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I'm currently running the OS X El Capitan public beta, but I've had this issue since Mavericks or Yosemite. I'm unable to permanently remove unprotected wifi networks from the preferred networks list in System Preferences. I've followed all of the suggestions I've found online which include:

  • resetting iCloud Keychain
  • deleting com.apple.airport.preferences.plist
  • locating and deleting wifi passwords in Keychain Access

These methods do work, but only for wifi networks that require passwords. Any networks that did not require a password return to the preferred networks list (and can be found again in the PLIST file above) upon restart no matter what combination of the above methods I try. They also do not show up in Keychain Access at all because they don't have passwords associated with them to save. I'm at a loss as to how to clear these unprotected wifi networks from the list because I have no idea where they are being restored from when I restart. Does anyone have any ideas?

  • and the remember networks joined is unchecked ? – Ruskes Jul 29 '15 at 4:04
  • I wanted it to remember some, it just wouldn't permanently remove the ones I deleted from the list that were open networks. I just checked, and somehow, even after all the restarting and waiting for things to sync and everything that I did and the problem still persisting, now all of a sudden it works as expected and forgets the networks you tell it to. Incidentally, another issue I've had since Mavericks, which was the Today view of Notification Center resetting the order of the widgets after restarting, also seems to be fixed now. KNOCKS ON WOOD. I'll update if the network issue returns. – dmbaio Jul 29 '15 at 22:07
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    I had done all of the above, with success even! Then, all of a sudden, yesterday, zombie wifi networks from as long as 5 years ago, are re-appearing in my list. – flip Jul 15 '16 at 15:45

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