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When connecting to hotel WiFi, the WiFi login page doesn't appear on macOS. When trying to go to a standard webpage I get an error about my network connection.

After reading a lot of documentation and articles online some common suggestions include:

  • Navigating to http://neverssl.com or http://captive.apple.com in a web browser to see if a non-SSL site will trigger the login page to appear
  • Try navigating to the router IP address (listed in System Preferences) in a web browser. This did redirect me to a different site, but that page had the same error as everything else.
  • Flushing the DNS cache
  • Restarting my computer
  • Ensuring that there are no custom DNS Server addresses
  • And more

None of these solutions triggered the login page, and none helped me establish a connection to the internet.

What is strange is going into recovery mode (the mode where you can reinstall macOS), and going into the Safari browser there shows the WiFi login page perfectly. But I don't want to stay in recovery mode forever, I want this to work in my normal system.

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On macOS Catalina (10.15.1), the solution for me was to manually open the /System/Library/CoreServices/Captive Network Assistant.app application in the Finder, which will trigger the standard application for displaying the WiFi login portal.

You might still need to follow the suggestions listed above in order for this to be successful (since I had completed them prior to attempting this solution).

I found this solution from a blog post that has a more in depth solution for automatically triggering this process automatically until Apple releases a fix. But since it's not that difficult to manually open the /System/Library/CoreServices/Captive Network Assistant.app application I decided not to go through the entire workaround process.


Edit: it's important to note that not all networks will require this solution. In some cases just navigating to a non SSL site (examples provided in original question), will work just fine and show the login page. But if you get an error message about not being connected to the internet, this is a good thing to try.

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