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How to automatically connect devices to WiFi

by | Nov 11, 2021

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Reconnecting to your WiFi network every time you come home or go to work can waste your time and cause frustration. Many of your devices may already automatically connect whenever you’re in range of a known WiFi network, but sometimes auto-join needs to be manually set up. This guide details how to auto-join WiFi across a variety of devices, including iPhone, iPad, Windows, Mac and Android devices.

Note: Before you automatically connect your devices to WiFi, you should secure your home WiFi and only join other WiFi networks that you trust to be secure. Connecting to an unsecured or public network can pose a cybersecurity risk, as it may allow hackers to access your device.

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How to auto-join WiFi on iPhone and iPad devices

Once you’ve first connected to a WiFi network, your iPhone or iPad devices should automatically reconnect when you’re in range of the network. However, sometimes this auto-join setting can be switched off and you’ll no longer automatically connect. To connect to WiFi automatically, follow these steps.

  1. Open Settings and click on WiFi.
  2. Tap on your desired WiFi network and look for the Auto-Join If the toggle is green, the function has already been turned on. If the toggle is not green, it will be off.
  3. Tap Auto-Join to turn the function on. Once turned on, your device will automatically connect to the chosen WiFi network whenever in range.

How to auto-join WiFi on Android devices

Android devices can also automatically connect to your WiFi network. To auto-join WiFi networks on an Android device, you simply need to join the network once.

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Network & Internet and choose WiFi.
  3. Tap your desired WiFi network within range. Networks that require a password show a lock symbol next to the network name.
  4. After you connect, the network will be saved on your device. When your phone is in range and WiFi is turned on, you will automatically connect to WiFi.

If you turn your WiFi off, you’ll no longer automatically connect until you turn your WiFi back on. However, Android devices also include the ability to automatically turn on WiFi when in range of a known network. If you want to keep your WiFi off, you can turn off this function.

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Network & Internet and choose WiFi.
  3. Scroll down and tap WiFi Preferences.
  4. Select Turn on WiFi automatically.

An entire family enjoys time together on their connected devices.

How to auto-join WiFi on a computer

Whether you own a Windows or Mac, you’ll be able to automatically join WiFi on your laptop or desktop computer as easily as auto-joining on your mobile device. If your computer is unable to auto-join your WiFi network, it may be due to a recent update or minor computer glitch. Restarting your computer may solve this issue.

Windows OS

By default, your Windows computer will automatically connect to a WiFi network it’s previously been connected to. If your computer does not automatically connect, troubleshoot the problem by disconnecting from WiFi.

  1. Click on the WiFi icon on the taskbar.
  2. Choose your WiFi network name.
  3. Tap Disconnect to forget the WiFi network temporarily.
  4. Once you’ve disconnected from WiFi, choose the same network and reconnect. You may need to reenter your WiFi password to reconnect.

Mac OS

Your Mac laptop or desktop computer will automatically try to reconnect to the network it’s most recently been connected to while in range. However, if you’re in an environment with more than one wireless network, like an apartment or office building, you can also set up your Mac to join a preferred network by following these steps.

  1. Open the Apple menu, indicated by the Apple logo.
  2. Select System Preferences and then click Network.
  3. On the list on the left, tap WiFi. Then, select Advanced.
  4. Drag your preferred WiFi network to the top of the list to give it the highest priority. Your computer will try to join this network first when in range.
  5. If you’ve previously joined a network that isn’t secure, remove it from the list by selecting it and clicking Remove.

A person enjoys listening to music on a wireless speaker.

What to do if your device keeps disconnecting from WiFi

If your device keeps disconnecting from your WiFi or doesn’t automatically connect when in range, it may be due to other issues, like a poor network connection. Using your device too far from your router or keeping your mobile device on Airplane mode may also be stopping it from auto-joining WiFi. If you commonly experience WiFi connection issues, check out our guide to troubleshoot why your WiFi keeps disconnecting. For more guides and articles about WiFi, explore the CenturyLink WiFi Setup and Troubleshooting section of our Support Center.

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