Have you ever taken your laptop to a coffee shop? What about the library? Or over to a friend’s house? If you’re anything like the rest of us, the list of Wi-Fi networks your Mac has connected to is probably dozens (if not hundreds) of networks long. Something should be done about this. Luckily for you, it’s quite easy to forget a Wi-Fi network on Mac. We’ve created this helpful guide to help explain the process to you step by step, complete with photos to help make everything clear. Before long, you’ll have that list of network cleaned up in no time.
Why Forget A Wi-Fi Network?
As it turns out, there are plenty of good reasons to forget a Wi-Fi network. (And not all of them are as basic as you’d think, either.) Sure, it helps to know how to forget the hotel’s Wi-Fi network once you get back from vacation, but the number of reasons to forget a Wi-Fi network on Mac goes far beyond the basics like this. From security concerns to performance issues to organizational measures, these are three of the most common reasons why a person might want to know how to forget a Wi-Fi network on Mac.
Firstly, it helps to know how to forget a Wi-Fi network on Mac for basic security reasons. Public Wi-Fi networks at coffee shops, libraries, public workplaces, airports, restaurants, and so on are all plagued by the same issue: They’re not secure. As a result, free and public Wi-Fi networks open up your device to all sorts of security risks. After connecting to one of these networks, it’s very possible that your Mac could have been exposed to one of these risks. By forgetting any and all public Wi-Fi networks you’ve connected to before, you can make sure you won’t be exposed again.
Secondly, there’s those pesky performance issues. If you’ve noticed slow or unreliable Wi-Fi performance on your Mac as of late, it’s always possible that the issue has nothing to do with your computer and everything to do with a slow Wi-Fi network that’ve automatically (and unknowingly) been re-connected to. The issue could also be caused by an overloaded network. Either way, knowing how to forget the Wi-Fi network ensures that you won’t ever automatically connect to that network and face those performance issues ever again.
Not everything to do with forgetting a Wi-Fi network on Mac has to be related to performance or security problems. It could be that you merely wish to clean up your list of Wi-Fi networks. If you’re someone who travels around with your Mac and connects to many Wi-Fi networks on the regular, then your list of stored Wi-Fi networks is probably pretty long. With so many networks stored on your Mac, it’s easy to forget which ones are essential and which ones are frivolous. Thankfully, you can clean up the list quickly and easily by following the steps we’ve listed below.
How To Forget Wi-Fi Network On Mac
Now that we know why someone might want to forget a Wi-Fi network on Mac, let’s break down the steps necessary to do so. This process will look the same on a MacBook, a MacBook Pro, a MacBook Air, or a Mac desktop computer. However, this guide will not be helpful for those working with a PC. The process of forgetting a Wi-Fi network will look quite different for a PC user compared to a Mac user. For the sake of this guide, we’re using a MacBook Pro. Now, follow along with the steps and photos below.
Step One: Click The Apple Logo
Firstly, navigate to the Apple symbol in the top lefthand corner of the Mac screen. This will open up a drop-down menu with a variety of options and settings. You should be able to access this menu regardless of whatever applications or tabs you have open. For clarity, we’ve simply accessed it from the home screen.
Step Two: Go To System Preferences
From this drop-down menu, maneuver your cursor to the tab that reads “System Preferences…” and click on it. This will open up a new pop-up menu riddled with various options, settings, and tools to optimize your Mac and your user settings.
Step Three: Select Network Settings
Now, using the search bar at the top of the System Preferences, type “Network.” This will highlight the icon we’re looking for: “Network Settings.” Once you see it, click on this icon. It’s the one shaped like a globe located to the right of the “Software Update” icon and to the left of the “Bluetooth” icon.
Step Four: Click Advanced Settings
From here, you’ll find yourself in your Network Settings. The default page should be your Wi-Fi settings, but if it isn’t, click over to the Wi-Fi tab using the menu on the left of the page. Now, looking at the Wi-Fi settings, find the button near the bottom righthand corner of the page that reads “Advanced…” and click it. This will open up your advanced Wi-Fi settings (which includes the option to forget Wi-Fi network on Mac).
Step Five: Forget Wi-Fi Network
At this point in the Wi-Fi advanced settings, you should be looking at a list of every Wi-Fi network your Mac has ever connected to in the past. Scroll through the list of Wi-Fi networks until you pinpoint the one you’re hoping to forget. Once you’ve found it, click on it to highlight it.
Now, look directly beneath the list of Wi-Fi networks. You should see a plus symbol and a minus symbol. With the Wi-Fi network still highlighted, click the minus symbol to forget it. Repeat this process as many times as necessary to remove all the Wi-Fi networks you’re hoping to forget.
Step Six: Apply Changes, Then Exit
Finally, one of the most important steps: Making sure you save your changes before exiting. Return to the Wi-Fi settings page by clicking the back button once in the top lefthand corner of the page. Then, look to the bottom of the page in the right-hand corner. You should see a button that reads “Apply.” Click this, then click the X in the top lefthand corner of the page.
You may be prompted to click “Apply” again before exiting. This makes your decision final. Without it, you’ll potentially need to complete this process all over again. (As a note: if you ever attempt to connect to the Wi-Fi network you forgot, you’ll be prompted to enter the network’s password again. Your Mac will treat it like a first-time connection and will not remember the login info from before.)
Here is a step-by-step video for further reference:
The image featured at the top of this post is ©ninefotostudio/Shutterstock.com.