Has your Mac’s Wi-Fi frustrated you since upgrading to Catalina? You’re not alone.

The wifi issue on macOS Catalina

The release of macOS 10.15 seems to be buggier than usual, and members of the SoftwareHow team have been having issues too. Our Wi-Fi has constantly disconnected and we’ve encountered difficulties loading web pages.

macOS Catalina Wi-Fi Issues

After constant problems, we Googled “Catalina Wi-Fi problems” and discovered there are a lot of frustrated people out there. SoftwareHow’s JP found that his MacBook has been constantly connecting and disconnecting to his office Wi-Fi (video example below). Recently it’s been as many as five times a day.

Users describe their issues in a number of ways:

  • Some users report that even though they seem to be successfully connected to their Wi-Fi, websites have stopped loading in their browsers. I think I remember that happening a few times on my iMac, and it seems to happen regardless of which browser is being used.
  • Others find that they are unable to even turn Wi-Fi on.
  • One user’s MacBook Pro failed to find any Wi-Fi networks at all. He couldn’t even connect to his iPhone’s hotspot unless he does it over Bluetooth rather than Wi-Fi.

Some users managed to fix the problem only to find it was back after they restarted their Macs. How frustrating! That’s a lot of network problems. Is there a solution?

How to Get Wi-Fi Working Reliably Under Catalina

Fortunately, the solution to all of these problems is the same. I’m not sure who first suggested it, but users on the Apple Communities forum and blogs like macReports confirm that it works for them. If it works for you, encourage other users by letting us know about your experiences in the comments.
Here’s what to do.

First Steps

Before you get too far, start by updating to the latest available version of macOS. Apple will eventually solve the problem, and maybe they already have since your last update. To do this, open System Preferences then Software Update.

Doing this seems to have helped my teammate, JP. He was having Wi-Fi issues when running a Beta version of macOS. Upgrading to the latest non-Beta version seems to have solved his problem, though I can’t promise it will solve yours.

When the Wi-Fi issue started, his MacBook Pro was running macOS 10.15.1 Beta (19B77a).

He then followed the instructions and updated his Mac to the latest macOS version.

His Mac has been running 10.15.1 (non-Beta) for three days, and the Wi-Fi issue is gone!

Still having problems? Move on to our fix.

Create a New Network Location

First, open System Preferences, then Network.

Click on the Location drop-down menu (it currently says Automatic) and click Edit Locations.

Create a new location by clicking on the “+” symbol, and rename it if you want. (The name is not important.) Click Done.

Now try to log in to your wireless network. Many users find that it now works. If you like, you can change your location back to Automatic and it should work there now too.

Further Steps

If you’re still encountering Wi-Fi issues, here are a few final suggestions. Test your Wi-Fi after each step, then move to the next one if it’s still not working.

  1. Try restoring the default settings for your hardware (including your Wi-Fi adapter) by resetting your NVRAM. First, shut down your computer, then when you boot it, hold down Option+Command+P+R until you hear the startup chime.
  2. Under your Network Settings, remove the Wi-Fi service then add it back again. Open the Network settings as you did earlier, highlight Wi-Fi, then click the ”-“ symbol at the bottom of the list. Now add the service back by clicking the ”+” symbol, selecting Wi-Fi then clicking Create. Now click Apply at the bottom right of the window.
  3. Finally, restart your Mac in Safe Mode. Turn off your Mac then hold down the Shift key until the login screen appears.
  4. If all else fails, contact Apple Support.

Did We Solve Your Issue?

If you’re still encountering issues, hold tight. There’s no doubt the problem will be fixed in a future system update from Apple. In the meantime, here are a few things you can try:

  • Turn off Wi-Fi altogether and use an ethernet cable to connect to your router.
  • Set up a Bluetooth or USB Personal Hotspot on your iPhone or iPad.
  • Contact Apple Support.

Have we helped you solve your Wi-Fi issues? Which step or steps helped? Let us know in the comments so other Mac users can learn from your experiences.