Mac Tip: Prioritizing Your WiFi Connections

Tired of your Mac always connecting to the wrong WiFi network? Does your Mac connect to the neighborhood WiFi network before it connects to your home network? Is the downstairs Starbucks’ WiFi connecting all the time instead of your office WiFi? If you’re facing these or similar issues, fortunately there’s a very easy fix: setting your Mac’s WiFi priority order.

We’ve prepared a quick video showing you how to do this (apologies in advance for the lame voiceover work), but if videos aren’t your thing here’s a quick list of the steps:

  1. Select System Preferences… from the Apple menu
  2. Select Network
  3. Select WiFi in the left sidebar
  4. Click on Advanced to see the list of previously joined WiFi networks
  5. Click and drag the names of the networks into the order of your choice

You’ll want to move your most commonly used network to the top of the list, so it will be the first network your Mac tries to connect to when you turn it on. You can then prioritize networks further down the line, moving all the most frequently used WiFi networks towards the top of the list. This should streamline the connection process to whatever WiFi network you use often.

Old networks that you’re never going to join again (former jobs, that random coffee shop in Idaho that you were in once, etc.) should be deleted from the list so that no attempts are made to join them.

UPDATE: Unfortunately there’s no corresponding functionality built into iOS, where instead network priority is granted based on alphabetical order (of all things). If you’re constantly having problems on iOS with your WiFi connecting to something other than the network you want, the quickest fix is to rename your network “AAAAWiFi” or something like that, so it hits first in the alphabetical list.

Here’s another potential way to fix it, with the WiFi Priority app. Haven’t used it myself, but it could resolve your issues by preventing specific networks from auto-connecting. If you want to give it a go, here’s the link (iOS App Store). If you give it a try, please share your experiences in the comments below.

By | 2016-10-12T22:17:40+00:00 April 13th, 2016|Categories: Mac Tip, Networking, WiFi|Tags: , , |1 Comment
  • Elizabeth

    This is GREAT ! Been having this exact issue. How about on iPhone / iPad, is there a fix for that ?

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