How to connect to a Wi-Fi network

Updated: 09/30/2020 by Computer Hope
WiFi logo

Accessing a Wi-Fi network for Internet access allows you to use your computer or mobile device to work, find information online, communicate with others, or play a game. If you have a Windows or macOS computer, smartphone, or tablet, select a link below for instructions to connect to a Wi-Fi network.

Connect a computer to Wi-Fi

Dell Latitude D610 laptop

To connect a computer to a Wi-Fi network, it must have a wireless network adapter installed. Most laptops come with a built-in wireless network adapter, but desktop computers usually do not and require one to be installed.

To connect your computer to a Wi-Fi network, select your computer type below, and follow the instructions.

Windows computer

  1. In the Windows notification area, click the network connections Windows 10 network connections in notification area icon.
  2. In the window that opens, select the SSID, or name, of the Wi-Fi network you want to connect to and click the Connect button.

Select SSDI and connect to Wi-Fi network

  1. If the Wi-Fi network is Secured or protected, you are prompted to enter a network security key or (Wi-Fi password). Enter the security key for the Wi-Fi network and click Next.
Caution

Information sent over an unprotected Wi-Fi network (one that does not require a password) could be intercepted by a malicious third party. We recommend only using password-protected networks to safeguard yourself and your information.

  1. If the security key you entered is correct, your computer connects to the Wi-Fi network.
Tip

To automatically connect to the Wi-Fi network, click the checkbox next to Connect automatically in step 2 above.

Note

If you're connecting to a hotel, restaurant, retail store, or another public Wi-Fi network, you may be required to accept some terms and conditions first.

macOS computer

  1. In the macOS menu bar, click the network connections macOS Wi-Fi disabled icon in the menu bar or macOS Wi-Fi enabled icon in the menu bar icon, depending on whether Wi-Fi is disabled or enabled.
  2. If Wi-Fi is disabled, in the drop-down menu that appears, select the Turn Wi-Fi On option.
  3. In the same drop-down menu, click the SSID or name of the Wi-Fi network you want to connect to from the list.
  4. If the Wi-Fi network is Secured or protected, you are prompted to enter a password. After you've entered the password, click Join.
Caution

Information sent over an unprotected Wi-Fi network (one that does not require a password) could be intercepted by a malicious third party. We recommend only using password-protected networks to safeguard yourself and your information.

  1. If the password you entered is correct, your computer connects to the Wi-Fi network.
Note

If you're connecting to a hotel, restaurant, retail store, or another public Wi-Fi network, you may be required to accept some terms and conditions first.

Connect a smartphone or tablet to Wi-Fi

Apple iPhone

Nearly all smartphones and tablets have a built-in wireless network adapter, allowing you to connect to a Wi-Fi network almost anywhere. Select the type of smartphone or tablet you use from the list below and follow the steps to connect to a Wi-Fi network.

Android smartphone or tablet

  1. Swipe down from the top of the screen.
  2. Press and hold your finger on the Wi-Fi Android Wi-Fi symbol icon until the screen with additional Wi-Fi options is displayed.
  3. Tap the Use Wi-Fi option to turn on Wi-Fi.
  4. In the list of Wi-Fi networks, tap the SSID or name of the Wi-Fi network to which you want to connect.
  5. If the Wi-Fi network is Secured or protected, you are prompted to enter a password. After you've entered the password, tap Join.
Caution

Information sent over an unprotected Wi-Fi network (one that does not require a password) could be intercepted by a malicious third party. We recommend only using password-protected networks to safeguard yourself and your information.

  1. If the password you entered is correct, your device connects to the Wi-Fi network.

or

  1. Swipe up from the bottom of the phone twice, and locate Settings in the list of installed apps.
  2. Tap the Settings app.
  3. Tap the Connections, Network & Internet, Wi-Fi, or Wireless & Networks option, depending on the version of Android and type of device.
  4. Make sure the Wi-Fi switch is in the Google toggle on.position.
  5. In the list of Wi-Fi networks, tap the SSID or name of the Wi-Fi network to which you want to connect.
  6. If the Wi-Fi network is Secured or protected, you are prompted to enter a password. After you've entered the password, tap Connect.
Caution

Information sent over an unprotected Wi-Fi network (one that does not require a password) could be intercepted by a malicious third party. We recommend only using password-protected networks to safeguard yourself and your information.

  1. If the password you entered is correct, your device connects to the Wi-Fi network.
Note

If you're connecting to a hotel, restaurant, retail store, or another public Wi-Fi network, you may be required to accept some terms and conditions first.

iPhone or iPad

  1. Swipe down from the top-right of the screen.
  2. Press and hold your finger on the Wi-Fi iOS Wi-Fi symbol icon until the screen with four to six icons is displayed.

Wi-Fi options on iOS

  1. Tap the Wi-Fi Not Connected icon, so that it turns blue and changes to "Wi-Fi Searching."
  2. Press and hold your finger on the blue Wi-Fi Searching icon until the list of Wi-Fi networks is displayed.
  3. Tap the SSID, or name, of the Wi-Fi network to which you want to connect.

Connect to Wi-Fi on an iOS device

  1. If the Wi-Fi network is Secured or protected, you are prompted to enter a password. After you've entered the password, tap Join.
Caution

Information sent over an unprotected Wi-Fi network (one that does not require a password) could be intercepted by a malicious third party. We recommend only using password-protected networks to safeguard yourself and your information.

  1. If the password you entered is correct, your device connects to the Wi-Fi network.

or

  1. Access the Settings app on your device.
  2. On the Settings screen, tap the Wi-Fi option.
  3. Make sure the Wi-Fi toggle is switched to the on iOS toggle On position position.
  4. In the Networks list, tap the SSID, or name, of the Wi-Fi network to which you want to connect.

Connect to Wi-Fi on an iOS device

  1. If the Wi-Fi network is Secured or protected, you are prompted to enter a password. Enter the password and tap Join.
Caution

Information sent over an unprotected Wi-Fi network (one that does not require a password) could be intercepted by a malicious third party. We recommend only using password-protected networks to safeguard yourself and your information.

  1. If the password you entered is correct, your device connects to the Wi-Fi network.
Note

If you're connecting to a hotel, restaurant, retail store, or another public Wi-Fi network, you may be required to accept some terms and conditions first.

Can't find the Wi-Fi network

If you can't find the SSID or name of the Wi-Fi network you want to connect to, the issue is usually one of the following.

Not in range of the Wi-Fi network

Your computer may not be in range of the Wi-Fi network's signal. A wireless router can only transmit a Wi-Fi signal over a limited distance. If your computer is outside that range, the SSID won't be available in the list of Wi-Fi networks.

Wi-Fi network is hidden

For increased protection, some people configure their wireless router to hide the SSID for the Wi-Fi network. If you have permission to connect to the hidden Wi-Fi network and know the SSID, select the Hidden network, Join Other Network, Other, or a similar option. Enter the SSID and Wi-Fi password when prompted to connect.