How to fix an Apple iPhone that won’t connect to WiFi

There are many reasons as to why your iPhone won’t connect to WiFi. The underlying cause can be software-related, if not, due to a damaged network component. Outlined below are recommended workarounds and potential solutions to a similar issue on an iPhone. You can use these methods to rule out software-related factors that might have prevented your iPhone from connect to a WiFi network.

In this post, we will consider every possibility and rule them out one by one until we can determine what the problem is and hopefully fix it. Based on experience, this is just a minor issue that you can fix on your own without having to make an appointment at the Genius Bar. So, read on to learn what options to try in case your iPhone won’t connect to WiFi.

For iPhone owners who found our site while trying to find a solution, try to see if your phone is one of the devices we support. If it is, then visit the troubleshooting page for that device, browse through it to find issues that are similar with yours and feel free to use our solutions and workarounds. However, if you still need our help after that, then fill up our iPhone issues questionnaire and hit submit to contact us.

Troubleshooting iPhone that won’t connect to WiFi

Before troubleshooting, make sure that you’re close to the wireless router/modem. Sometimes, the phone won’t be able to connect to WiFi if it’s way too far from the wireless access point. If moving closer to the wireless router/modem doesn’t help, then you can try these methods to rule out other possible causes.

If you are facing this problem after getting a notice from your carrier regarding network outages and other service advisories, then there’s no need to troubleshoot because the problem is not on your end. Otherwise, you may begin to troubleshooting your iPhone.

First solution: Reboot your iPhone (soft reset).

Your iPhone may be just experiencing some random issues affecting its wireless functions. To rule this out, performing a soft reset or reboot on the phone can help. It dumps junk files including corrupt network data that are stored among other network caches. Rebooting an iPhone can be done in different ways depending on the model or variant you are using. Just refer to the following procedures, if ever you need help in the process.

Follow these steps if you’re using an iPhone X or later variants:

  1. Press and hold the Side button and either Volume button until the Power off slider appears.
  2. Drag the slider to power off your iPhone completely.
  3. Then after 30 seconds, press the Side button again to turn your iPhone back on.

If you’re using an iPhone 8, 8 Plus, or earlier versions, use these steps to reboot or soft reset:

  1. Press and hold the Top or Side button until the Power off slider appears.
  2. Drag the slider to power off the phone completely.
  3. After about 30 seconds, press and hold the Top or Side button again to turn the phone back on.

When your phone is finished rebooting, head back to Settings-> WiFi menu and then try to connect to your WiFi network again. If your iPhone still won’t connect to WiFi, then try the next solution.

Second solution: Turn WiFi off and on.

If the previous method doesn’t solve the problem and that your iPhone still won’t connect to WiFi, then your next option is to toggle WiFi off and then back on again. Doing so helps refresh your phone’s wireless functions and thereby eliminates any associated errors. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. From the Home screen, tap Settings.
  2. Select WiFi and then toggle the switch to turn WiFi OFF.
  3. Reboot/soft reset your iPhone.
  4. Then head back to Settings-> WiFi menu.
  5. Toggle the WiFi switch to turn it back ON.

Once WiFi is enabled, retry connecting to your WiFi network. If the network you’re trying to connect to is secured, be sure to enter the correct password for network access to be granted. Try to see if the problem is fixed after this. If it still not won’t connect to WiFi, try the next solution.

Third solution: Toggle Airplane Mode on and off.

Another simple old trick that has helped many iPhone users who have dealt with different types of wireless connectivity issues is the so-called Airplane mode trick. If you wish to try your luck in this tweak, then here’s how it’s done:

  1. Go to Settings-> Airplane Mode menu.
  2. Then toggle the Airplane Mode switch to turn ON. Doing so disables the phone’s wireless radios.
  3. While Airplane Mode is turned ON, reboot/soft reset your iPhone.
  4. Then head back to Settings-> Airplane Mode menu.
  5. Toggle the Airplane Mode switch to turn it OFF again.

After turning Airplane Mode off, enable WiFi from Settings then join or connect to your WiFi network.

Fourth solution: Forget WiFi networks on your iPhone.

Corrupt WiFi networks can also be the underlying cause. To make sure that this isn’t causing you trouble connecting to WiFi, forget/delete all saved WiFi networks from your iPhone including the one that you’re attempting to connect to. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. From your Home screen, tap Settings.
  2. Select WiFi. Make sure that WiFi is turned ON so that you can view all WiFi networks available.
  3. Then tap on the information (i) icon next to the name of the WiFi network that you want to forget.
  4. After forgetting all saved WiFi networks, turn WiFi OFF then reboot your iPhone.
  5. As soon as your phone boots up, head back to Settings-> WiFi menu and then toggle the switch to turn WiFi back ON.
  6. Tap to select the WiFi network that you want to use.
  7. Then tap Join or Connect.

Be sure to enter the correct WiFi password. Forgetting the WiFi allows you to connect to your WiFi network as if it’s the first time. With the network already deleted in your device, let it reconnect to it. If it still won’t connect to WiFi, then move on to the next procedure.

Fifth solution: Update carrier settings on your iPhone.

Carrier settings updates that are rolled out by your carrier may also contain the required solution. These updates are usually pushed to address or eliminate network-related issues on certain devices. Some carrier updates are mandatory while others are optional. Mandatory updates are those updates that are automatically installed on the phone without you even knowing. Optional updates on the other hand are those updates that require manual installation.

If possible, use Cellular Data to connect to the Internet for a few minutes. Once you’re connected, try to check for carrier updates. If there is, then update carrier settings on your iPhone.

  • To check, go to Settings-> General-> About menu and then navigate to the Carrier section. If new carrier update is available, you should see a message that says so.

Read and review any notifications then follow the onscreen instructions to update carrier settings on your iPhone.

If you were able to update your iPhone’s carrier settings, reboot it to apply the recent changes and then see if you can now connect to WiFi.

Sixth solution: Reset network settings on your iPhone.

Network-related problems that could not be remedied by the initial procedures can be dealt with by resetting the network settings on your phone. This reset clears out all your current network configurations including saved WiFi and Bluetooth connections, APNs and server settings, and other relevant information. Any error attributed to invalid or incorrect network configurations will also be eliminated in the process. If you wish to try it, then just follow these steps:

  1. Tap Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Select General.
  3. Scroll down and tap on Reset.
  4. Select the option to Reset network settings.
  5. Enter your device passcode when asked to continue.
  6. Then tap the option to confirm network settings reset.

Wait for the phone to finish resetting and then restarts. After it boots up, go back to Settings-> WiFi menu and then retry to connect to your WiFi network. If your iPhone still won’t connect to WiFi, then you have no other choice but to restore your device.

Seventh solution: Erase your iPhone and restore its factory defaults through iTunes.

What you’re dealing with could be a complex error affecting the phone’s wireless functions. Since the problem persists after exhausting all prior methods, your next option would be a full system reset. This may be the only way to solve the problem especially if fatal system errors are to blame. To get rid of such errors, the phone must be wiped out completely. Wiping the iPhone means that all your iPhone data including saved contacts, downloads, customized settings, and personal information are erased. And for this reason, backing up files would be necessary. Since you can’t connect to WiFi, you will need to use iTunes so that you can back up your files on your computer’s storage via iTunes.

To get started, you will need to secure a Mac or Windows computer that has the latest version of iTunes app in it. The computer must also have Internet access so that iTunes can access the Apple server to download the latest software version available for your iPhone after the reset. Once you have the equipment ready, proceed with these steps:

  1. If you haven’t already, launch or open iTunes app on your computer.
  2. Connect your iPhone to the computer using the Apple-supplied cable or Lightning cable that came with it.
  3. If prompted to enter your device passcode or Trust This Computer, simply follow the onscreen instructions to proceed.
  4. Select your iPhone when it shows up in iTunes.
  5. Navigate to the Summary section, then click the button to Restore [iPhone]. You may also opt to back up files from your iPhone before restoring it. Just click the Back Up iPhone button to do so.
  6. Finally, if prompted with a warning message, click the Restore button to confirm.

This will prompt iTunes to start wiping your iPhone and then download the latest software available for your device. Just wait until the reset is finished and once it’s done, you can proceed with the initial setup process. Then use the start-up wizard to set up WiFi and other key features of your iPhone automatically.

Among other last options you can try on if a factory reset doesn’t solve the problem would be a recovery mode restore and DFU mode restore. These iOS restores are carried out through iTunes on a computer. With these methods, you can repair major system errors on the phone or restore it from a previous backup if needed.

A more detailed walkthrough on how to perform a recovery mode restore and DFU mode restore can be found on this site’s tutorials section.

Last resort: Reboot/power cycle the router/modem.

If the problem continues after performing all the aforementioned solutions, chances are that the modem/router is at fault. Like other electronic devices, modems and routers also give into minor firmware crashes. And when this happens, various types of Internet problems can occur. To make sure that this isn’t what’s barring your iPhone from connecting to WiFi, power cycle or reboot your wireless router/modem. Here’s how:

  1. Turn off your wireless router or modem as you normally do.
  2. While it’s turned off, unplug its AC adapter from the power source/outlet and keep it that way for about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  3. After the elapsed time, plug it back in and turn it on.
  4. Wait until its WiFi signal indicator stabilized.

If you’ve previously set your iPhone to auto-connect, it should try to re-establish WiFi connection itself. Otherwise, you will need to head back to Settings-> WiFi menu and then enable the switch to connect to your WiFi network.

Does your iPhone still won’t connect to WiFi?

Performing the above solutions is usually enough to rule out the common software-related factors that would prevent your iPhone from connecting to WiFi. But if these don’t yield to a positive outcome, then the problem is either on the hardware if not due to some technical issues on your Internet service provider’s end. In that case, contact your carrier/ISP to escalate the problem and to verify the current network status.

If the problem started after installing an iOS update and it did persist after performing the above solutions, report the issue to Apple Support so that they can make further assessments on their end. Should this be confirmed a post-update network bug, then a dedicated fix patch is needed.

Meanwhile, if you suspect that the problem is with your wireless router or modem in use, try to update its firmware. If you’re not sure how it’s done, you can ask help from the device manufacturer or contact your Internet service provider for further assistance. Your modem/router may need to be reset or re-provisioned in order to be fixed. Carriers or ISPs usually have some dedicated tools to reset modems and routers remotely.

Alternatively, you can bring your network equipment to the nearest authorized service center in your area and have it scrutinized by a technician for hardware damage.

I hope that we’ve been able to help you fix your iPhone that won’t connect to WiFi. We would appreciate it if you helped us spread the word so please share this post if you found it helpful. Thank you so much for reading!