Skip to main content

Disconnect from your network without turning off Wi-Fi

When your Mac starts running into network connection issues — timing out bringing up web sites, unable to find local servers and printers — it's tempting to just restart the Mac all together, or to shut off Wi-Fi and turn it back on. But there's a better way to go.

Instead, hold down the option key on the keyboard, then click on the Wi-Fi menu in the Finder. Your network options change pretty dramatically.

First of all, you'll see a new "Disconnect from [network name]" option appear. This was introduced with OS X 10.10 Yosemite in 2014. This is a good way to drop your network connection without killing Wi-Fi all together.

But you'll see that holding down the option key presents a lot of other information besides. It shows you the name of the network interface you're using, your Mac's network address, extensive information about your network connection, and something called "Open Wireless Diagnostics."

Wireless Diagnostics is an OS X utility that can help you troubleshoot a problem network connection. First and foremost, the app detects common problems with network connections and will offer you suggestions for how to deal with them.

If you're a networking guru or the problem is happening at your business or school, the data produced by Wireless Diagnostics may come in handy to help your friendly local network administrator troubleshoot further.

  • Thanks for the tip, I hadn't seen this before.
  • RSSI, Noise and Tx values are useful for determining the health of your connection: the greater the difference between RSSI (signal) and Noise, the better your connection. Tx is your actual data transfer rate.
  • Wow, thanks, I had no idea
  • Nice tip, thanks!
  • Why Apple hides such important details behind the Option key is a continual frustration. The same information could've been incorporated as a flyout block of text after the drop down menu item selection. Their goofy tendency to hide menu items like "Save As..." is also terribly annoying.
  • Good tips, but telling everyone about a secret menu full of data and then not taking the time to actually explain what the data means or what to look for in a given situation is a bit of a silly waste of time isn't it? As is often the case with iMore, I actually got more information out of the *comments* than I did from the article. (thanks "thebridgedotca").
  • BS. Peter was just showing you how to swiftly disconnect from your current wifi. Doing that in no way obligates him to explain every single item in that menu.
  • Is anyone else having wifi issues after the latest update? I constantly have to toggle wifi after resuming from sleep. This seemed to be fixed lately, but came back after the "Apple Music" update
  • For those who don't know about the Option menus, they also work for the volume menu item (which is how I quickly Airplay sound when listening to Beats 1 on the Mac) and a couple of other Apple menu items
  • Any iOS 8 (or coming in iOS 9) equivalent? Sent from the iMore App
  • Great tip! I find myself looking to do that quite a bit. I hate when my computer keeps trying to connect to a crappy public wifi spot. Sent from the iMore App