Fix iPhone not connecting to AirPort Wi-Fi networks

WiFiIconXWhile there are many reasons why an iPhone will not connect to an AirPort base station or other Wi-Fi network, one may simply be an odd configuration of the AirPort’s password in the iPhone’s settings, but sometimes you might check or re-check your password and even though it is entered correctly, it may still give you errors and not connect.

If you find that one of your iOS devices is not connecting, then you can try to fix the situation in one of two ways. First, if you use Apple’s iCloud service for syncing keychains among your various devices, try disabling this for now (at least for the affected iOS device):

  1. Go to the iOS Settings.
  2. Tap the “iCloud” section.
  3. Tap Keychain and turn off the Keychain feature.

After doing this, go to the Wi-Fi settings, tap the “i” symbol next to your Wi-Fi network, and then tap the option to Forget This Network. Following this, try re-joining the Wi-Fi network.

Pre-shared key in AirPort Utility

Select the pre-shared key that is listed here, copy it, and then e-mail or message it to yourself for use on your iOS device.

Another approach you can try for getting your iPhone back on your Wi-Fi network, is to copy the WPA pre-shared key for the AirPort Base Station and use this as your Wi-Fi password. This was the way MacIssues reader Ian fixed this problem, after finding his iPhone 4 no longer connected to his home Base Station. While all other iOS and Mac OS devices connected, his iPhone simply would not connect. Ian’s solution to the problem was as follows:

  1. Open AirPort Utility on a Mac that is connecting properly.
  2. Double-click the base station and choose “Show Passwords” from the panel that appears.
  3. In the drop-down window, select the WPA Pre-Shared Key for the AirPort and copy it using Command-C.
  4. Use Messages or E-mail to send yourself the shared key.
  5. Access the key on your iOS device and select and copy it.
  6. Go to the Wi-Fi settings and forget your current Wi-Fi network as mentioned above.
  7. Select the Wi-Fi network, and in the password window that appears, tap the password field and choose “Paste” to enter your copied key.

After doing this, your iOS device should now connect to the Wi-Fi network.

Thanks to MacIssues reader “Ian” for writing in about this fix. Do you have a fix you would like to share? If so, then use the contact form on the right-hand side of the MacIssues page to send your suggestion in.

4 thoughts on “Fix iPhone not connecting to AirPort Wi-Fi networks

    1. Topher Kessler Post author

      Being that personal Wi-Fi networks are primarily only local services, the only relevance for the password or keys would be for those who are in range of the Wi-Fi broadcast. For everyone else, having the shared key or the Wi-Fi network password will not do a thing for them.

      However, ultimately sending any potentially private info in encrypted form would always be best, so you can use Messages, which is an encrypted form of communication.

  1. Jay Madd

    On the Airport Extreme settings go to Network tab and switch Router mode to “DHCP and NAT” from default mode “Off (Bridge mode)”. Recycle power and things should connect in a breeze.

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