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How To Fix Issues with WiFi Not working on the Galaxy S7

Posted by William Sattelberg on May 17, 2017

Sure, smartphones are designed to be used anywhere, with a data plan that guarantees an always-connected status. But data caps and large fees loom over your 4G connectivity, so most of us do the majority of our downloading when we’re using WiFi. From your own apartment to your local Starbucks, WiFi is everywhere these days, and it guarantees that you’ll only be sipping through your data plan, not consuming it in one big gulp.

Our reliance on WiFi to support our app downloads and video streams means we notice when our phones start experiencing issues with our WiFi connection. WiFi isn’t a perfect standard, and try as it might, most of our devices will have connectivity issues at some point, and your Galaxy S7 or S7 edge is no exception. So if you’re have trouble connecting or staying connected to your local WiFi hotspot, this is the guide for you. Let’s investigate how to fix WiFi issues on your Galaxy S7.

Reboots All Around

There’s an important first step in troubleshooting any problem, especially when concerned with wireless connections: reboot your devices. Don’t just reboot your phone, either—reboot your router, too. If you don’t have access to your router, try to find someone who can reboot the router for you. If you’re at a public hotspot, you obviously won’t be able to reboot the router. And, preferably, you can also reboot your modem too. To reboot your phone, press and hold the Power button with the screen already on and select “Reboot” from the list of options available.

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The best way to reboot your router is, oddly enough, to simply unplug the power cable from the back of your device. Once you’ve unplugged the device, count to ten before plugging the device back in, to achieve a power cycle of the router. You can do the same to your modem as well. Nine times out of ten, this’ll fix any problems with your wireless internet connections. Routers and modems are finicky little things, and they both require an occasional cycle to stay active and functional.

If you’re still having problems connecting your phone to your WiFi after rebooting your devices, continue onto the next section. If the problem is wider than just your phone—say, your laptop or tablet also can’t connect—it’s probably a problem with your router. We have a section for that too, further down the guide.

Quick Tips for Your Phone

Okay, with a quick reboot out of the way, let’s start with some of the basics. As with any troubleshooting guide, we’re going to start with some small potential fixes before moving into larger steps. None of these steps are guaranteed to work, but they do tend to help kick your WiFi connection back into gear by giving it a bit of a nudge. So, grab your phone and let’s get started.

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First, slide down your notification shade to reveal your quick settings. Double-check and ensure that the WiFi setting on your phone is enabled. Occasionally, this can accidentally be turned off or disabled by the user or a misbehaving app; if your WiFi icon is grayed out, tap on it to turn it back on. You can also tap the “Wi-Fi” text below the menu button to open an expanded quick settings menu for your WiFi. If the switch is turned off, turn it back on.

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If your WiFi is already turned on but not connecting to your personal network, head into your settings menu and open the WiFi menu underneath “Wireless and Networks.” Tap the triple-dotted menu button in the top-right corner of the display, then tap “Advanced.” In this menu, find “Manage networks.” This will open a list of any and all networks you’ve previously connected to on your device. Find whichever one you’re trying to connect to, press and hold on its area in the menu, and then select “Forget network.” This will remove and delete the network from your device from your phone’s history, along with any and all settings for the connection. From here, you can try to reconnect to the device, reentering your pass-code for your router or hotspot.

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If this doesn’t fix your problem, you can also head into your settings menu and find the “Backup and Reset” option. If you’re using the simplified settings layout, you can find this option by selecting “General management,” followed by “Reset.” At the bottom of this menu, you’ll find three options: Reset Settings, Reset Network Settings, and Factory Data Reset. We’re looking for the second option: reset network settings. This will restore your WiFi, Bluetooth, and all other network settings back to their defaults. If, for whatever reason, the wireless settings on your device have been changed by accident or by a rogue application, this will reset everything. Note: because this is essentially erasing all of your network settings, you’ll have to repair your Bluetooth devices and reenter the pass-codes for your WiFi access points.

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You should also check to see if a new software update has been rolled out for your phone. Samsung has done a good job ironing out any bugs in early versions of software, including problems involving connections to WiFi, so it’s worth checking to see if your phone is using an older software version. Scroll down to the “System” category in settings and tap the “System updates” menu (in the simplified settings layout, “System updates” has its own category). Then tap “check for system updates” on the following dialog box. If a system update has been rolled out to your phone, download and install it, and then recheck your WiFi connection.

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There’s also a few small settings that can prevent strong or consistent wireless problems. First, try turning your Bluetooth off. Some 2.4GHz networks can occasionally receive interruptions when running alongside Bluetooth. If your network is a newer 5GHz connection, this probably won’t do anything for you. Next, inside the WiFi settings menu, tap that same triple-dotted menu button from before and tap “Advanced.” Make sure that “Smart network switch” is turned off, and that “Keep WiFi on during sleep” is set to “Always.” The former switches you between WiFi and mobile networks if your connection is weak, which can cause problems depending on the strength of your wireless connection; meanwhile, the latter can disconnect you from your WiFi signal when your phone’s screen is off.

Check Your Router and Modem Connections

First, you should make sure your phone is the only device having problems connecting to a hotspot. If it isn’t, then it may be a problem with your router, modem, or internet connection. As we covered above, rebooting both your router and your modem by unplugging the devices for ten seconds before plugging them back in can usually fix most problems with receiving connections. The status lights on your router and modem will typically display any problems with receiving a signal, so make sure you pay attention to those service lights and look to the manual if you aren’t sure what the lights identify.

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If the problem lies with your router or modem, you’ll have to turn to the manual for your specific device to fix any underlying issues. Typically, problems with the router can be fixed by updating your router software or by checking the encryption settings protecting your wireless signal. If the problem lies with your modem, you may have to contact your ISP to ensure that your house is receiving an internet signal problem-free. Environmental issues can sometimes interfere with a signal, so if you’ve determined the problem lies with them and not with your devices, don’t be afraid to make an appointment for a technician to come and check the connection to your house.

Advanced Solutions for Your WiFi Problems

As with any connection issues on your Galaxy S7, there are two more steps we can take to reset the device back to default settings, and clear up any issues that may be hidden deep within the device’s software.

First, we’re going to boot into Android’s recovery mode to wipe the cache partition. This is a fairly-technical procedure, so if you’ve never done this, proceed with caution. Wiping the cache partition on your device won’t wipe any data or applications from your device like a factory data reset would; rather, the cache partition holds any and all temporary data saved by the applications and system software on your phone. This allows your phone to load application data faster, but it can also can occasionally turn a bit screwy and require a full clear to fix any potential issues with the phone.

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Start by powering your phone completely off. Once the device is off, press and hold the Home key, the Power key, and the Volume Up key. Once the words “Recovery Booting” appear at the top of your screen, you can let go of these buttons. A blue screen reading “Installing System Update” for up to thirty seconds; the display will then alert you that the system update has failed. This is normal, so don’t stress. Let the phone sit for another few seconds, and the display will switch to a black background with yellow, blue, and white text on it. At the top of your screen, the words “Android Recovery” will appear; you’ve successfully booted into recovery mode in Android. Using the volume keys to move your selector up and down, move down to “Wipe Cache Partition” on the menu. In the picture above, it’s below the highlighted blue line—don’t select that option unless you want to wipe your entire phone. Once you’ve highlighted “Wipe Cache Partition,” press the Power key to select the option, then use the Volume keys to highlight “Yes” and the Power key once more to confirm. Your phone will begin wiping the cache partition, which will take a few moments. Hold tight while the process continues. Once it’s complete, select “Reboot device now” if it isn’t already selected and press your Power key to confirm. Once your device has rebooted, try once more to connect to your WiFi signal.

If your phone still can’t connect, there’s one more potential solution: factory resetting your device. Obviously, no one likes to do this, but occasionally, it can be the only solution for problems on your device. If you’ve tried everything else on this list and you’re still experiencing connection issues—and you’ve determined it’s your Galaxy S7, not your internet connection or your router—then you should move forward with resetting your device.

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Start by backing up your phone to the cloud service of your choice—whether that be Google Drive, Samsung Cloud, or another third-party service is up to you. You can use other apps, like SMS Backup and Restore or Google Photos, to backup text messages, phone call logs, and photos respectively. Once your phone is backed up (or you’ve moved your important files to an SD card or separate computer), you can begin the factory reset process.

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Open your settings menu and select “Backup and Reset,” which is found under “Personal” in the standard settings menu and under “General management” on the simplified display. Select the third reset option, “Factory data reset.” This will open a menu that shows every account you’ve signed into on your phone, along with a warning that everything on your device will be wiped. Your SD card will not be reset unless you choose to select the “Format SD card” option at the bottom of your menu; whether you want to do so is up to you, but it isn’t necessary for this process. Before selecting “Reset phone” at the bottom of this menu, make sure your phone is either plugged-in or fully charged. A factory reset can use a decent amount of power and can take upwards of half an hour, so you don’t want your phone dying during the process.

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Once you’ve ensured your device is charging or charged, hit “Reset phone” and enter your PIN or password for security verification. After you’ve done this, your phone will begin to reset. Let the device sit and complete the process. Once the reset is complete—which, again, can take thirty minutes or more—you’ll be prompted to set your phone up. During this process, you’ll be asked to connect to a WiFi signal if one is nearby; if your device can connect, you’ve solved the problem, and you can continue with restoring your phone using the backups you provided before your reset.

However, if your device still cannot connect to a WiFi signal, and you’ve determined it isn’t your router, modem, or a connection issue with your ISP, you’ll want to contact your cellular provider or Samsung to make a warranty claim. At this point, you can safely determine that the issue doesn’t lie with your software, but with the hardware on your phone. Whichever company you contact for service will most likely ask you to do several things on this list; you can inform them you already have. From there, you can typically make a warranty claim to replace the device.

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Experiencing issues with your WiFi connection can be frustrating enough to pull your hair out. Luckily, there’s only so many variables in your wireless connection to check, so the culprit of the connection issues can typically be found within half an hour of troubleshooting. So whether the problem lies with your phone’s software, the router, the modem, your ISP, or your Galaxy S7’s hardware, it doesn’t take too long to solve the problem. So relax and take a deep breath. Before you know it, you’ll be back up and running, reconnected to your WiFi and streaming movie after movie on Netflix during a lazy Sunday afternoon.

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