Wi-Fi issues continue to hamper OS X users despite updates

People who upgraded to iOS 8 are also experiencing Wi-Fi woes that Apple has yet to address

Apple's efforts this week to remedy the Wi-Fi connectivity issues plaguing many OS X users produced mediocre results, judging by comments left in Apple's support forum.

Immediately following the Oct. 16 public release of Mac OS X Yosemite, an undetermined but substantial number of users took to discussion forums and social media to report that the OS crippled and in some cases disabled their machine's Wi-Fi capabilities. As of Thursday, the thread "OSX Yosemite Wifi issues" on Apple's support forum had 709,855 views and 2,261 comments.

Apple has never officially acknowledged issues surrounding Yosemite and Wi-Fi connectivity, but release notes for Yosemite updates show that Apple is aware of the issue. In November, Apple issued a beta build of Yosemite to developers and asked them to focus on three areas, including Wi-Fi. The update, labeled 10.10.1, was publicly released on Nov. 17 but didn't solve the Wi-Fi issues.

A second update, labeled 10.10.2, was publicly released Tuesday. Leading off the improvements offered in the update was "resolves an issue that might cause Wi-Fi to disconnect," according to the release notes.

Despite this claim, Apple's support forum was filled with tales of frustrated users who upgraded to 10.10.2 and still had weak or nonexistent Wi-Fi connections and trouble using Wi-Fi with Bluetooth-enabled devices.

"I don't know what has been fixed with 10.10.2 but I see absolutely zero improvement," wrote a person whose 2011 personal and work iMacs lose Wi-Fi connectivity.

Even after 10.10.2 was installed on an iMac, the machine forces a router reboot when connecting, another user reported.

When the router reboots, all other devices on the network immediately lose their Internet connection, the commenter noted, adding: "Since upgrading to Yosemite last year I haven't been able to use wifi."

Another person had Wi-Fi connectivity after installing the update, but enabling Bluetooth wrecked the connection.

"I turned on bluetooth to use it with my apple magic mouse and apple wireless keyboard, but wlan issues still exists. Turning [Bluetooth] off, all works as usual," the person said.

At Drew University in Madison, New Jersey, Yosemite's flaws forced the school's IT department to dissuade students and faculty from upgrading to the OS.

"As this upgrade appears to be more troublesome than other Apple releases, University Technology is strongly advising that users who have not already done so not to upgrade their Macs to Yosemite and instead wait until Apple addresses these issues," the school's IT department said in a Jan. 9. email obtained by IDG News Service. The university didn't immediately reply to further requests for comment.

Mac owners aren't the only Apple users experiencing wireless connection failures after updating their OS. Wi-Fi connectivity issues have also dogged iOS 8 since Apple released the mobile OS on Sept. 17. The thread "iOS 8 Wi-Fi problems" in the Apple Support forum has 527,483 views and 1,629 comments since Sept. 20.

Unlike with Mac OS, Apple has yet to indicate that iOS 8 may have a bug that wrecks the Wi-Fi capabilities of iPhones, iPads and iPod touches. Apple released its latest mobile OS update, labelled 8.1.3, on Tuesday, but the release notes didn't mention a Wi-Fi fix.

Instead, the update reduced the amount of storage space required to perform an update and resolved an issue around some users being unable to enter their Apple ID password for Messages and FaceTime, among other fixes.

Users who hoped the update would fix their Wi-Fi issues faced disappointment after installing the software.

"I did the update to 8.1.3 and it made no difference on the WiFi issue," said a person who installed the update on Tuesday.

"Upgraded to 8.1.3, no discernible improvement, still poor wifi connection," wrote another person on Wednesday.

Apple didn't immediately reply to a request for comment.

Fred O'Connor writes about IT careers and health IT for The IDG News Service. Follow Fred on Twitter at @fredjoconnor. Fred's e-mail address is fred_o'connor@idg.com

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