Do you know that your Mac devices are capable of joining networks automatically that you never asked them to join? This article will show you how to keep your Mac safe from unknown networks and forget them on your Mac.
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How to Forget A Network on Mac
Connecting to Wi-Fi networks on your Mac is a breeze thanks to Apple. Simply click the Wi-Fi icon in the menu bar to see a list of available networks. If you’ve previously connected to one of these and it requires a password, simply click on it, and your Mac will automatically enter the password for you and allow you to connect quickly.
If you’re in a public location, such as a coffee shop or airport, your Mac will remember the network and your login information and sync them via iCloud. That means you can connect to whatever device you want without having to keep track of your password and username. However, it is very easy to forget the unwanted networks. Keep reading.
Why does my Mac save Wi-Fi networks?
The concept is: by caching and storing the details of previously joined networks on the device, macOS makes rejoining those connections in the future easier. And by syncing those details via iCloud, you can enjoy that convenience on all your devices.
Why should I make my Mac to forget a Wi-Fi network?
Storing information about networks to which you’ve connected can pose a security risk for a few reasons:
– If a network you’ve connected to is unsafe, you must not let your Mac automatically connect to it the next time it comes into range. This is what will happen if the network details are not deleted from the device.
– Storing information about public networks to which you’ve connected could give someone access to your Mac. They can easily learn more about your movements, such as your workplace or a coffee shop you visit frequently.
Viewing Saved Wi-Fi Networks
Your Mac saves information about previously joined Wi-Fi networks in two places:
- In System Settings, you can see the names of all the networks saved in your iCloud account. You can view the networks by following the steps below:
- Select System Settings.
- Network from the Apple menu.
- Select Wi-Fi, then scroll down to Advanced. You will find all the networks listed there.
- Keychain Access is another location where the stored networks are saved. Follow the steps below to view them:
- Open Keychain Access by going to Applications > Utilities
- In the search bar, type ‘AirPort’ (Apple refers to all Wi-Fi networks as ‘AirPort’)
- You’ll see a list of Wi-Fi networks along with the date you last used their username or password
How to Forget a Network on a Mac Manually
You can delete Wi-Fi networks manually but it’s a long process as you will have to delete them one by one. Below are the two methods by which you can forget and delete the Wi-Fi networks.
- Select System Settings from the Apple menu.
- Choose Network, then Wi-Fi.
- Scroll to the bottom of the window and select Advanced.
- Navigate to the section Known Networks.
- Select Remove from List from the More menu (three dots in a circle).
- Click on Remove from the list.
- Enter your user password or use Touch ID to authenticate.
This is a quick process, so simply follow the steps below to erase a specific network on your Mac. The good news is that in this method any forgotten networks will be visible in the list as your Mac detects them as available to join. So, you won’t have to scroll past them every time you open the settings if you’re nowhere near them.
This method to forget networks is also ideal if you’re moving house and need to change your Wi-Fi network, or if you’re graduating from college and no longer require access to an academic network. Here’s how you can do it:
- Click the Wi-Fi icon in the menu bar at the top-right corner of your screen.
- From the menu, choose Open Network Preferences.
- Select Advanced.
- To select the network in question, click on it.
- Click the minus button to the right of the list.
The network will be removed from your list of previously joined networks. If you want to connect to the network in question again in the future, you’ll have to do it manually, including entering any network passwords, so keep that in mind before making your decision.
How to Reconnect to a Network After Your Mac Forgets It
You may need to join a Wi-Fi network once again after telling your Mac to forget about it. Simply click the Wi-Fi icon in the menu bar on the top right of your screen, select the network, and enter the password. It will ask you to enter the password because you had forgotten it on your device earlier and the saved network login details got deleted.
Once you enter the password, your Mac will now remember the network. You can choose to delete it once you’re done using it. You can also keep it in the list, but make sure your Mac doesn’t join it the next time you’re in range of it. Here’s how you can reconnect to a Wi-Fi network after you’ve deleted it:
- Navigate to System > Network > Wi-Fi.
- Select Advanced.
- Locate the network in the list and select More.
- Unselect it by clicking the Auto-join button.
macOS wants to make your life as easy as possible. This is the reason why it remembers the Wi-Fi networks you connect to, making it easier for you to connect to them the next time you need them without the need of remembering the login details. However, remembering networks and automatically connecting to them can be a security risk if the network is unsafe, or a privacy risk if someone gains access to your Mac. Luckily, it’s easy to make your Mac forget the networks — all you have to do is follow the methods above.