OS X Wi-Fi: Disentangling Yourself from the "Xfinitywifi" Network

Lately I’ve been running into a lot of trouble with folks who’ve joined a Comcast “xfinitywifi” network. These nationwide Wi-Fi hotspots are provided by Comcast through the use of its customers’ modems, which I suppose is all right if you’re a Comcast subscriber who’s out and about and desperate for network connectivity. The issue starts, however, when computers begin auto-joining that open network after they’ve connected to it that first time. If you’re able to enter your Comcast credentials and access the Internet, great. But if you’re at home and should be on your own Wi-Fi instead—you know, the one with access to your printers, say—this can cause all sorts of frustrating issues that aren’t always easy for people to figure out. So if you need to stop the auto-joining madness on your own Mac or on someone else’s, here’s how. 

First, make sure you’re not actively using that Comcast network by clicking on the Wi-Fi icon at the top-right of your screen. The network you’re currently joined to will have a check mark beside it.

I have a very clever neighbor.

Then click on the Apple Menu at the upper-left corner of your screen and choose “System Preferences.”

When that application opens, click on the “Network” option, and then if it’s not already selected on the following screen, pick “Wi-Fi” from the left-hand list.

Next, choose “Advanced” at the bottom of the window.

On the drop-down that’ll appear, pick the Wi-Fi tab. You’ll scroll through your “Preferred Networks” list until you find the “xfinitywifi” one; then just select it and click the minus button to remove it.

Confirm that you know what you’re doing on Apple’s scary warning box.

Then you’ll have two final steps: Click “OK” for the current window, and then select “Apply” within the Network preferences pane when your Mac takes you back out there. And you’re done! No longer will you join that Comcast network automatically. Of course, you can re-join it manually if you must, but if you’re not a current Comcast subscriber, it won’t do you any good anyhow. 

And hey, what’re you doing going around randomly clicking on open Wi-Fi networks? Be careful with that, guys! Or at least use a VPN if you’re gonna do it anyway—I like Cloak myself.