Touch ID

Touch ID is a seamless way to use your fingerprint as a passcode. With just a touch of the Home button of the iPhone 5s, the Touch ID sensor quickly reads your fingerprint and automatically unlocks your phone. You can even use it to authorize purchases from the iTunes Store, App Store, and iBooks Store. Touch ID is capable of 360-degree readability, which means no matter what its orientation, your iPhone reads your fingerprint and knows who you are.

Setting up Touch ID

You can set up Touch ID in iOS Setup Assistant or by tapping Settings > Touch ID & Passcode. To set up Touch ID, you must first set a passcode. Touch ID is designed to minimize the input of your passcode, but you need a passcode for additional security validation, such as enrolling new fingerprints.

Use these steps to enroll your fingerprint:

  1. Make sure that the Home button and your finger are clean and dry.
  2. Hold the iPhone as you normally would when touching the Home button.
  3. Touch your finger to the Home button and hold it there until you feel a quick vibration or until you are asked to lift your finger.
    Place Your Finger screen
    Don’t press the button, only touch it lightly.
  4. Continue to lift and rest your finger slowly, making small adjustments to the position of your finger each time.
  5. After the initial scan completes, you’ll be asked to adjust your grip to capture the edges of your fingerprint.
  6. Hold the phone as you normally would when unlocking it and touch the adjacent outer areas of your fingertip, instead of the center portion you initially scanned.

Learn more:

  • If you have trouble enrolling one finger, try enrolling a different finger.
  • As you use Touch ID, it will continue to learn and improve recognition of your fingerprint.
  • Using Touch ID sets your Require Passcode setting to Immediately. You can still enter your passcode simply by sliding to unlock.
  • If you unintentionally slide and reach the passcode entry screen, you can still use Touch ID to unlock your iPhone (as long as there haven’t been five unsuccessful attempts to recognize your finger).
  • Touch ID works only for fingers that you enrolled. You can enroll up to five fingers using Settings > Touch ID & Passcode.
  • With each additional finger that you enroll, it may take slightly longer for Touch ID to recognize your finger when you use it.

Using Touch ID instead of your passcode

You can use Touch ID to unlock your phone without having to enter your passcode every time. There are two ways you can unlock with Touch ID:

  • Press the Home button once to wake iPhone 5s and keep your finger lightly on the Home button.
  • Press the Sleep/Wake button once to wake iPhone 5s, and then touch your finger lightly on the Home button.

If Touch ID doesn’t recognize your finger, you’ll be asked to try again. After three attempts, you’ll be given the option of entering your passcode. After two more tries, you will need to enter your passcode. In addition, you will need to enter your passcode to unlock your iPhone in these conditions:

  • After restarting your iPhone 5s
  • When more than 48 hours have elapsed from the last time you unlocked your iPhone 5s
  • To enter the Touch ID & Passcode setting

Using Touch ID for iTunes Store, App Store, and iBooks Store purchases

You can also use Touch ID instead of entering your Apple ID password to purchase content from the iTunes Store, App Store, and iBooks Store.

If you haven’t already, make sure that iTunes & App Store is turned on in Settings > Touch ID & Passcode. If you can’t turn on this setting, make sure that your Apple ID is signed in under Settings > iTunes & App Store.

Follow these steps to purchase content with Touch ID:

  1. Open the iTunes Store, App Store, or iBooks Store.
  2. Select an app, song, video, or book to purchase. Instead of the Apple ID password prompt, a Touch ID prompt is displayed.
  3. Lightly touch the Home button with a finger you’ve enrolled to purchase your content.
    Touch ID, enter password, or cancel

You will be asked to scan your fingerprint with each purchase.

If Touch ID doesn’t recognize your finger, you’ll be asked to try again. After five failed attempts, you’ll be given the option to enter your Apple ID password. In addition, you will be required to enter your Apple ID password after restarting your iPhone 5s or enrolling or deleting fingers

Note: You can’t use Touch ID for purchases if Require Password in Settings > General > Restrictions is set to Immediately.

Cleaning the Touch ID sensor

A clean Touch ID sensor can read your fingerprint more easily. As needed, use a clean, lint-free cloth to wipe off any dirt or debris from the Home button.

Managing Fingerprints and Settings

Go to Settings > Touch ID & Passcode to change your settings:

  • Enable or disable Touch ID for Passcode or iTunes & App Store.
  • Enroll new fingerprints.Touch ID settings
  • Tap Edit to rename your existing fingerprints.
  • Swipe to delete a fingerprint.
  • If you have more than one fingerprint enrolled, you can touch a finger to the Home button to see the fingerprint it is linked to in the list. If your finger matches, that finger in the list will highlight briefly.

Resolving issues with Touch ID

  1. Make sure that you’re using the latest version of iOS.
  2. Make sure that your fingers and the Home button are clean and dry.*
    Note: Cover the Home button completely. Don’t tap too quickly, don’t press down hard, and don’t move your finger while Touch ID is scanning. Make sure that your finger touches the metal ring around the Home button.
  3. If you’re using a protective case or screen protector, it must leave the Home button and the surrounding ring completely unobscured. If it doesn’t, remove the case or screen protector and try again.
  4. Tap Settings > Touch ID & Passcode and verify that:
    • iPhone Unlock or iTunes & App Store is on.
    • You enrolled one or more fingerprints.
  5. Try enrolling a different finger.
  6. If you can’t enroll any of your fingers, take your iPhone 5s to an Apple Retail Store, Apple Authorized Service Provider, or contact AppleCare for further assistance.

* Moisture, lotions, sweat, oils, cuts, or dry skin might affect fingerprint recognition. Certain activities can also temporarily affect fingerprint recognition, including exercising, showering, swimming, cooking, or other conditions or changes that affect your fingerprint.

Touch ID security

Much of our digital lives are stored on our iPhones, and everyone should use a passcode to help protect this important information and their privacy. Unfortunately, not everyone does; more than 50 percent of smartphone users don’t use a passcode. Touch ID is a seamless way to use your fingerprint as a passcode. Your fingerprint is one of the best passcodes in the world. It’s always with you, and no two are exactly alike. With just a touch of the Home button of your iPhone 5s, the Touch ID sensor quickly reads your fingerprint and automatically unlocks your phone. You can even use it to authorize purchases from the iTunes Store, App Store, and iBooks Store.

Advanced technologies

The technology within Touch ID is some of the most advanced hardware and software we’ve put in any device. To fit within the Home button, the Touch ID sensor is only 170 microns thin, not much thicker than a human hair. This high-resolution 500 ppi sensor can read extremely fine details of your fingerprint. The button itself is made from sapphire crystal—one of the clearest, hardest materials available. This protects the sensor and acts as a lens to precisely focus it on your finger.

The steel ring surrounding the button detects your finger and tells Touch ID to start reading your fingerprint. The sensor uses advanced capacitive touch to take a high-resolution image from small sections of your fingerprint from the subepidermal layers of your skin. Touch ID then intelligently analyzes this information with a remarkable degree of detail and precision. It categorizes your fingerprint as one of three basic types—arch, loop, or whorl. It also maps out individual details in the ridges that are smaller than the human eye can see and even inspects minor variations in ridge direction caused by pores and edge structures.

Touch ID can even read multiple fingerprints, and it can read fingerprints in 360-degrees of orientation. It then creates a mathematical representation of your fingerprint and compares this to your enrolled fingerprint data to identify a match and unlock your iPhone. Touch ID will incrementally add new sections of your fingerprint to your enrolled fingerprint data to improve matching accuracy over time. Touch ID uses all of this to provide an accurate match and a very high level of security.

Security safeguards

Every fingerprint is unique, so it is rare that even a small section of two separate fingerprints are alike enough to register as a match for Touch ID. The probability of this happening is 1 in 50,000 for one enrolled finger. This is much better than the 1 in 10,000 odds of guessing a typical 4-digit passcode. Although some passcodes, like “1234”, may be more easily guessed, there is no such thing as an easily guessable fingerprint pattern. Instead, the 1 in 50,000 probability means it requires trying up to 50,000 different fingerprints until potentially finding a random match. But Touch ID only allows five unsuccessful fingerprint match attempts before you must enter your passcode, and you can’t proceed until doing so.

To configure Touch ID, you must first set up a passcode. Touch ID is designed to minimize the input of your passcode; but your passcode will be needed for additional security validation:

  • After restarting your iPhone 5s
  • When more than 48 hours have elapsed from the last time you unlocked your iPhone 5s
  • To enter the Touch ID & Passcode setting

Since security is only as secure as its weakest point, you can choose to increase the security of a 4-digit passcode by using a complex alphanumeric passcode. To do this, go to Settings > Touch ID & Passcode and turn Simple Passcode off. This will allow you to create a longer, more complex passcode that is inherently more secure. Security is further strengthened by using a mixture of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.

You can also use Touch ID instead of entering your Apple ID password to purchase content from the iTunes Store, App Store, and iBooks Store. You will be asked to scan your fingerprint with each purchase. If Touch ID doesn’t recognize your finger, you’ll be asked to try again. After five failed attempts, you’ll be given the option of entering your Apple ID password. In addition, you will need to enter your Apple ID password after:

  • Restarting your iPhone 5s
  • Enrolling or deleting fingers

If your iPhone is lost or stolen, you can immediately disable Touch ID from being used to unlock your iPhone with Find My iPhone Lost Mode. iOS 7 offers additional protection against theft with Activation Lock, which requires an Apple ID and password to turn off Find My iPhone, erase data, or reactivate your device.

Secure Enclave

Touch ID doesn’t store any images of your fingerprint. It stores only a mathematical representation of your fingerprint. It isn’t possible for your actual fingerprint image to be reverse-engineered from this mathematical representation. iPhone 5s also includes a new advanced security architecture called the Secure Enclave within the A7 chip, which was developed to protect passcode and fingerprint data. Fingerprint data is encrypted and protected with a key available only to the Secure Enclave. Fingerprint data is used only by the Secure Enclave to verify that your fingerprint matches the enrolled fingerprint data. The Secure Enclave is walled off from the rest of A7 and the rest of iOS. Therefore, your fingerprint data is never accessed by iOS or other apps, never stored on Apple servers, and never backed up to iCloud or anywhere else. Only Touch ID uses it, and it can’t be used to match against other fingerprint databases.

Personal Hotspot

Personal Hotspot lets you connect your computers and devices to the Internet using the cellular data connection on your device.

To use this feature, enable Personal Hotspot on your cellular data plan. Contact your carrier for information and pricing.

Sharing your cellular data connection

Use the following steps to set up Personal Hotspot:

  1. Tap Settings > Cellular:
    Network settings
  2. Tap Personal Hotspot and turn it on:
    Turn on Personal Hotspot

After configuring Personal Hotspot, you can directly access the settings from Settings > Personal Hotspot.

Note: If you do not see the option for Personal Hotspot, confirm with your carrier that this feature is supported and your wireless plan is configured for Personal Hotspot. For additional troubleshooting, see this article.

Connecting other devices

You can connect your devices to your iPhone, iPad, or iPad mini in the following ways:

Mac or PC iPhone, iPad, or
iPod touch
Other Wi-Fi
Connection tips
Wi-Fi Wi-Fi hotspot turns off when no devices are connected. To automatically turn it back on, go to Settings > Personal Hotspot.
Bluetooth Ensure that the other Bluetooth device is discoverable, and use Settings > Bluetooth to pair.
USB Connect your iPhone or iPad (3rd generation) Wi-Fi + Cellular to your Mac or PC using the USB cable that came with your device.
The Wi-Fi network name or Bluetooth name is your device name. The Wi-Fi network is 802.11g/n capable using WPA2 encryption.

iPhone 3GS can share a connection with USB or Bluetooth. iPhone 4 or later, iPad (3rd generation) Wi-Fi + Cellular or later, and iPad mini Wi-Fi + Cellular can share a connection using Wi-Fi, USB, or Bluetooth.

While devices are connected to Personal Hotspot, the status bar will be blue and will indicate the number of connected users. The maximum number of supported connections may vary depending on your carrier or iPhone model.

You cannot use your Wi-Fi connection for Internet connectivity while other devices are using Wi-Fi for Personal Hotspot. You can share only a cellular data connection; you cannot share a Wi-Fi connection.

Disconnecting devices

You can disconnect users by turning off Personal Hotspot, unplugging your device, or turning off Bluetooth.

Learn more

Changing your Wi-Fi password

Personal Hotspot Wi-Fi networks require a password. You cannot disable this feature.

You can change your Wi-Fi password by tapping Settings > Personal Hotspot or Settings > Cellular > Personal Hotspot and then tapping the Wi-Fi password.

Wi-Fi Password

Note: Your Wi-Fi password must be at least eight characters long and use ASCII/Unicode characters. Use of non-ASCII characters (Japanese, Russian, Chinese, and so on) will prevent other devices from connecting.

Troubleshooting Personal Hotspot

Basic troubleshooting

  1. See if your iOS device, computer, and wireless plan all meet the system requirements for Personal Hotspot.
  2. Make sure Personal Hotspot is on: Tap Settings > Cellular > Personal Hotspot.
  3. Check the Internet connection on your iOS device: Tap Safari and load a new webpage.
  4. If one connection type doesn’t work, try another. For example, instead of connecting using Wi-Fi, use USB or Bluetooth.
  5. Turn Personal Hotspot off and on: Tap Settings > Personal Hotspot or Settings > Cellular > Personal Hotspot.
  6. Install the latest version of iOS.
  7. Reset your network settings: Tap Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings.
  8. If you still see the issue, restore the iPhone.

If you’re still experiencing issues, try the steps below.

Wi-Fi troubleshooting

If you encounter an issue using Personal Hotspot with other Wi-Fi devices, try these steps:

  1. Turn Personal Hotspot off.
  2. Turn on Wi-Fi: Tap Settings > Wi-Fi.
  3. Turn on Personal Hotspot.
  4. If another device can’t join your Wi-Fi network, make sure the Wi-Fi password is correct.
  5. If the device can’t see your Wi-Fi network, check your device name. Windows may not correctly show a device name that uses non-ASCII characters.
  6. See how many devices are using your Personal Hotspot. Depending on your wireless carrier, the number of Wi-Fi connections may be limited to three devices at once.
  7. If the other device still can’t connect, turn Wi-Fi off and on for the device.
  8. Make sure that your device can see other Wi-Fi networks.

Note: If you see “Unable to Join” or a timeout error when you try to connect a device using Wi-Fi, remain on the Personal Hotspot screen until the first device connects. After the device connects, you can leave the Personal Hotspot screen and use your iPhone normally. Your device will stop broadcasting Wi-Fi if you put it to sleep or if 90 seconds elapse and no connected devices use Wi-Fi. To share your Wi-Fi network again, tap Settings > Personal Hotspot.

USB troubleshooting

If you’re using USB to connect your computer to Personal Hotspot and can’t connect to the Internet, check your computer’s network settings. You may need to disconnect and reconnect the USB Ethernet interface.

Select your operating system for instructions.

Mac OS X

  1. Go to System Preferences > Network.
  2. Select the Ethernet adapter.Network preferences
  3. Click the gear gear_icon icon and choose Make Service Inactive.Make Service Inactive
  4. Choose Make Service Active.

Windows Vista or Windows 7

  1. In the Network and Sharing Center, click View status.View Status
  2. Click Diagnose.

Windows XP

  1. Go to Control Panel > Network Connections.
  2. Right-click the Local Area Connection that lists Apple Mobile Device Ethernet.Network connections
  3. Click Repair.

Bluetooth troubleshooting

If you’re using Bluetooth to connect another device to your Personal Hotspot and you can’t connect to the Internet, try these steps:

  1.  Make sure your Bluetooth connection is active and discoverable.
    • Mac OS X: Click the Bluetooth icon in the menu bar and make sure Discoverable is on. If you don’t see the icon in the menu bar, open System Preferences > Bluetooth and select Show Bluetooth in menu bar.
    • iOS devices: Tap Settings > Bluetooth. Make sure that Bluetooth is on and the bottom of the screen says Now Discoverable. Stay on this screen until pairing is complete.
    • Windows: Choose Start > Control Panel and open Bluetooth Devices. On the Options tab, select Show the Bluetooth icon in the notification area. Click the Bluetooth icon in the notification area and set it to Discoverable.
  2. Pair your device with iPhone or iPad (3rd generation or later) Wi-Fi + Cellular or iPad mini Wi-Fi + Cellular. You’ll be asked to confirm that an identical Pin Code appears on both devices, but you don’t need to enter it.
    • Mac OS X: Open System Preferences > Bluetooth. Click Pair next to your device and follow the onscreen instructions.
    • iPad or iPod touch: Locate the device that’s sharing Personal Hotspot in Settings > Bluetooth and tap the device to begin pairing. You can’t share your cellular data connection with another iPhone using Bluetooth.
    • Windows: Click the Bluetooth icon in the Notification area (system tray), select Add a Bluetooth Device, and follow the onscreen instructions.
  3. Connect to the network using the steps for your operating system.

Mac OS X

Network preferences

  1. Click the Bluetooth icon in the menu bar.
  2. Choose your iOS device.
  3. Choose Connect to network. You can confirm that you’re connected in System Preferences > Network.


Click the Bluetooth icon in the Notification area (system tray).

Select Join A Personal Area Network. You can confirm that you’re connected in Control Panel > Network Connections (XP) or Network and Sharing Center (Windows Vista and Windows 7).

  • Windows Vista or Windows 7Windows Vista or Windows 7 Network and Sharing Center
  • Windows XPWindows XP Network connections

If you can’t connect, follow these steps:

  1. Turn Bluetooth off and on for both devices.
  2. If the issue persists, remove the pairing records from both devices, then pair again:
    • iPad or iPod touch: Tap “i” to the right of the device, then tap Forget this Device.
    • Mac OS X: Open Bluetooth Preferences, select your iOS device, and click the X to remove it. Restart your computer.
    • Windows: Click the Bluetooth icon in the Notification area (system tray), select Show Bluetooth devices, select your iOS device, and click the Remove button. Click OK and restart your computer.
  3. Restart the iOS device.

Learn more

  • Depending on your cellular network connection, incoming or outgoing phone calls may interrupt your Personal Hotspot connection. After you end the call, Personal Hotspot should automatically reconnect with your devices.
  • If you’re outside your wireless carrier’s network coverage area, you may be roaming.
    • To use Personal Hotspot, you need to turn on Settings > Cellular > Data Roaming.
    • Data roaming charges will apply. Check with your wireless carrier if you’re roaming to verify any additional charges.
  • When Personal Hotspot is on, your iOS device automatically shares your Internet connection with your computer when you connect using USB. For example, when you connect your iPhone to your computer to charge or sync with iTunes. To avoid unnecessary data charges, turn off Personal Hotspot when it isn’t in use.


Wireless Diagnostics

wireless logoWireless Diagnostics can help you resolve wireless connectivity issues by analyzing the Wi-Fi network your Mac is connected to and providing solutions. Wireless Diagnostics is included with OS X Mountain Lion v10.8.4 and later.

If you can connect to your Wi-Fi router, but are having issues with webpages loading, sending or receiving email, music or video streaming, or downloading, use Wireless Diagnostics. After Wireless Diagnostics has completed an analysis of your Wi-Fi network, it will list any issues it finds and offer some solutions.

Wireless Diagnostics can collect detailed logs that could be provided to a network specialist, such as an IT person.

How to use the Wireless Diagnostics Assistant

First, update to OS X Mountain Lion v10.8.4 or later, if you have not already.

When Wireless Diagnostics is opened, the Assistant will check your Wi-Fi connection and settings, and provide recommendations if issues are found. After it has completed its tests, a diagnostic report is saved on your desktop. This report can be used for further analysis if needed. You can also choose to let Wireless Diagnostics continue to monitor your connection.

Note: Wireless Diagnostics won’t change your settings, in case you intentionally configured your Wi-Fi settings in a certain way.

  1. Quit all open applications.
  2. Try to join the Wi-Fi network that you are having issues with if you are not already connected.
  3. Open Wireless Diagnostics. Tip: You can hold down the Option key and then click the Wi-Fi menu extra.
  4. Enter your admin name and password when prompted.
  5. Read the Introduction window, then click Continue.
  6. Wireless Diagnostics will test the Wi-Fi connection to your base station or router, and check your Wi-Fi configuration settings.

    If no issues are found, a message will appear indicating that “Your Wi-Fi connection appears to be working as expected.”

    Select “Monitor my Wi-Fi connection” if the issue is intermittent and you want to have your connection monitored. Wireless Diagnostics will monitor your connection until it detects an issue or you stop the monitoring. See the Monitor mode section for more information.

  7. If you don’t want your connection monitored, select “Continue to summary”, then click Continue.
  8. If you wish, enter a description of your physical Wi-Fi network in the Additional Information window, such as where your Wi-Fi base station or router is located.

    This may help as a reference if you need to get additional support from a network specialist, such as an IT person.

  9. Click Continue. The Router Information window appears.
  10. If you wish, enter text to describe what brand, model, and firmware version your Wi-Fi base station or router is using.
  11. Click Continue. The Summary window appears.

About the Summary window

In the Summary window, a list of issues and recommendations appear. Click the “?” button by an item to see more information.

Here is an example of the “Wi-Fi Best Practices” sheet. See the Wi-Fi Best Practices section below as well.

The following suggestions might be offered if your DNS settings appear to be misconfigured:

Follow the recommended steps for each item until they are all completed. Click Done when you are finished.

Wireless Diagnostics will then quit; your Wi-Fi network should be up and running.
About the Wireless Diagnostics report

A compressed file containing details found during the diagnosis will be saved to the desktop of your Mac. The file’s name starts with “WirelessDiagnostics-” and ends with “.tar.gz”.

Typically, the following files are captured, including archived logs:

  • files
  • configd-reachability
  • configd-state
  • configd-store.plist
  • ifconfig
  • ioreg.txt
  • ipconfig
  • kextstat
  • opendirectoryd.log
  • PacketLoggerBluetoothTraceFile.pklg
  • ppp.log
  • spindump.txt
  • system_profiler.spx
  • system.log
  • SystemConfiguration folder
  • SystemDiagnosticReports folder
  • top.txt
  • UserDiagnosticReports folder
  • wifi.log
  • wireless-diagnostics-ID.log

Can’t join a Wi-Fi network?

If you can’t join a Wi-Fi network before running Wireless Diagnostics, it will still collect information which may help diagnose the issue. This information will be saved to your desktop. Solving the connection issue may be simpler if you follow the best practices steps provided in the Summary window.

Wireless Diagnostics helps diagnose connection and configuration issues that occur while the Mac is connected to a Wi-Fi network.

If you can’t connect to your Wi-Fi network, try the following steps.

Make sure Wi-Fi is enabled on your Mac

  1. Make sure Wi-Fi is turned on in the Wi-Fi menu extra. You can view the Wi-Fi status icon in the menu bar to see if Wi-Fi is turned on.

  1. Choose Apple menu () > System Preferences, and then click Network.
  2. If Wi-Fi isn’t in the list of network connection services as shown below, click the add (+) button at the bottom of the list.

  1. Choose Wi-Fi from the Interface pop-up menu. Name the Wi-Fi service, and then click Create.

  1. Click Apply in the Network window.

Wi-Fi is enabled, but Wireless Diagnostics states “Not Connected”

If Wi-Fi is enabled, start by reviewing Wi-Fi Best Practices, and make sure you have a strong signal between your Mac and your Wi-Fi router, or the computer creating the network. It is possible that the Wi-Fi router is too far away from your Mac, or there is some wireless interference affecting the connection.

If you still can’t connect to the Wi-Fi network you can collect information to help diagnose the issue with the support of an IT network specialist.

After clicking Continue, you will see the Additional Information window which will prompt for a description of your physical Wi-Fi network, such as where you Wi-Fi router is located.

Click Continue to go to the Router information window. You may choose to enter text to describe what brand, model and firmware version the Wi-Fi router is using, and then click Continue.

Wireless Diagnostics will generate a Summary report. This may take several minutes to complete.

Click on the ‘?’ button to review the Wi-Fi best practices.

A compressed file containing details found during the diagnosis will be saved to the desktop of your Mac. The file’s name starts with “WirelessDiagnostics-” and ends with “.tar.gz”.

Features and utilities

In addition to letting you quickly view extensive Wi-Fi and networking state information about your current connection (including the Wi-Fi Interface, the Wireless Environment, and your Network Configuration), Wireless Diagnostics includes:

  • The Wireless Diagnostics Assistant
    When Wireless Diagnostics is launched it opens the Assistant, which will help identify Wi-Fi issues and provide recommendations. The Assistant is the main window of Wireless Diagnostics. Upon completion, a diagnostic report will be placed on your desktop which can be used for further analysis if an issue still exists. An option to use Monitor Mode will also be presented in the reporting window.
  • Monitor mode
    Use Monitor mode for intermittent issues, such as unexpectedly dropped connections and auto-join issues. When an issue is detected, Monitor mode will automatically stop, indicate it’s detected an issue, and collect information about what occurred. Information will be saved to the desktop as part of the Wireless Diagnostics report, so that you may share it with a network specialist.

    How to use Monitor mode

    Monitor mode can work when the Mac is on, or in sleep/wake mode. Selecting a different Wi-Fi network from the Wi-Fi menu extra while Monitor Mode is running, or restarting the Mac will end monitoring.

    To start Monitor Mode from the Summary screen, select “Monitor my Wi-Fi connection” and then click Continue. A new window with a progress bar and label will appear indicating that it is monitoring the Wi-Fi connection for problems.

    Clicking either the Continue or Start Over will cancel monitoring.

    If a problem is detected, monitoring will be stopped, and you will be given the option to continue monitoring the Wi-Fi connection or go directly to the Summary screen.

    Click Continue to generate a Wireless Dianostics report that will be saved on the desktop. You might want to share it with a network specialist.


  • Utilities
    Utilities includes additional functionality that can be helpful when resolving intermittent issues, or when working with a service provider. It consists of several tools: Info, Frame Capture, Logging, Wi-Fi Scanning, and Performance. In Wireless Diagnostics, choose Window > Utilities, or press Command-2. The Utilities window appears.

    • Info–Quickly view useful Wi-Fi and networking state information for your current connection in the Info window.

      What’s in the Info window?

      • Wi-Fi Interface
      • Wireless Environment
      • Network Configuration

    • Frame Capture–This advanced utility lets you perform wireless packet captures, such as for for network and IT specialists. Use it if you want to capture Wi-Fi traffic around a reproducible issue.

      Using Frame Capture

      First select a channel. 5 GHz channels are denoted by 1 and -1 at the end.

      • -1 indicates the channel below the primary channel
      • 1 indicates the channel above the primary channel

      Note: These channels are available in the United States. The list will vary by country.

      Click on the Start button, and the Frame Capture will begin to capture Wi-Fi Traffic on the specified channel. Press stop if you wish to stop the capture.

      A file ending in .wcap will be sent to the desktop.

      You can use an application such as Wireshark to view the capture.

    • Logging–Log additional important information for the Wi-Fi interface, the wireless environment, and the current network configuration, then include them in the final diagnostics report archive which will be saved to your desktop. You should enable and disable background logging for specific logs if requested by your IT network specialists.

      Select the logs you want to capture by checking them, and then clicking the Collect Logs button. Define when to collect each type of log.

      Note: Wireless Diagnostics will continue to collect logs even if you quit the application or restart the computer. Make sure you open Wireless Diagnostics again and uncheck logs after you are done collecting them.

    • Wi-Fi Scanning–Wi-Fi Scanning will examine the Wi-Fi environment around you, and let you know what Wi-Fi routers exist. It includes information on the Network name, Password Security type, Protocol, Signal Strength, and Noise, as well as Channel, Band, and Country the router is designed for.

      Select Scan Now button

      You can sort by category, and columns can be resized.

    • Performance – The Performance window shows information about your current connection, as well as two live signal graphs.

      A SNR graph compares the Signal and Noise transmission Ratio, where the Signal (dBm) graph separates the two. The numbers are relative, and there isn’t an exact value that indicates an excellent signal relative to a poor signal simply because there are so many factors involved. However, if you look at the Quality value provided in the top left side of the Performance window, you will see an indicator showing what the perceived quality of the Wi-Fi signal is.

      • Poor – Unreliable wireless connection with frequent disconnects, poor throughput, and slow network performance.
      • Good – Reliable wireless connection with moderate throughout and network performance.
      • Excellent – Reliable wireless connection with excellent throughout and network performance.

      Understanding the Performance graphs


      Bigger numbers are better. As you move further away from your Wi-Fi router the numbers will get smaller, and the signal will degrade until you eventually lose your connection. This may also happen if there are physical materials blocking the signal between your Mac and the W-Fi router, such as walls containing bathroom tile, steel, etc.

      Signal (dBm)

      Received Signal Strength Indication (RSSI) is better if the -number is smaller , so -45 is better than -55.

      Noise is the opposite. It is better to have less noise, so -90 is better than -80. The higher Noise (Blue line) rises, the poorer the signal quality will be.

      The bigger the gap between RSSI and Noise, the better.

      Example: If your Mac is very hot, or you are using a 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi network and there is a microwave oven turned on between the Wi-Fi router and the Mac, you might see this Noise line rise, and your Wi-Fi signal quality would not be as good.


Wi-Fi best practices

Wi-Fi best practices are recommended configuration steps for most 802.11-based Wi-Fi routers. These settings are recommended for all Macs and iOS devices that support Wi-Fi, and will help ensure best performance, security, and reliability. If you are having issues with dropped connections or auto-joining, review the Wi-Fi Best Practices dialog.

Before configuring or adjusting specific settings, perform the following steps:

  1. Ensure that your Wi-Fi router’s firmware is up to date.
  2. Verify that all Wi-Fi devices you intend to use support the settings recommended in this article.
  3. If possible, back up your current Wi-Fi router’s settings through its software or web interface.
  4. If necessary, refer to the product documentation or manufacturer’s website.
  5. Forget or remove the Wi-Fi settings for your network from any devices that connect to your router. This will prevent the devices from attempting to connect to your network with the old configuration. You will need to reconnect these devices to your network after you’ve finished applying the new settings.

Important: You should configure all Wi–Fi base stations on the same network with the same settings to avoid connectivity and reliability issues. On dual-band Wi-Fi base stations, configure both bands to use the same settings unless otherwise noted.