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How to Forget a Network on Mac: A Simple Step-by-Step Guide

Have you ever connected to a Wi-Fi network on your Mac, perhaps at a coffee shop or hotel, and then realized weeks later it still automatically connects, slowing your computer down? We‘ve all been there before. Cleaning up your Mac‘s remembered network list by forgetting old connections is a quick and easy way to speed up connectivity.

In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll walk you step-by-step through how to forget a network on Mac. By the end, you‘ll know how to:

  • Delete saved networks you no longer use
  • Troubleshoot auto-join issues
  • Optimize your Mac‘s network performance

Let‘s get started removing those old network connections!

Why You Should Forget Old Networks

Before we dive into the steps, you‘re probably wondering…why bother forgetting saved networks in the first place? Here are a few key reasons:

  • Security: Networks you‘ve connected to in public places can leave your Mac vulnerable if it auto-connects again. Forgetting them prevents security issues.
  • Speed: Your Mac constantly scans for and tries to join remembered networks, slowing down your connectivity if none are available. Removing old networks makes your Mac‘s Wi-Fi faster.
  • Clutter: Saved networks build up over time and clutter your settings. Forgetting old ones declutters your network list.
  • Access: Networks you no longer have login credentials for will cause connection issues if your Mac tries to auto-join. Removing them avoids hassles accessing your computer.
Reason Explanation
Security Forgetting public networks prevents auto-connect security risks
Speed Less remembered networks means faster Wi-Fi performance
Clutter Removing old networks declutters your settings
Access Deleting expired networks avoids connection issues

Forgetting obsolete network connections keeps your Mac safe, speedy, and clutter-free. Now let‘s look at how to actually remove networks.

Step 1: Access Your Network Settings

The first step is accessing your Mac‘s network settings where the list of remembered networks is stored. Here‘s how:

  1. Click the Apple menu () in the top left corner of the screen.
  2. Select System Settings from the dropdown menu.
  3. Click Network in the sidebar to open network settings.

This will open the network settings page showing all your saved networks.

Tip: You can also search for "network" using Spotlight Search (⌘+Spacebar) to quickly open network settings.

Step 2: Find the Network You Want to Forget

Once in network settings, you‘ll see two sections:

  • My Networks: Wi-Fi networks your Mac automatically joins.
  • Other Networks: All other saved networks.

Scroll through and locate the network you want to remove.

Pro Tip: You can use Command + F ("find" shortcut) to search the network list and quickly locate the one you need.

Step 3: Delete the Network

With the unwanted network selected, it‘s time to delete it:

  • My Networks: Click the i icon and select Forget this Network
  • Other Networks: Click Edit > icon > Remove

Then confirm by clicking Remove on the prompt.

Done! That network is now forgotten and your Mac won‘t auto-connect to it again.

Alternative: Turn Off Auto-Join

If you don‘t want to fully forget a network but prefer your Mac not automatically join it when in range, you can simply turn off auto-join instead.

Here‘s how to disable auto-join:

  1. Follow Steps 1-2 above to find the network.
  2. Toggle the switch off next to Auto-Join.

The network will stay saved but won‘t automatically connect anymore.

Step 4: Reboot Your Mac

Once you forget a network, it‘s a good idea to reboot your Mac. This clears the network from memory and ensures your Mac won‘t still try to auto-connect.

To reboot:

  • Apple menu > Restart

Or use the keyboard shortcut Control + Command + Power button.

After your Mac restarts, the forgotten network should be gone for good!

Troubleshooting: Mac Keeps Connecting

In some cases, you may delete a network but your Mac still tries to auto-connect to it.

If this happens, try these troubleshooting steps:

  • Reboot your router in addition to your Mac to clear the network from all devices.
  • On your Mac, open Terminal and enter:
sudo dscacheutil -flushcache; 
sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder

This will flush your DNS cache and reset any network issues.

  • Reset your Mac‘s SMC if issues persist. This clears network settings and rebuild network connections.

Following these steps will ensure the forgotten network is fully removed from your system.

Optimize Network Performance

In addition to forgetting obsolete networks, here are a few tips to optimize your Mac‘s overall network performance:

  • Update your OS – Make sure you have the latest macOS updates installed. Each new version improves networking.
  • Close unused apps – Apps running in the background can interfere with your network connection. Quit ones you aren‘t actively using.
  • Check router placement – Make sure your Wi-Fi router is centrally placed and free of obstruction for the best signal strength.
  • Renew DHCP – Open Terminal and enter sudo ipconfig set en0 DHCP to renew your connection‘s DHCP lease and refresh IP settings.
  • Reset SMC – For persistent issues, reset your Mac‘s System Management Controller to restore network functionality.

Let‘s Recap…

We‘ve covered a lot of ground here! To quickly recap how to forget a network on Mac:

  1. Open Network settings
  2. Locate the network
  3. Delete or disable auto-join
  4. Reboot your Mac
  5. Troubleshoot as needed

Removing unused networks takes just a few minutes and will boost your Mac‘s speed, security, and overall connectivity.

Now you have all the tools to keep your network settings clutter-free and optimized for top performance. Go forth and start forgetting those old networks today!