What To Do When Your iPad Won’t Recognize WiFi Networks

Picture it:  Your morning commute and it’s before a single cup of coffee.  You are still a bit groggy and the last thing you want to deal with is an iPad that will not connect to WiFi.  Sure, you could just flip on the 3G but guess what? You opted out of that model and decided instead on the WiFi-only model.  Fair enough.  Regardless, you can’t connect to any Wireless network and you want answers before you decide to experiment and see if the iPad will in fact act as a Frisbee.  Fear not, we have you covered here on TCGeeks.

Common Networking Issues On The iPad

The iPad is pretty robust.  If you care for your iPad in a sensible way, it will be your best friend for life.  But sometimes things just get weird.  Take WiFi for example.  There are times when you can literally lay you iPad on top of your wireless router and it still won’t see it.  Then there are times when you are connected and working away only to look up and notice that you lost your WiFi connection for no apparent reason.

Yes, the iPad can have issues recognizing Wireless networks.

In any case, it’s frustrating and of course it will happen at the most inconvenient time.  I’ve had it happen while trying to send an important email.  I’ve had it happen when I have just a few minutes to get something done.  If you are in this boat then here are some things you can do to solve the issues FAST.

5 Things You Can Do To Fix iPad Wireless Issues

1. You can go to Settings> Airplane Mode and tap the slider to turn it “On”.  Wait a few seconds and then tap it again to turn it “Off”.  This will actually clear up some networking issues in a few cases. It’s a fast, easy fix.

2.  Go To Settings > General > Wi-Fi and tap the slider to turn it “Off”.  Wait a few seconds and then tap to turn it “On”.  At this point it should show you a listing of the available wireless networks.

3.  Go to Settings > General > Reset  and tap “Reset Network Settings”

4.  Reboot the iPad.  Hold down the “Home” button and the “Sleep” button and wait for the red button to appear and then slide it over to power it off.  Wait a few seconds then press the “Sleep” button on the top of the iPad to turn it back on.

5.  This great tip is from one of our readers.  He found out that some networks will not connect if “AutoFill” is turned on for Safari.  So if your iPad can actually see the network but not connect then go to Settings > Safari  and turn off Autofill if it is on. (thank you Tim for this great tip)

One of these 5 things should solve the issue.  If they do not then it might be time to troubleshoot a little deeper. You can check out our brand new iPad troubleshooting page for some great articles and resources.  Most importantly, don’t give up – eventually you will get the issue solved!

Share Your Thoughts

Do you have any recommendations for things that help you when you get stuck?  Leave them in the comments below.

Originally posted 2010-10-05 10:07:17.


  1. Thanks for bringing this up. Occasionally this will happen to me. The weird thing is that it will show a strong connection to a particular network, but still not access the web. I will try these things next time.

    1. Shane says:

      You are more than welcome Eric! Yeah, I can’t claim to have the very same issues since I am running iOS 4.2 Beta…so all bets are off for me ;-) However, I occasionally to get the problem where I have a connection but my signal “bars” are gone!

    2. I have exactly the same problem. It shows a perfect signal. I turn it off, on, do the Airplane mode. But i’ll try the Autofill thing and the network restart options.

      1. Chris – definitely try that because anytime I have had issues the network restart and autofill fixed the issues right away.

  2. Tim says:

    I had a similar problem as Eric. After doing some extensive searching on Google I discovered that some networks won’t connect if you have “AutoFill” turned on. If your iPad can see the network but can’t connect, go to Settings, Safari and check to see if AutoFill is turned on. If so, turn it off and trying connecting. No reboot is necessary. I leave Safari’s Autofill off all the time now.

    By the way, the Fill function on Atomic web browser does not interfere with the network settings and it’s a much better browser than Safari.

    1. Shane says:

      Tim! Thank you very much for the awesome information. In fact, I’m going to edit this post and add that in. I never even thought of that being an issue so it’s great for people to have another troubleshooting thing they can try.

    2. Shane says:

      Post Edited and your great tip added in!

  3. Perry says:

    I had terrible connection problems until I ditched the Apple iPad case. It seems to block the wifi signal. I kept disconnecting every ten minutes until I bought a new macally bookstand case which is open at the top and bottom.

  4. Shane says:

    Hey there Perry – thanks for the comment, I had not heard of that issue before but now that I think about it, the Apple case (which I don’t use) does wrap around the entire antennae so, perhaps that was an issue all along!

  5. rbudj says:

    #3 worked for me. iPad would show network name (SSID) but could not connect to network. Thanks.

    1. Shane says:

      Thanks for letting me know what worked…much appreciated!

  6. [...] (Read the entire TC Geeks post here.) [...]

  7. karen says:

    I have been able to connect to our WiFi for months with both my iPad and iTouch. Just the other day BOTH are not able to connect… but both recognize the network. This only happens at home. I can connect every other place. Suggestions? I already tried the ideas listed in this forum. Help…

  8. Soenke says:

    I faced similar problems last year when I bought the iPad1. One advise in one of help forum was to switch of auto adjust in the brightness settings. Did not work for me but obviously for others. What my connection issues solved permanently was to upgarde the firmware of my wireless router to the latest than available release. Since then I never faced any WiFi connection issues with my iPad anymore. Hope it helps.

  9. Ken says:

    Have tried it all. Nothing. Bought a new iPad 2. Worked fine. Then Apple upgraded the software. Now nada. Is there a way to bump back to before this latest update? Maybe then. Thanks for any response. We’re pretty aggravated having to use cellular minutes up while in the same room.

  10. kelly says:

    Thank you for these tips! I worked my way down until I tried Number 3… resetting…….and now it hooks up………I will try this on my iphone because it is doing the same thing!

    Thanks again!

  11. jwalt7 says:

    I tried these but none helped. My ipad will not recongnize my home wifi all of a sudden (have been using it for over a year without problem). My iphone gets it. When I try to join on my ipad, and enter my password, the join key turns off as soon as I enter a letter. And my wifi tracker app does not recognize my wifi on my ipad but the same app on my iphone recongnizes the wifi. Crazy. What to do?

    1. Alan says:

      Apple had to have done this on purpose for business reasons with AT&T and Verizon, everyone hears how terrible the wifi is on ipads so they sign up for 3g or whatever g. I mean even if it was Microsoft tablet, it is completely unacceptable for someone to put out a product that preforms like this.

  12. kerry says:

    have been having problems connecting to internet, but email would work fine i did all that was suggested and its working now …thankyou so much !

  13. Joan says:

    My IPAD 2 says it’s connecting and at the upper left has a little sign that it says it is, but when I go into things it says that you need wireless connection to access, but it doesn’t let me in. I’ve tried: rebooting, and a few other things, but nothing works. It used to work, when I initially got it, but for some reason it has stopped. It worked 3 months ago when I got it, but it hasn’t worked since a few weeks ago. I am at a loss.

  14. chris says:

    my dad got an ipad from his employer and it won’t let him connect to any wifi networks. It only let’s him run off of the VPN. Please help!!

  15. mike says:

    none of these options work for me either, ipad2, all other laptops in house no problem. it shows a strong 3 bar signal, but no connection!!!

  16. Jenny says:

    After updated my IPad 2 with the new IO5 my WIFI wouldn’t connect. I was able to connect to open WIFI, but not to my own safe WIFI. The IPad could see the network but not connect to it. I tried everything until I read your post & I found that reset network setting was my solution. I checked Tim’s solution 1st but I didn’t have this problem. So I went to reset network… Thank you so much. I don’t know why Apple doesn’t have this tip on its website. I spent about an hour surfing through it to see if there was any solution to this problem, but not…

  17. susan says:

    thank you!! The reset network setting worked for me…even tried to restore the factory settings and that didn’t work, but thankfully your suggestions worked. IPad is not even 1 month old.

  18. Tim says:

    Thank you for this.

    Every day I connect to my work network and in the evening to my home network – no problem.

    However, this evening, my iPad wouldn’t connect to my home network. Don’t know why but it was solution 5 that sorted it for me.

    Thanks once again.

  19. Paul says:

    I’ve tried every one of these suggestions and none of them worked. I says I’m connected to the network but will not let me use the internet. DO i go trade this in for a PC laptop or what?

    1. Alan says:

      Nah, I have the same problems as you with my iPad but my Macbook works fine.

  20. Sascha says:

    Thank you SO MUCH! 1week without wifi and tip No 1 just fixed it in SSSWWWOOOSSSHHH time!

  21. Linda DeSanto says:

    Thank you so much!! I was going crazy because we had Verizon and switched to Xfinity and started having connection problems on my ipad II. After hours on the phone with tech people who couldn’t help I went on Ask and that led me to TCGeeks. I did everything you listed above and it worked. Thanks for not letting me think I was crazy!!!!

  22. Michelle says:

    Unplugging my wireless router and plugging it back in worked for me.

  23. Tammy says:

    Yay! The reset worked. I really didn’t want to go through the hassle, but it worked when nothing else did. Thanks!

    1. Holly says:

      I’ve tried all of these and none of them worked for me. The WiFi catcher sees my network but tells me my password is “incorrect.” I’ve managed to verify the router password with my ISP, and my laptop (PC) is working just fine on WiFi. What can I do next?

  24. [...] (Read the entire TC Geeks post here.) [...]

  25. Lee says:

    Sometimes the iPad will start recognizing WIFI networks after a sync.

  26. Wonderful blog! I found it while searching on Yahoo News.
    Do you have any suggestions on how to get listed in Yahoo News?

    I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Thank you

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  28. […] How To Fix Common iPad WiFi Issues | TCGeeks – You are still a bit groggy and the last thing you want to deal with is an iPad that will not connect to WiFi. … connect. I was able to connect to open WIFI, …… […]

  29. […] How To Fix Common iPad WiFi Issues | TCGeeks – What To Do When Your iPad Won’t Recognize WiFi … You are still a bit groggy and the last thing you want to deal with is an iPad that will not connect to WiFi …… […]

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