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I dropped my MacBook Pro (15" mid 2012) last week, which appeared to just give a bit of cosmetic damage near the Ethernet port. But over the last few days, my Mac has repeatedly automatically set WiFi to off in the toolbar and won't let me turn it back on. Sometimes the toolbar displays "no WiFi hardware installed".

As many sources online recommended, I did NVRAM and SMC resets, and this occasionally works, but is only a temporary solution, eventually it will tell me there's no hardware again. My thinking is that the cable connecting to the airport card was damaged when I dropped the laptop.

Does this seem likely? Obviously I don't want to replace the cable, unless I'm pretty sure that's the issue.

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    Is this the Retina or non-Retina model? – Allan May 14 '18 at 19:23
  • Non retina. Why do you ask? – Owen Diba May 16 '18 at 8:40
  • The Retina one doesn't have a cable; it's very different. – Allan May 16 '18 at 8:52
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My thinking is that the cable connecting to the airport card was damaged when I dropped the laptop. Does this seem likely?

You need to diagnose the issue and without actually putting "hands on" the unit itself, everything's just a guess at this point. That said, there's nothing in NVRAM or in power management (SMC) that resetting both/either will solve.

The "No WiFi hardware installed" means the hardware isn't being detected by macOS.

There are three possibilities:

  • It's has a loose connection.
  • The airport card is failing (possibly coincidental with your drop).
  • The connector is broken

The first one is easy to diagnose/solve; simply disconnect, ensure that connections are clean, and then reconnect.

If the airport card has failed, you need to replace it with new Airport Adapter.

Finally, if the connectors are broken, you can either replace the cable as you initially thought or if it's on the logic board side, you will need to have the logic board repaired/replaced.

  • I disconnected the card as you suggested, and this worked for a few hours but then failed again. I took it to apple, and they were very unhelpful. They did all the checks that I'd already done, and just said they'd replace the card, and if that didn't work, the screen. I think I'll try and replace the card myself, but something that makes me a little doubtful that this will help is that the bluetooth still works fine. If the card was malfunctioning, wouldn't the bluetooth fail as well? – Owen Diba May 18 '18 at 21:17

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