This article explains what you can do when you cannot use captive Wi-Fi networks on your iOS (iPhone, iPad) device or your Mac. Captive Wi-Fi hotspots let you use the Internet in public places such as coffee shops, Internet cafes, bus stops, university campuses, hospitals, hotels, airports, and other public locations. Captive networks require users to provide additional log-in information in order to connect. These Wi-Fi connections are offered sometimes free (but you subscribe) and sometimes you pay for. The most common problem that users are experiencing is that the login screen just never loads even though your device’s Wi-Fi icon indicates that you are connected. And this prevents users from connecting to the Internet.
Ideally, you are supposed to be redirected to the login popup page where you will see an authorization page and this is where you accept that place’s (airport, coffee shot etc) Wi-Fi terms & conditions and click “Connect” before browsing the Internet. Are you having this problem also? Is the Wi-Fi login screen not showing up when you attempt you connect your device to the Internet. Then this article is for you.
Please try each step one at a time until you resolve your issue.
1. In your browser, enter a URL’s full address and hit enter. This may trigger the login screen. For example, do not just type macreports.com but, instead, type https://macreports.com in the address bar.
2. Go to the following URL, this will usually trigger the captive portal:
3. Restart your device. Here is how:
- iOS: Press and hold the on/off (side or top), or if you are using an iPhone X or 11 then press and hold the on/off and volume up buttons together, until you see the red slider. And then slide the power off slider. You can also turn off your device by going to Settings > General > Shut Down if your device is running iOS 12 or later. Then restart your iOS device, by pressing and hold the side button until you see the Apple logo.
- macOS: On your Mac, click the Apple menu and then Restart.
4. Clear history, cookies and web site data. Here is how:
- iOS: tap Settings > Safari > scroll down and tap Clear History and Website Data.
- macOS: Open the Safari app, choose Safari > Preferences, click the Privacy tab > Manage Website Data and Remove All.
5. Reset your Wi-Fi. Note that by doing so, you will lose all the Passwords and Config. Here is how:
- iPhone, iPad or iPod touch: Go to Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings.
- macOS: On your Mac: Click Apple menu > System Preferences > Network > Wi-Fi (left menu) and select the ‘-‘ (minus) sign to remove the service (you may have to enter your admin password), and then click the ‘+’ (plus) sign and select Wi-Fi and set it up again.
6. Try turning off alternative 3rd party DNS servers, if you are using. Some people use 3rd party DNS servers (Google DNS, OpenDNS etc) for various reasons (privacy, performance reasons, etc). If you are one of those people, try turning this off. Here is how:
- iOS: Tap Settings > select the Wi-Fi connection > tap the small ‘i’ icon, which is located next to your selected Wi-Fi network. Find the DNS section and tap Configure DNS and tap Automatic and exit Settings.
- macOS: Click Apple menu > System Preferences > Network and click the Advanced button and then DNS tab, select the 3rd party DNS numbers and click the ‘-‘ icon to remove them and click OK and exit Settings.
7. Try forcing the sign-in/acceptance screen to open. This easy trick may solve your problem. Here is how:
On your Mac or iOS device, open your browser (e.g., Safari) and try the following URLs and hit enter and you may see the login page:
8. Try Private mode in your browser. Here is how you can turn on private browsing on your device:
- iOS: In Safari, tap the square tab icon then tap Private, then tap Done and close the other tabs.
- macOS: choose File > New Private Window and close the other non-private window.
Please note that Safari will be black or dark when you use Private mode.
9. Restart your Mac in safe mode. Here is how:
- Turn off your Mac (Apple menu > Shut Down)
- Turn on your Mac and immediately press and hold the Shift key
- Release the Shift key when you see the login screen
- Your Mac will start in safe mode
- Now in safe mode, try connecting to the Hotspot
- Is it working? Whatever your answer is exit safe mode by restarting your Mac normally (without pressing any key)
10. On your Mac, visit a site by using the Terminal app. Here is how:
- Open Terminal (you may use Spotlight): Applications / Utilities
- Enter the following command and hit enter:
- open -a “Safari” http://macreports.com