Frustrated? Powerless? However your Android smartphone makes you feel when it can’t connect to Wi-Fi, we’ve got you covered with this detailed trouble-shooting guide to Android connectivity issues. Is it a simple setting or network issue? Will re-starting help? Read on—and while we’re on the subject of improving performance, find out how optimization software like Avira Antivirus Security for Android can help keep your device running more quickly and smoothly.
Don’t let Android Wi-Fi connectivity issues ruin your day
Work, email, online shopping and banking, social media posts…mobile phones have become our daily digital companions and an integral part of our lives. It’s precisely because we rely on them so much that Wi-Fi problems quickly become big challenges to our productivity, social lives, and even wellbeing! Fortunately, there are many quick fixes at hand so hopefully you’ll be up and running (sorry—posting, browsing, scrolling) again fast.
So, why is your Android phone stubbornly refusing to connect to Wi-Fi? There are many possible answers. It could be a network or signal outage, or perhaps you overlooked a device setting that stops you going online. You may even be using the wrong network password or even the wrong network. In addition to software and network problems, there could also be hardware issues. With a lineup of so many suspects, it’s a question of patiently working your way down a list to eliminate possible causes as you go. It’s also always worth checking that a malware infection isn’t making your phone behave strangely. The good news is that none of these steps requires in-depth technical knowledge, so you don’t need to give up your day job or hire an expert. You can whizz through them yourself, starting right here and now.
Android not connecting to Wi-Fi? Suspect 1: Your device
To eliminate your phone as the cause of your connection woes, start by rebooting it. “Switch it off and on again” is probably the oldest IT mantra. Restarting a device can help it connect to a wireless network because it forces any troublesome apps to restart. We all feel more productive after a quick break!
Here’s how to restart your Android device. Please note that these steps can vary slightly by device manufacturer and model: Go to Settings > Connections > Wi-Fi. Choose the Wi-Fi network you’re having trouble with, and tap Forget. Then restart your device. When it’s up and running, choose your network again and enter the password.
If that hasn’t fixed the problem, it’s time to check your phone’s existing settings. Here is a comprehensive list of the typical culprits:
- Wi-Fi: This might seem too obvious, but we sometimes forget to check the simplest things. Open your Android Settings > Connections. Make sure the Wi-Fi switch is toggled on. If it’s on, you can switch it off and on again to reset the connection.
- Airplane mode: If it’s enabled, it will prevent your device from connecting to the web. Access Airplane mode by seeing Settings > Connections on most Samsung phones or Settings > Network and Internet on many Google Pixel phones.
- Auto-connect: When switched on, it allows your Android to connect to individual Wi-Fi networks automatically. If it’s off, and you haven’t manually given permission for your Android to connect to Wi-Fi, then–congratulations–you’ve found the cause of your connection issues. Remember that if you want to use your mobile data but your Android Wi-Fi keeps turning on, you can disable Auto-reconnect for that network.
- Parental controls: These are useful for filtering out adult content and restricting downloads, but they can also limit Wi-Fi connections. Turn these settings off for unrestricted access: On your phone, tap the icon for the Google Play Store (or the Family Link app) and then click on the profile image in the upper right corner. Navigate to Settings > Family > Parental Controls. If you do need to shield younger members of the household, nearly all Android phones let you add a restricted profile for them.
- Location settings: GPS tracking can hog your Wi-Fi connection, slowing it down. Turn off location tracking by choosing Settings > Location. If you’re an Apple user, you can do the same to help speed up the internet on your iPhone!
- Automatic password filling: Did you recently change your password? Perhaps you forgot to update your password manager and it’s auto-filling the old password? Log in to your password manager and add your Wi-Fi network password again.
If you’ve finished delving into your phone’s settings and are still none the wiser, remove your phone from its case. Is it a new case that you’ve never used before? Some phone cases are too bulky and can hamper Android Wi-Fi connectivity. They can also cause your device to overheat which may also result in Wi-Fi issues.
If you’ve checked out all of the above and your Android is still refusing to connect to Wi-Fi, then it’s time to examine another prime suspect: Your modem/router and network.
Android not connecting to Wi-Fi? Suspect 2: Your router or internet service provider (ISP)
The fault may lie with your choice of network, or your signal might be disrupted. Follow these steps to solve some of the most common Wi-Fi network problems.
Step 1: Are you connected to the right router and are you sure your network password is correct?
This is an excellent question because trying to connect to your neighbor’s network instead of yours is a common mistake, especially if they have similar names that consist of random letters and numbers. Also, make sure to double-check the password for your router. Unless you changed it, you’ll find it on a sticker on your router. When entering the password, make sure it includes the correct capitalization and special characters. Also tap the “eye” icon next to the password field to see the characters that you’re entering.
Step 2: Is Bluetooth disrupting your Wi-Fi signal?
Did you know that Bluetooth loves to interfere with Wi-Fi networks? That’s mainly because both send signals over a 2.4GHz radio frequency. Bluetooth can cut off access to the internet entirely or significantly slow down the speed. If it’s on, switch Bluetooth off on your device and see if that solves the problem. If you are now able to connect your Android to Wi-Fi, consider switching your router from a 2.4GHz band to a 5GHz band (if possible) as this should allow you to use Bluetooth and Wi-Fi simultaneously without problems. If you’re concerned about your internet speed in general, explore the possible causes of slow internet here.
To check or switch off Bluetooth on most Samsung phones, swipe down from the top of the screen and tap on the Bluetooth icon so it greys out. On a Google Pixel device, see Settings > Connected Devices > Connection Preferences > Bluetooth (or use the Settings search bar to search for Bluetooth).
Step 3: Is your modem signal blocked or your router infected with malware?
If you’re using your phone behind a wall, you may not be able to connect to your Wi-Fi network as concrete or metal walls can block signals. Move closer to your internet router. Did you know that routers can get malware like viruses that could wreak havoc with your settings? A reputable anti-malware helps keep all your internet-enabled devices safer.
Step 4: Are you out of data?
Mobile internet can come with a data limit, but did you know that some ISPs may also cap home network traffic and even plans with unlimited data often have usage thresholds? Your Wi-Fi may not be working because you’ve exceeded your data limit and your service has been throttled. Here’s how to check your data usage on most Android devices:
Open Settings < Tap Network & internet < Select SIMs. At the top you’ll see how much total data you’ve used.
To see graphs and details, tap App data usage. To pick a date range, click on the down arrow at the top. Below the graph you’ll see a list of your apps, including how much data they’re using.
Samsung Galaxy devices:
Swipe up from your home screen to access your apps.
Tap Settings < Connections < Data usage.
The amount of mobile data you’ve used will be displayed here. (Note: By default, your data usage is tracked from the start to the end of the month before being reset).
You can check how much data each of your apps is using by again heading to Settings < Connections < Mobile Data Usage. If an app is using too much data, you can restrict it by following these steps:
Swipe up from your home screen to access your apps. Select Apps to see a list of all your apps and then tap the app you want to restrict. Click on Mobile Data and then tap the switch to allow or restrict background usage.
Step 5: It’s time to reboot your modem
If you’re sure that you’re using the right Wi-Fi network and password, and you’re not sitting in a dungeon, then it’s time to get a little more heavy-handed: Reboot your router by unplugging all the cords or switching it off at the wall. Then wait a few minutes. After you plug it back in, wait a minute or two for it to set up. While you’re waiting, why not reboot your phone, laptop, tablet, and any other devices that you’re using? When everything is up and running again, turn on Wi-Fi to see if you’ve solved your connectivity issues. Good luck.
Android still not connecting to Wi-Fi? The final suspects
Is your phone infected with malware? We’ve already touched on the importance of keeping your router free from online threats. Given how much time we spend on them, and how much personal data we store on them, it’s no wonder that mobile phones are a popular target for malware and hackers and some malware infections can interrupt your Wi-Fi connection. Ransomware is a notoriously nasty online threat whereby cybercriminals take over your phone and encrypt your data. If you want them to release your files, you’ll have to pay a ransom. Find out how to protect your Android phone from ransomware and learn how to remove it here.
Perhaps your VPN is slowing your connection? Explore the five things you should know before buying a VPN. A Virtual Private Network encrypts your online data traffic to help protect it from external access and helps shield your online privacy. And your location can’t be traced because your device will seem to have the IP address of the VPN server. But there is a downside: A VPN can slow down your Wi-Fi connection, so choose a reputable, high-speed provider. Avira Phantom VPN has over 1000 servers around the globe and helps keep you safer online—even when you’re using public Wi-Fi.
Contact your phone manufacturer’s customer support
Support teams are there to help, so don’t feel you have to go it alone. Contact Samsung directly from your Samsung device and they will try to help fix your Wi-Fi connection. Google Pixel users can contact Googe support for their phones. If you’re using different hardware, simply see that company’s website and contact their support.
Is it time to update your Android?
Perhaps your wireless network isn’t working because you’re using an outdated Android version and it’s causing compatibility issues with your online connectivity? Not updating your phone can cause performance glitches (including Wi-Fi connectivity problems) and online security hazards, plus you’ll miss out on the latest features. It’s essential to keep the software and apps on all your devices updated to help maintain faster and more stable performance, and it’s no different with your mobile phone. Older software can also contain security vulnerabilities that are known to hackers, so falling behind on updates can put you at greater risk of online threats. Your Android phone should update automatically but Wi-Fi issues can prevent this. You could also have an age issue (your phone; not you of course). Android devices that are several years old may no longer update because updates are no longer being created for these models. As much as you love your phone, it may be time to upgrade it.
Or is your device simply full? Then it might not have enough storage space to complete an update. Try deleting apps you don’t use, plus large files like photos and videos. Explore this blog on how to free up storage space on Android phones—and don’t miss our Android phone app recommendation below. It promises to help you achieve a cleaner, leaner, and faster device more easily.
Is your phone weighed down by digital junk? You need a cleaning assistant for Android
It doesn’t matter which Android phone you use—it will need regular maintenance to keep it running at its best. A dedicated performance app can help free up space and memory on your phone and helps improve system usage for faster browsing and less lag.
Avira Antivirus for Android combines security, privacy, and performance features in one easy-to-use free app. There’s a built-in RAM cleaner to help optimize memory and shut down unnecessary processes that could impact your phone’s performance. Need more space? The junk cleaner helps clear your cache and can delete junk and duplicate files on your phone and SD card. There’s antivirus protection too, plus a VPN to help conceal your online activities from trackers and advertisers.