Common iPad Wi-Fi Problems and Fixes

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ipad wifi problemsWhen the iPad Wi-Fi was released back in April, a significant number of users complained about problems with getting Wi-Fi connections with the device””including connection drops, issues with it not working with home networks, or getting a weak connection when visiting particular websites. Apple eventually released a system software update which addressed the problems, but a few weeks ago, my iPad started experiencing Wi-Fi connections troubles. So I hopped online to learn about suggested fixes.

Using what I learned from Apple’s own July 15th document (iPad: Troubleshooting Wi-Fi networks and connections) concerning the problem, as well as recent discussions on Apple’s support and discussion forum, the following are some suggestions that seem to fix Wi-Fi problems on an iPad.

Check for System Updates

First off, whenever you’re experiencing problems with any software or operating system, check to make sure you are running the latest version. In the case of the iPad operating system, simply select the Settings application, and then tap General > About > Version. At the time of writing, version 3.2.2 is the latest update of the iOS.

ipad wifi problems

Connect your iPad to iTunes and select your iPad in the sidebar. Then click on “Check for Updates” followed by “Update” to install the latest version.

Firmware Update of Router

Many iPad users seem to have discovered the problem was with their wireless router or base station. This ended up being the culprit in my case.

I was running a three year-old Linksys router, which after talking to Linksys support, I was told that I at least needed a firmware update for my router. But instead I chose to replace the router with a newer model, and so far it has resolved the Wi-Fi issues I had on my iPad.

Another suggestion is to check how other devices and hardware (e.g., Wii, laptop, iPhone, Droid) are performing with your existing router. If you notice issues with them, then of course it may indicate that you need to check with the manufacturer of your router about any needed firmware updates.

You could also take your iPad to another network location, such as Starbucks or a friend’s house, to see if it experiences Wi-Fi connection problems.

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This firmware update problem/solution extends to networks you might encounter outside your home. As discussed on Apple”˜s discussion board, you may run into frequent Wi-Fi problems when making a connection at a hotel network, for example, where there may be incompatibility issues with Safari HTML5, in which Apple will need to address (if it already hasn’t) with a software update for iPad Mobile Safari.

Resetting DHCP or Network

This is not always the best solution, but I found turning off and back on the Wi-Fi connection on my iPad helps with a weak signal range.

Renew Lease

Back in September, Princeton University posted a lengthy report about DHCP issues related to the iPad. It’s a pretty technical article, but basically it says, “DHCPv4 the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol for IPv4, allows a device attached to the network to automatically learn some or all of its network configuration, including its IPv4 (Internet) address. Most operating systems include DHCP client software.”

ipad wifi

If you’re getting a weak connection or if it’s dropping out all together, you might try renewing the DHCP connection. Again, select the Settings app > General > Network. Tap the small blue button on the right side of your network and finally tap the Renew Lease button. This solution will cause the iPad to acquire a new IP address, DNS, and Search Domain information from the Wi-Fi network.

ipad wifi

The Princeton report offers some other suggestions if you’re having Wi-Fi connection problems with an iPad+3G or if your iPad is configured with an email account that supports Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync.

Above all, though it’s a pain, you can always try rebooting the iPad to see if it will get you back to full signal.

Reset Network Settings

Apple also suggests resetting networking settings on your iPad, by selecting Settings > General > Resettings. Note, however, that this will reset all your network settings, including passwords, VPN, and APN settings.

ipad wifi problems

Other Solutions

The final three solutions Apple offers might make you want to get your money back, but here they are:

  • Try moving closer to the Wi-Fi router or base station to see if the Wi-Fi signal improves.
  • Remove iPad from any cases, stands, or other attachments to see if the Wi-Fi signal improves.
  • Open Safari and try to load a webpage to see if the Wi-Fi signal improves.

Let us know if you have experienced similar Wi-Fi problems with your iPad and what fixes have or have not helped. In the upcoming iOS 4 update for the device, there will no doubt be additional stability fixes to address any remaining problems.

Image Source: Shutterstock

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Comments (19)
  • Tuxedo79

    May i join the chorus? Got my wife an ipad for Christmas. Worked great until last week when I got Iphones for both of us. the iphones required that I change Linksys router password. When that was over, three puters and 2 iphones worked great but the ipad will not go on line. It says it’s connected to the wi-fi network but won’t open pages. Have tried almost everything everyon suggest bu no joy. Guess it’s off to the Apple store. And folks badmouth Microsoft for turning out buggy products for users to tell thenm wwhat needs fixing. At least they provide updates and fixes rather than denials and guilt trips. My last Apple products.

  • Remy59

    I have a new ipod touch. I upgraded from an older ipod touch. My new ipod touch has never worked properly with my older netgear router – intermittent at best, it doesn’t work 95% of te time. BUT, every other wireless device including my wii and netflix, 3 computers, a printer – you name it – work perfectly. My old ipod touch worked pefectly too – UNTIL I upgraded the ios to 4.2.1!!! Now, my old ipod touch no longer works with my router. The good news is that both ipods work on other routers, I just can’t figure out what kind and if I want to get rid of my old router since it’s ONLY 4.2.1 that doesn’t work very well with it. Apple really should have warned us that the new ios might not work with an older router – and I don’t even know why it won’t work with an older router when my brand new wii streams video beautifully over it. I just don’t get it.

  • morph

    I got my iPad 21st Dec 2010 with OS 4.2.1, it worked reasonably well until Dec 29th when I decided to change the password on my Netgear router, then things really went bad for the ipad, since the password change I cannot get connection to the ipad at all, it does not display any available wireless networks, despite me placing the iPad practically on top of the router and there being at least 5 other networks in the neighbourhood. My Nokia phone and ASUS netbook were ok with the changed password, by the iPad has never reconnected. I even changed the password back, but still no go. The tech support guys went through all of the hard and soft resets over the phone, then they told me to take it to the Apple store. At the store it took them about 5 mins to say to me that they will replace my unit with a new one, pity that they didn’t have one in stock, otherwise I would probably not be on this forum. This tells me that its a big problem on some units and they are trying to do their best PR job to keep customers happy. I was very happy with the iPad and Apple customer service, until their tech quality control has let them down. I am disappointed to see that this has been a known problem since May, yet they kept churning them out, with an uncorrected problem, to enable them to hit their Christmas sales numbers.

  • Anonymous

    I would just like to add that my Iphone and my computer both have no problems whatsoever with my in home wifi signal but the Ipad, sitting right next to both of them, can’t hang onto the signal at all.
    So I know it’s not my network/router setup.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve tried all the fixes, including updating OS to 4.2.1. Nothing works. My Ipad is off more than it is on wifi and I’m very frustrated with it. I even invested in a new Cisco Valet Plus router. I’ve thrown so much money at this device trying to get it to work right I’ll never recoup and it is still basically uselss except for reading books or playing games because of the WiFi problems. What a lemon! A very expensive lemon! I will never buy another Apple product. The only thing that gets me back on sometimes is turning WiFi off and back on but I have to do it every 5 minutes. Ridiculous

    • qwerty

      i have exact same issue too… has anyone resolved this?!?!

    • Your Name

      Identical problem with me. 5 minute max before I need to turn off WiFi then turn it back on. :(

    • guest

      Same problem here. Shows I am connected to network and has full strength, but won’t load pages. Turning off the wi-fi and then turning back on gets me about 5 minutes of surfing, then repeat.

    • Bakari

      Quiltfanatic, have you tried to taking the device to a local Apple Store? I took an Apple product there before and techs were very helpful.

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Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.