Do you find it impossible to access the internet on your iPhone despite seeing the Wi-Fi symbol on the status bar? Software-related glitches, conflicting settings, and corrupt configurations—either on the iOS device or the Wi-Fi router—often cause this issue.

Read on to learn about multiple ways to troubleshoot this problem and get your iPhone or back online.

Table of Contents
    Airplane mode icon

    1. Disable/Enable Wi-Fi

    It’s best to kick things off by eliminating possible glitches with the Wi-Fi module on your iPhone. You can do that by disabling and re-enabling Wi-Fi.

    Start by opening the Settings app and tapping Wi-Fi. Then, de-activate the switch next to Wi-Fi, wait 10 seconds, and reactivate it. Alternatively, you can try toggling Airplane Mode on, then off.

    Wi-Fi toggle switch

    2. Restart Router or Modem

    Have you tried restarting your router yet? Router-side issues are often the main reason that prevents devices from connecting to the internet, and a reboot usually is all it takes to resolve them.

    So, if the router is in an accessible area, just turn it off, wait for up to a minute, and turn it on. Then, reconnect to the wireless network and check if the problem recurs. You can also initiate a reboot after accessing the router’s control panel.

    Reboot modem window

    3. Restart Your iPhone

    The following fix involves restarting your iPhone. That’s the best way to fix problems with connectivity that originate from buggy system software.

    To do that, open the Settings app and go to General > Shut Down. Then, swipe the Power slider to the right, wait for 30 seconds, and hold the Side button until you see the Apple logo.

    Slide to power off screen

    4. Forget and Rejoin Network

    Another way to fix a Wi-Fi network without internet connectivity is to forget and join it again. First, open the Settings app and tap Wi-Fi. Next, tap the Info icon, and select Forget This Network. You can then rejoin the network from the main Wi-Fi screen.

    Forget This Network

    5. Check for Connectivity on Another Device

    Have you tried connecting to the same Wi-Fi network on another device? If you can access the internet that way, the problem is likely limited to your iPhone only. If not, it’s got something to do with the router. Move on with the rest of the fixes while skipping any that don’t apply.

    6. Check Date and Time

    Having the date and time set up incorrectly on your iPhone can also result in potential Wi-Fi-related issues. So, open the Settings app and tap General > Data & Time. Then, make sure the switch next to Set Automatically is active. If it already is, but the time appears incorrect, deactivate the option and manually set the correct date and time for your iPhone.

    Set Automatically toggle

    7. Sign Into Captive Network

    Various public Wi-Fi hotspots fall into the “captive network” category. You must sign into the network, enter a valid email address, or accept specific terms and conditions before accessing the internet. 

    Go to Settings > Wi-Fi, tap the Info icon next to the wireless network, and perform the required criteria to connect online. Ask around if you need help.

    Settings > Wi-Fi Info icon

    8. Disable Private MAC Address

    Starting iOS 14, your iPhone automatically masks its MAC (Media Access Control) address with a randomized string of 12 hexadecimal digits to improve privacy. However, some operators may restrict internet access despite connecting to a network unless you disable the private address.

    Go to Settings > Wi-Fi > Info (next to the problematic network) and turn off the switch next to Private Wi-Fi Address.

    Private W-Fi Address toggle

    9. Check MAC Filter List

    It’s also possible your iPhone is blocked from accessing the internet from the router itself. If you can access the router’s control panel, you can unblock it. 

    First, identify your iPhone’s private or actual MAC address by heading over to Settings > Wi-Fi > Info. Then, locate the MAC address filtering menu on your router’s control panel—it’s typically located under the Security section. If your iPhone MAC address appears, remove it. Or disable MAC address filtering.

    MAC Filter list

    10. Update Router

    Next up, try updating your router by looking for an Update tab or option on its control panel. If there’s an update pending, apply it and check if that restores internet connectivity on your iPhone.

    Update tab

    11. Use Google DNS

    Change the DNS settings for the wireless connection if the issue is limited to particular websites and apps only. For example, replacing the default DNS servers with Google DNS can significantly improve internet connectivity.

    Open the Settings app and tap Wi-Fi. Then, tap the Info icon next to the network, tap Configure DNS > Manual, and add the Google DNS servers— and—into the list under DNS Servers.

    Tap Configure DNS > Manual, and add the Google DNS servers— and—into the list under DNS Servers

    12. Disable Private Relay

    An iCloud+ feature, iCloud Private Relay boosts online privacy by encrypting and re-routing internet traffic through multiple servers. However, the feature is relatively new and tends to cause connectivity issues on both Wi-Fi and Cellular.

    To disable iCloud Private Relay, go to Settings > Apple ID > iCloud > Private Relay (Beta) and turn off the switch next to Private Relay (Beta).

    Settings > Apple ID > iCloud > Private Relay (Beta)

    13. Disable Low Data Mode & Low Power Mode

    Low Data Mode is a feature that conserves bandwidth on Wi-Fi connections by limiting automatic updates and background tasks. So, if the issue is limited to specific activities (such as Photos and Mail syncing), disable it and check if that makes a difference. 

    To do that, open the Settings app, tap Wi-Fi, tap the Info icon next to the wireless network, and turn off the switch next to Low Data Mode.

    Low Data Mode

    If you have a habit of always using Low Power Mode, you must also expect limited activity over Wi-Fi. To disable the feature, go to Settings > Battery and turn off the switch next to Low Power Mode.

    14. Reset All Network Settings

    If the issue persists, you must reset the network settings on your iPhone. That clears the DNS cache and also helps rule out broken Wi-Fi configurations in iOS from the equation. 

    To do that, open the Settings app and tap General > Transfer or Reset iPhone > Reset > Reset Network Settings. Then, enter the device passcode and tap Reset Network Settings to confirm. After the network reset, go to Settings > Wi-Fi and re-join the wireless network.

    Reset Network Settings

    15. Factory Reset Your Router

    Broken configurations and preferences on the router side can also cause issues. You can resolve that by resetting the router to factory defaults via the device’s control panel. Or, look for a physical Reset button. Here’s the complete guide to factory resetting a wireless router.

    Restore button

    Contact Your Internet Service Provider

    Did none of the Wi-Fi fixes above help? Don’t discount the fact that Wi-Fi problems could also be account-related. For example, you might have exceeded your monthly bandwidth or had a temporary block imposed due to a billing issue. The issue could even be a service outage. If you suspect that might be the case, check your account dashboard or contact your internet provider for support.