside the modem and as soon as you leave the room and try to browse your connection is gone. I have searched the internet repeatedly to no avail :(

i just followed your instructions, however, after deleting airport then restarting and pressing the ‘+’ to re add the airport, it wasnt an option!! only bluetooth, firewire, ethernet, bluetooth DUN, VPN, pPPoE and ‘6 to 4’ ????

Worked on my 2008 Macbook.
Should have tried this two weeks ago! Fixed in minutes. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Hello Ant

What luck to find your post which has instantly fixed my desktop imac running snow leopard. Wi-fi as lost after a software update and nothing I tried could restore it. It kept telling me that airport was OFF. And to turn it ON. But of course it would not turn on.

Thank you so much for posting this fix – everything working now – brilliant !

Oh dear ……it’s gone again. After a shut down or sleep exactly the same thing is happening. I have restarted twice but there must be a fix for this – any ideas ??

i tried the same thing but came up with the same problems as rachel and izzie up here under the comments. i had an old macbook and wanted to upgrade to the latest version available to this notebook which is the snow leopard. but the exact same problem occurred after upgrading. did anyone solve the issue?