iMac won't internet good
August 6, 2015 11:07 AM   Subscribe

I've got continual internet dropouts, and because it's such a common problem, there's not a lot of help I can get from google. Because it's such a common problem, what's your advice on working out how to fix it?

For the past few months, my iMac has become useless at the internet. It fails, silently and often, and refuses to internet at all about six times an hour. Running network diagnostics, or refreshing DHCP, seems to fix the problem... for a little while.

Of course, I've googled this, and the answers are wide and varied. There's a lot of things that could be causing this, and there are a lot of answers for these different problems. it might not even be my problem; it might be the ISP, or the wifi network I'm using (both of which are out of my control). I'd like to fix it, but I figure that the problem is beyond my technical ability. Here are the options:

1) wait for apple to release a fix in the next OS (if it's their replacement for discoveryD that is the problem)

2) sell the computer (I'm reasonably sure the problem isn't with the mac, but what if it is?)

3) take the computer to an apple store to fix a problem that might not appear on their network.

I'm open to any suggestions, right up to 'throw iMac out of window and live in cabin in the woods'.
posted by The River Ivel to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Former fruit stand employee here. If you can find any references to the problem on the official Apple site, either in a help forum or help guide, print those out and bring them with you if you decide to bring your iMac in for service. Then say, "My iMac doesn't stay connected to the internet consistently. Running network diagnostics is a bandaid fix, but I can't enjoy the computer without a permanent adjustment. My ISP has assured me there are no issues on its end. Here's what I've found on the issue online from Apple. What can we do to fix this?"

You may have luck getting them to run more robust diagnostics/replacing parts. It might be worth a shot, just in case, you know?
posted by Hermione Granger at 11:17 AM on August 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

I've been running the El Capitan update (the beta for the next version of the Mac OS) for a couple of weeks now on my 2007 iMac. It's got a few issues, mostly related to waking from sleep (I have to turn the Mac off and then on if it's been asleep for more than a few hours), but it's into the third public beta release and I've found it pretty stable.

I wouldn't normally recommend running a beta on your primary computer (unless you're an idiot, like I am) but it sounds like the current version of Yosemite isn't doing you any favors, either, so it might be worth backing everything up and giving it a shot just to see if you're dealing with the discoveryd issue. You sign up here.
posted by Polycarp at 11:24 AM on August 6, 2015

This happened to me on my Macbook Pro, and I tried every solution in the Apple help forums without any lasting success. I finally reluctantly took the machine to a Genius Bar and they fixed it at once. Although up until then I blamed the Yosemite upgrade, I now think the whole thing was my fault for installing browser extensions that screwed with the internet connection. The fix, which happened before my eyes, whizzed by so fast I can't say for certain. I know iMacs are harder to tote but it might be worth it to take yours in.
posted by bearwife at 11:27 AM on August 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

If you're on Yosemite, any version before 10.10.4... upgrade. 10.10.4 dropped the buggy discoveryd and replaces it with an older background process that works well.

If that doesn't fix it, call in the Geniuses
posted by SansPoint at 11:30 AM on August 6, 2015

How do you connect to the network Ethernet or WiFi?
Any other devices having similar issues while connecting to the same network (WiFi / ethernet) ?
posted by Mac-Expert at 11:42 AM on August 6, 2015

I've been having wifi trouble with Yosemite. An application called Kext fixed it for a time for me. Google and you'll see lots of discussion of it.
posted by persona au gratin at 3:43 AM on August 7, 2015

Is your iMac connected directly to your modem, or is there a router in-between?
posted by Thorzdad at 8:00 AM on August 7, 2015

God, yes, if you're running Yosemite, get on 10.10.4.

Seriously. discoveryd was a effing nightmare. Apple closed something like 300 major issues when they rolled back to mDNSresponder -- and it showed up in all sorts of places.

Seriously -- step one is either go back to 10.9.X or go up to 10.10.4.

If you have flash, evaluate if you need it. Yes, "I want to play my favorite game" is a valid reason to have it. But if you don't have a reason for it, get rid of it. If you do, make damn sure it's updated.

Step three is to grab a clean browser (if you're using Firefox, use Safari, if you're using Safari, grab Firefox, or grab Chrome -- just grab something different!) install *only* an adblocker (I like Ghostery) and then try surfing. If that's better, then clean out all your plugins and reinstall the ones you use most, one at a time. If that fixes things, great. If things break after you install one, then you have a conflict, and decide which one you like more.)

The biggest problem with the plug-in life is plug-ins fighting for space. I run thin, and rarely have problems, but if you like the plug-ins, you want what they do. But you need to make sure you keep them updated, and if they don't get along, you have to find out which ones don't get along and decide which one to live without.

It's annoying. I know.

But if you're on 10.10.X, and X does not equal 4, do that first. There's a really good chance that this alone will fix everything!
posted by eriko at 8:33 AM on August 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

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