The Most Common Mobile WiFi Problems (and how to fix them)

by Sandra Henshaw - , Last Updated on May 23, 2016, How To Guides

Having a smart phone is pretty awesome, but without an internet connection, that smart phone just becomes, well, a dumb phone. Mobile internet is more than a convenience for many of us, it’s a necessity. But if you want to save on those expensive mobile data bills, then you’re going to want to switch to WiFi whenever possible. What happens when your mobile WiFi isn’t working though? That’s what we’re here to find out. If you’re having WiFi problems with your phone, then here’s how you can fix them.

Basic WiFi Problems: Your First Step

Whatever kind of WiFi problem you’re having, there are a couple of things that you should try before you do anything else. Before you attempt a more difficult fix, pull down your main menu and switch off the WiFi (just click on the WiFi icon) then switch it back on again. Didn’t work? Then if you happen to have access to the WiFi router, try rebooting it, simply switch it off for a few seconds, then back on. This might solve a system problem. If the problem still seems to be your phone, then try switching on Airplane Mode, back out of the menu, then go back and switch it off again. This could be enough to kick start your mobile WiFi back into action.

Moving up a step, you’ll now want to switch your phone off, then back on again. That didn’t work? Then try rebooting into safe mode, which might let your phone fix its problem itself. This is pretty simple to do. Press the power button on your phone and when you get the option to “power off” press and hold this for a few seconds and you should get another menu. This will ask you if you want to reboot in safe mode, so click on ok. Your phone will switch off and then switch back on again in safe mode, but don’t worry, you don’t need to do anything. Wait a minute or so, then switch your phone off and then on again and it should reboot in normal mode. Now try the WiFi again. Still no luck? Then keep reading!

The IP Address Problem

If your WiFi still isn’t working, the most common problem is that your phone for some reason isn’t connecting to the IP address of your router. If you go into your settings menu, then WiFi networks and check the network that you want to connect to you might find that the network says “searching for IP address” or something similar. It looks like it’s working to connect to the WiFi, but never actually connects. There are various reasons for this, but they’re not really important, what is important is the fix…

Sometimes rebooting the WiFi router fixes this, sometimes it doesn’t. You can try to factory reset your phone, which nearly always fixes the problem, but that means a whole process of backing up your data and reinstalling it again if you don’t want to lose anything. If that sounds like too much trouble, then there is an easier way. Assuming that you still have an internet connection through mobile data, just go to your app store and download an app called “WiFi Fixer.” Open the app and follow the instructions that you’re given and you should find your problem fixed. If it’s not, then that factory reset might be your only option…

WiFi Keeps Disconnecting

If your WiFi signal keeps disconnecting all by itself then you probably have a problem in your settings menu. This is especially true if you’re the only person in the house having problems. Head into your settings menu, hit WiFi, then hit the three dots in the top right corner to get a new menu and choose “advanced.” Press the option that says “keep WiFi on during sleep” and then hit either “yes” or “always” depending on which option is offered to you. This should stop your phone dropping the connection every time its screen goes down.

Hidden Networks and Connectivity

A hidden network is one that doesn’t show up on your list of options when you’re looking for a WiFi signal to connect to. This might be a glitch, or could be because the network was designed to be private. If you know that this network exists and you have the password to access it, then you can add it manually. Just go to settings, then WiFi, then Add Network, and enter the network name and password.

On a somewhat related note, if you’re trying to connect to an ad hoc network (which means that you’re trying to use a WiFi signal from someone else’s device to get your own device online) then be aware that most Android phones do not allow you to do this. There are work arounds, but you’ll need some tech knowledge to make them work… (and they might not be legal or effective!).

Slow WiFi

Finally, maybe you can connect to your WiFi network, but your getting speeds so slow that you can’t browse the internet. Unfortunately, there’s probably not a lot you can do about this. You can try moving closer to the router to get a better signal, which may work. But most probably this is caused because there is too much traffic on the network, meaning too many other people are trying to go online as well using the same signal. This is especially true with public WiFi networks. In this case, there’s really nothing you can do.

If these slow speeds are happening to you at home, or somewhere where you know there aren’t too many other users, then try downloading a speedtest app. This will show you the actual speeds that you’re getting. If these speeds are significantly lower than your internet provider promises then it’s worth giving them a call and seeing if they can fix the problem for you.

And that’s all you need to know about mobile WiFi problems. Hopefully you’re back online and surfing as we speak!