iOS: What To Do When Your Public Wi-Fi Won’t Connect All the Way

1 minute read
| Quick Tip

Public Wi-Fi is pretty easy to find for most folks. You just go to your local Starbucks or even Whole Foods, and you can surf the web. Some of these Wi-Fi portals just let you log on without any hassle, but many of them have login pages. These serve up ads, notify you of the terms of conditions, and occasionally ask for you to pay to play. What do you do, though, when nothing at all happens after you connect to a public Wi-Fi hotspot? You follow this Quick Tip and force the right screen to appear.

Public Wi-Fi

When you don’t get the login screen on a public Wi-Fi hotspot, there’s something you can do to force the dialog to appear (Image Credit: Socifi)

How Public Wi-Fi Hotspots Sometimes Foul Up

The problem is more common than you might think. You connect to the public Wi-Fi, and then try to open a web page. Instead of the site you’re trying to visit, though, Safari tells you it isn’t connected to the internet. What do you do then?

A broken public Wi-Fi hotspot might show this

A broken public Wi-Fi hotspot might show this

Public Wi-Fi hotspots that require you to log in will restrict your access to secure websites until you authenticate somehow or acknowledge that you agree to their terms and conditions. From the iPhone’s point of view, it just doesn’t have access to the internet, because most web pages you might try to visit are secure. That’s why all you see is the notification that you aren’t connected to the internet.

Force the Public Hotspot to Log You In

To force the hotspot to log you in, you need to attempt to visit a non-secure website. Apple has just the thing, and it’s actually what the login screens are supposed to launch in. When the screen doesn’t appear for you, just open Safari and type captive.apple.com into the address bar. That web site will always deliver a non-secure page, because it’s used to connect to the public hotspot’s login portal.

After you do that, you should get the appropriate login page. If not, check to see if other people around you are having problems. It could be that the wireless router needs to be reset. Most of the time, though, this little tip will do the trick, and you’ll be back to surfing on someone else’s dime.

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