Is there any way to shorten the available Wi-Fi list in macOS and iOS? Unfortunately, no

Wi-Fi icon inside the outline of a house

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macOS and iOS displays a list of the Wi-Fi networks in your area, whether they are private or not. This can be helpful, but how often are you able to really use a private network you can see but know nothing about?

Macworld reader Michael is irritated by the huge list of Wi-Fi networks around him whenever he tries to connect in iOS. He’s in a densely populated city, and neighbors’ networks are all around him. Since he’s connected to his own network and he’ll never connect to any of the others, is there a way to make them not appear in his list?

It’s a good question and one I honestly never thought about in 17 years of writing about Wi-Fi. The network scanning features built into Wi-Fi user interfaces on every platform I can think of that let you select a network are designed to maximize what you see. They weren’t created for crowded network environments, and a re-think would make a lot of sense, since we mostly don’t want to connect to any network, nor see them.

However, for now you’ve got to ignore it. When you click the Wi-Fi menu in macOS or visit Settings > Wi-Fi in iOS, you’ll always see the currently connected network at the top, but all the other networks will always appear.

There is one not-so-convenient-and-easy way you could solve this problem. Install a wire mesh in the floor, ceiling, and the inside portion of your home’s exterior walls to create a Faraday cage, which blocks penetration of a lot of forms of electromagnetic fields—which includes radio signals—and you’ll likely only see other networks when you open the front door.

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