Having Wi-Fi problems on your Mac running OS X Mavericks? Here's a fix!

How to fix Mavericks Wi-Fi problems by zapping Bluetooth

Having trouble getting your Mac to reconnect to Wi-Fi after waking from sleep? The problem may be related to Bluetooth, and here's how to fix it

As near as I can tell, somewhere along the way after I upgraded to Mavericks, my Retina MacBook Pro stopped working right. It wouldn't reconnect to a Wi-Fi network after waking from sleep. I had to manually reconnect it; often I'd have to toggle Wi-Fi off and on again to make it work. Turns out a wonky Bluetooth preference file was the culprit. I'm still not clear on why. Here's how to fix it.

How to trash a bad OS X Bluetooth preferences file

  1. Go to your Mac's Finder.
  2. Click on the File menu and select New Finder Window
  3. Click on your Mac's icon in the Devices list in the sidebar
  4. Open Macintosh HD (or whatever your Mac's hard drive may be named)
  5. Open Library
  6. Open Preferences
  7. Find the file called "com.apple.Bluetooth.plist"
  8. Move it to your desktop. It should copy there.
  9. Remove it from the Preferences folder by dragging it into the Trash. The Mac will tell you that Finder wants to make changes. Type your password to allow this.
  10. Restart your Mac.

When your Mac restarts, the problem should be resolved.

Bear in mind that what deleted your existing Bluetooth preferences. If you're using any Bluetooth devices, like some keyboards, mice, speakers and headsets, you'll need to re-pair them to get them to connect to your Mac. If this fixes your problem, you can trash the file on your desktop whenever you're comfortable.

I have it on good authority that this fixes the problem many of us have seen since installing Mavericks, but there are still some for whom this fix doesn't work. If you fall into that unfortunate category, it's probably worth your while to either visit the Genius Bar at your local Apple retail store or to call AppleCare, if you have coverage.

Has it fixed your issue? Still having trouble? Sound off in the forums!

Peter Cohen

Managing Editor of iMore, Mac and gaming specialist and all-around technologist. Follow him on Twitter @flargh

More Posts

 

55
loading...
0
loading...
213
loading...
0
loading...

← Previously

Top 10 keyboard shortcuts every new Mac owner needs to know!

Next up →

In honor of Heartbleed, Agile Bits is offering a 50% discount on 1Password

Reader comments

Having Wi-Fi problems on your Mac running OS X Mavericks? Here's a fix!

71 Comments

Ha,
Why would this work?? And why save the pref to the desktop if only to delete later? It would be good to have explanations, no?

More likely, or perhaps in some cases, this file should be deleted:
file:///Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/com.apple.airport.preferences.plist
Worked for me.

"why save the pref to the desktop if only to delete later?"

Because deleting system files without backing it up 'just in case' is a recipe for disaster on *any* OS.

Just wanted to say thanks so much for posting this fix! It worked. This has been bugging me for months. I thought i was the only one as well.

Cheers!

Hey, what do you do with the copied Bluetooth file on the desktop after? Leave it there? Thanks so much for the post besides, seems to have worked!

Wow, those plist files are responsible for a lot of bugs on Apple software. I had to jailbreak my iPad just to delete a iapd.plist file and fix a serious sound bug.

I wonder why this bug was never mentioned when the raving reviews about Mavericks came out on iMore.

My dear, dear Peter:

Thank you so much for posting your crystal clear instructions.

They worked like a charm for me!

Instant connection on restart.

You saved me a lost morning or a partly wasted afternoon
(in addition to the travel expenses) of having to go to a genius bar.

Already on 3 different occasions I had spent from 10 to 30 minutes
trying to find the problem. Finally I'd given up.

Blessings to you.

Bob

I had terrible connection issues with my 13inch Macbook Pro late 2013 and D-Link Dir 565 router. I had overloaded Google to find a solution, it kept me busy for weeks. Since Applecare couldn't solve my problem, I bought an Airport Extreme. The intermittent dropouts were solved (expensive solution for me) but wake up after sleep still took 6-7 seconds and occasionally longer than that. With this solution it's reduced to 1-2 seconds and that is just perfect ! Thank you, I hope it stays this way

Hi Peter,

Thank you very much! It just works! I have been posting this problem on Apple's community and realised that there are thousands similar problem posted for months and months with no solution.

Finally! Thanks, Peter!

Cheers,
Sam
15" MBP Mid 2013

I've had this problem for awhile, I even tried to Google it to look it up and go to the apple forums but with out any luck. Thank you so much for EPIC FIX!!!
Looking forward to more of iMore's fixes on your Twitter feed. You guys ROCK!

Thank you for sharing this, Peter. My old (2008) 24" iMac has been randomly losing its WiFi connection ever since I upgraded to Mavericks, and this just might be the solution. I'm going to try this when I get back home.

Hrm. I have a slightly different problem. When my machine wakes from sleep it connects to an open Wifi network rather than my preferred secured network. This still happens after I've re-organized the preferred list and even removed the offending network.

I'll have to try this this evening and see if it fixes it.

Sent from the iMore App

Unfortunately, I'm guessing many of these folks will be back. This problem has been around since like Tiger. The solutions are 1) Turn wifi off and back on after wake (as Peter noted), or 2) turn off Bluetooth before sleep (which obviously isn't such a great idea for non-laptop folks).

I also have my doubts about the plist file for many, as this problem seems to come and go with OSX point updates, and no other user intervention. Maybe OSX point updates replace this file? I doubt it, but that would be interesting to know. I had this problem on my brand-new 13" MBA, after adding an Apple mouse. The problem disappeared with the 10.9.2 update, but seems to have started at that point for others.

I had the same problem with my 2006 MBP and a 2005 or 2006 work-issued MBP. As I worked with a bunch of other people who used MBPs, this was quite a common issue back in the mid-2000s. I'm pretty sure it's the same thing, Apple just hasn't been able to nail it. My hunch, is that each time they attempt a fix, some other group of people experience it, while it fixes it for others.

One common thread I've noticed, is that I've not heard of anyone experiencing the problem while using an Apple WiFi router. Obviously, that's not a solution or excuse, but just a piece of data in the puzzle.

Did I read correctly that you're having the problem with an Airport Extreme? That would be a first, if it is in fact this same problem. I noticed you said it was taking 6-7 seconds, and occasionally longer. The problem many are seeing is that it never connects, yet turning wifi off and then back on results in a nearly instant reconnect. Also, try turning BT off, and if it's this issue, it should immediately reconnect after sleep, so long as BT is off.

I have this problem with the latest generation airport express and a 2012 iMac. Deleting my network hardware from network preferences and re-adding it seemed to fix it for me. If it comes back I'll try this fix.

Is it the exact problem where WiFi won't connect after wake with BT enabled, unless you turn WiFi off/on... or disable BT before sleep? Otherwise, WiFi behaves as you'd expect? I'm just asking, as you'd be the first case I've run across over the years with an Apple WiFi router.

Yes that is the exact problem. I've been to Apple three times about it. They've even replaced the wireless card with no effect. Frustrating. You'd think wifi is a core function that would just work.

Hi Steve,
Yes i had Wifi on/off issues with my Dlink router DIR 655 which i do not have with the Airport extreme. Wifi connection after sleep with Dlink was a mess, with the Airport it takes 6-7 seconds but it connects.
I'm not complaining, i have one "problem" with this Macbook pro, with my previous laptop Windows 7, I had only one thing that worked (the power button) the rest was a problem ;-).
Guy

Okay, dumb question here. When I open up Finder, under devices I don't see a Mac icon, only remote. Not quite sure what I'm doing wrong.

Think latter versions of OS X removed that from sidebar :/

Here's what I did ...
1) Open finder
2) In sidebar click on Desktop
3) Hold CONTROL and click on the Title "Desktop" on top of the window
4) U Shud see a trail of folders from Machitosh HD in a sort of a drop down - Click on Machintosh HD
5) Will put u in the Machintosh HD folder
6) Continue with above instructions :) :) :)

Hope it helps :)

Had this problem on two iMacs, mid 2010 and late 2013. Fixed the problem by unplugging the power bricks from the USB hubs. The newer iMac has both USB2 and USB3 hubs while the older one a single USB3.

This worked for me (at least so far). The problem I was having was failure to reconnect to wifi after waking from sleep. This started when I upgraded my MBA to Mavericks, and numerous remedies have failed to resolve the issue until now.

Interestingly, my bluetooth keyboard and trackpad did not lose their connections. In fact, other than fixing the problem I didn't notice any side effects.

Many, many thanks!!!

THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!! I've been having this issue since upgrading to Mavericks. I've read several threads and have tried every "solution." I had given up but randomly decided to do one more search and found this. You should win an award for this fix!!!

Thank you so much!!!!

Peter,
Thank you, I have been too lazy to look for the answer and there I was listening to Dave and John on Mac Geek Gab and the exact issue came up.
Just followed the steps and so far so good

Worked perfectly! Some of the comments indicated that the fix might not last, so I waited a few days before posting. This had been driving me crazy for weeks. I owe you a beer.

This made my day/week/month! Thanks a million for helping me getting rid of this bug.
Works great (13'' MBP 5,5 on Mavericks with FusionDrive)

It didn't work for me, I have a new Macbook pro (my first Apple pc) and am not using Bluetooth at all.

There is another problem out there that seems to involve DHCP. If my Macbook has been sleeping for awhile, then when it wakes up from a sleep it can't connect to the router. The network settings show a message saying something about using a self-assigned IP address, so there is no internet. Sometimes turning the wifi off/on fixes it. Sometimes renewing the DHCP lease fixes it. Once I had to turn the router off/on. But this is the same problem my iPad was having when I got it several years ago. The fix for that was to give it a static IP address. That also fixed the problem on the Mac.

Over the years I have had several Windows laptops, and a wireless printer. Only the iPad and the Macbook have the problem. I have talked to Apple about this, they blame it on my 2wire router being "incompatible". Apple needs to fix the problem. 2wire is not going to do anything, their router works with non-Apple devices. If you have the wifi problem and clearing out the Bluetooth plist file doesn't work for you, try giving it a static IP address.

You-are-my-hero and I salute you. I've been dealing with this 'ish for so long. I've researched and taken at least 6 different steps which have seem to improve my likelihood of reconnection after sleep but never resolved it.

No more, wake up > browser > connection not found > wifi off > wifi on > error > wifi off > bluetooth off > wifi on (wait..wait...) > select network > back to browser x20 times a week

I'm not super tech savvy so I'm not sure if this is supposed to happen but when I follow all of the instructions, after restarting my computer the bluetooth file is back in my preferences folder. Is that normal?

Yes, that is the desired effect. OS X is smart enough to detect a missing system preference and rebuild it with known defaults. You're essentially purging a bad setting by doing this. Once you're happy with the result, you can delete the backup copy from the Desktop.

My Mac Book Air doesn't have that file. But I do have the problem on needing to manually connect to wireless after sleeping. It used to not even show my wireless access point. But an update fixed that issue. But I still have to tell it to connect to it.

I think I have a bigger problem than this. None of my wired devices are working, only wireless. My wifi isn't working either. It says "No hardware installed" **sigh***

Oh am I a happy camper, this issue has been diving me CRAZY :<). THX's so much for sharing this soooo important resolution to this Wi-Fi bug.

Bob 

Thank you, that worked perfect for the Wi-Fi, but now my mouse isn´t working. I can´t find out how to fix it. I just get the message Bluetooth is not available, and there is no icon for Bluetooth in system preferences anymore.

Bergsvein

I moved the file back, restarted the computer, and repeated the procedure – now is everything working, and I hope it will keep working.

Apple released Mavericks 10.4 update yesterday which addresses this issue and 'should' solve this problem.

I tried what you suggested and was super excited when my Mac started running like it had in the past. That worked until I restarted it the next day and am back to it not working, so I tried it again. I can connect to my internet wirelessly, but typically takes 2 - 3 minutes between pages. Any other suggestions? All other phones, computers, etc work fine on the wireless.

I just want to say thanks a MILLION!! This has been driving me crazy for the last hour and I've been on the phone to iinet for 35 wasted minutes. Thank god I found your article - life saver. Thanks so much for sharing!!!

My Mac hard disk is not shown in the devices list. The question might seem really stupid, but I am really new to Macs. So please help, how to make my hard disk show there or how to get the Bluetooth file alternatively ?

Thanks

I just want to say a big THANKS!! I've been trying to solve this problem for months and none of the solutions I can find would work but this has definitely done the trick.

I started getting this upon 'upgrade' from Mavericks to Yosemite a couple days ago: wifi shows connected but there is no internet access on my mid-2011 imac. So far no fix including calling applecare. :(

I ran into a similar problem on my Mac Air with Yosemite. WIFI would drop out about every 2-10 minutes. Had to stop/start wifi to reestablish the connection. I Googled the symptoms and up popped the IMore fix from six months ago with Mavericks. I ran the fix and now have a rock solid WIFI connection. BTW, I bought the MBA with Mavericks installed and the WIFI was fine. Only after the Yosemite upgrade did the problem appear.