Recently, I was faced with an unusual challenge on my MacBook Pro. I have one of the later versions with the Touch-Bar. I use my Mac for everything from personal writing to business use on the road. The Mac is much lighter than my work laptop and, for me, it is difficult to carry any extra weight.
The challenge came in the form of my laptop not wanting to connect to WiFi either in the hotel or at work (a place of business in a country other than the U.S.) The hotel was ‘spotty,’ but it simply would not connect at all at work.
After spending some time on the phone with Apple Tech Service out of Australia, they determined that it was a hardware problem and that I would have to have it repaired. I was not happy. This is a relatively new computer (much less than a year old), and it is the first time that I’ve encountered any serious problems with a Mac. Besides, something just didn’t ‘feel’ right about the situation.
After much perusing the Apple Boards I found a couple of other possible culprits. One of them had to do with country codes. If the computer and the router have different country codes, it is possible that you won’t be able to connect. The only solution, stated repeatedly, was to get someone to change the router out. That wasn’t going to happen at work.
The other issue had to do with peripherals attached to the computer. If they were putting out a signal that interfered with the WiFi, it was possible that you would not be able to connect. This sounded intriguing, but the only thing that I had attached to the computer was the power supply and my mouse dongle.
I decided to try an experiment.
I removed my mouse and BOOM, I was connecting like a champ! Now why in the world would that be? I started examining some of the teardowns of the MacBook Pro. My dongle was plugged into the left side (as you look at your screen) of the keyboard. The WiFi chip that Apple uses is located in the upper left corner of the board beneath the keyboard.
Let me cut to the chase. I tried plugging into the right side, and it worked, sluggishly. My Mac simply doesn’t seem to like the dongle. I went out and spent $15 on a cheap Bluetooth mouse and voila, I can connect at work flawlessly.
So, basically, after days of frustration, some small amount of worry that I might have to my MacBook torn apart and repaired and a little research, I was able to completely resolve the problem with the purchase of a cheap mouse.
I guess the point is, don’t take anything that Tech Service tells you at face value. Check it out thoroughly yourself, you might just get a pleasant surprise.