OS X Lion: Serious Wi-Fi Disconnect Problems for Macs, And Solutions? | iLounge Backstage


OS X Lion: Serious Wi-Fi Disconnect Problems for Macs, And Solutions?

We began to track reports of Wi-Fi disconnection issues back when we upgraded one of our iMacs to a brand new 2011 model and started to experience daily Wi-Fi signal drop-offs—across-the-board disconnections of everything from iChat to Twitter and Safari. It wasn’t an isolated issue: plenty of people on Apple’s Discussion Forums were having the same problem, and hoping that 10.6.8 would fix it. When that didn’t happen, the hopes shifted to Lion. UPDATED: Originally posted on July 21, 2011, this article has been updated with the latest information from Apple as of February, 2012.

Now that Lion’s out, it’s clear that the problem wasn’t fixed—it’s actually become even worse on our iMac, which has started to lose its Wi-Fi connection multiple times a day. The same problem is being reported by numerous Apple Discussions users, in threads such as Wifi Constantly Dropping in Lion, Wifi Problems After Installing Lion, Lion WiFi Connection Problem, and New MacBook Pro 2011 weak and dropping wireless connection.

Based on testing, we get the impression that the issues stem (at least in part) from some mismatched or messed up settings saved by the Mac relating to specific wireless networks it has connected to before. Some people believe that there are wireless network settings with incorrect disk permissions; others think that there are corrupted files. Solutions that have been offered include:

(1) Deleting a system preferences file called com.apple.aif.plist, then restarting the machine to rebuild it. This is inside Macintosh HD > Library > Preferences, which is now harder to find in Lion’s Finder because Apple has hidden your hard drive by default in the Sidebar’s list of Devices. You can use Finder’s Preferences to add Hard Drives back to the Sidebar, but based on our experiences, deleting this file doesn’t work to fix the problem.

(2) Reset your Mac’s PRAM and NVAM. This was suggested by an Apple Discussions user, and is explained in this Apple Knowledgebase document. Most reports do not suggest that this works.

(3) Reset your Mac’s System Management Controller Another suggestion from an Apple Discussions user, explained here. Again, most reports do not suggest that this works.

Based on past experiences in trying to fix major issues such as this one, we know that it’s rare that one solution works for everyone, and that readers often come up with great ideas for how to get things working again. We’re going to keep hunting for answers to this, and will update this article when we have one that works for us—did one of these ideas, or something else, work for you? Post in the comments section below.

Updated September 8, 2011: After trying many different fixes, none of which worked for any extended period of time, we tested something new. After changing the passwords on both of our wireless networks, then setting the iMac up with the new passwords, the disconnect issue appeared to go away. Hopefully this or one of the other solutions recommended below will help you.

Updated February 22, 2012: Users—including one of our editors—have continued to experience problems at least intermittently despite several point releases of OS X 10.7, and Apple has posted an updated solutions page here. The company’s recommended solution (click “Solution” under “Symptom: The network connection drops unexpectedly”) is to use Network Preferences to delete all of your computer’s remembered wireless networks, then use Keychain Access to delete all of your wireless passwords from Login and System, and finally to restart your Mac and re-join your network of choice. For full details, see Apple’s link. We hope it helps!

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imac 27 (2011)
Windows 7
Billion 7800N

Just developed this wifi dropping issue recently.
Thought I had fixed by installing my own atheros drivers.

Right now, managed to seemingly resolve the issue by getting the my Billion router to only use 2.4hz.

Lets see how long this fix lasts for.

Posted by Mik on October 18, 2012 at 6:10 AM (CDT)


I have recently developed this problem of loosing wi-fi connection and not being able to reconnect with an error message that states connection timeout.  Nothing works to fix the problem.

Posted by Efef on December 3, 2012 at 10:54 PM (CST)


We had this problem for over a year and I spend hours and hours talking with Apple support people.  When I checked the net, I found all these discussions about the same problem. Which ultimately suggested to me that there are problems (plural) rather than just one.
We seem to have fixed our problem and I post this in case a) it really is fixed—24 hours of service and counting and b) to perhaps help someone. 
I finally called AT&T; we have DSL service.  After trying this and that, they asked about the router and said there is a problem with 2 Wire routers.  They reset the firewall.  If you have a 2Wire router and/or have AT&T DSL, I’d call them.

Posted by Cheap Seats on March 7, 2013 at 4:15 PM (CST)


I’ve had wifi connectivity issues with my iMac for months.  Sometimes it take me 10-15 minutes to get my wifi to stay on.  Today I found the solution, and it so very simple   Turn off the computer.  Unplug the cord.  Wait 5 minutes.  Plug in the cord.  Wait 5 minutes.  Turn on the computer.  Voila!.  Worked perfectly for me.  No more disconnecting wifi.

Posted by Luke on March 20, 2013 at 5:45 PM (CDT)

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