Quirkiness of Apple Public Wifi connection

I’ve always seen lots of issues with this where the iPhone or the iMac doesn’t seem to connect correctly with various public wifi systems at a Starbucks or at an airport for instance. It is really hard to find any documentation on this, but here is what I’ve learned about public wifi sites that have a logon page. The trouble is that you can’t easily get the page to show and if it doesn’t, you either have a dropped wifi connection or the wifi connection is there, but you can’t get any traffic through.

  1. This really doesn’t work well if you have VPN running, so make sure to disable it. Seems like at least NordVPN gets confused as it moves across networks.
  2. With the Mac, you don’t get the login screen a lot. Particularly with gogoinflight.com, this is a big problem. The trick is that you connect to the airplane wifi and then manually go to airborne.gogoinflight.com
  3. For other sites, with the Mac, if you auto connect to a wifi network that you’ve been on before, it does not go the apple captive portal. I find that turning the wifi off and on often kicks it into showing a popup login.

With the iPhone, things are little trickier:

  1. For many public site, it will take several minutes for the logon dialog to show up. You have to connect to the public site and leave it on the wifi settings page. If you click away, then the connection is denied. Pretty frustrating when you are running through an airport.
  2. If this doesn’t work, sometimes toggling off and on the wifi works to trick it into showing the login page.
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