Forget a Wi‑Fi network

When you join a Wi‑Fi network, your computer, tablet or phone remembers it. This is why you only have to select your home network and type its security key once when you set up a new device. It’s also why your mobile devices connect automatically at cafes, stations and other places where you’ve used Wi‑Fi before.

Some open networks don’t actually offer Internet access without logging in or paying. The BT Hub, for example, broadcasts networks like BTWifi and BTWifi‑with‑FON that let passers-by share the owner’s broadband if they meet certain requirements. If you join such a network by accident, your computer may pop up a captive portal asking you to log in or pay.

Because your computer remembers the network, it may connect to it in future, sometimes in preference to your home Wi‑Fi. So the symptoms – being unable to use the Internet, and the captive portal asking you to log in or pay – may seem to occur randomly. The solution is to ‘forget’ the network.

Mac

  1. In the menu bar, click the Wi‑Fi icon.
  2. Click Network Preferences.
  3. Click Advanced.
  4. Click the unwanted network, then click the remove (minus) button beneath the list to forget it.
  5. Repeat the previous step for any other unwanted networks.
  6. Click OK followed by Apply.

Windows

  1. In the taskbar, click the Wi‑Fi icon.
  2. Click Network settings.
  3. In the sidebar, click Wi‑Fi.
  4. Click Manage known networks.
  5. Click the unwanted network, then click Forget.
  6. Repeat the previous step for any other unwanted networks.