When OSX already knows an wifi network it auto connects to it, but when it doesn't know the wifi network it will auto connect depending of the setting of the "ask to join" toggle setting in system preferences.

How do you force OSX to ask to join for every wifi network, whether it is known or not? I don't want OSX to ever connect automatically.

  • I've looked at the networksetup command line and found nothing :-( – CodeFlakes Feb 10 '12 at 18:54

The only way to stop from automatically joining a preferred, or known, wi-fi network, is to not store the password for that network and type it in each time without clicking the "save password" button.

As soon as you save the password the network will be added to the preferred list even if the remember networks button isn't selected, and it will connect to it automatically (or rather it will connect to the first one on the list that is finds in the order in which you have them listed).

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    But despite being very annoying to have to enter the password each time it won't work for an open access point isn't it ? If I connect to "free wifi" one time it will connect back to it automatically – CodeFlakes Feb 10 '12 at 15:13
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    Not if you set it to not remember networks you have joined. Realise this doesn't give you a solution, but it is the answer, if you see what I mean. – stuffe Feb 10 '12 at 15:16

In System Preferences | Network Preferences, click the Advanced button. On the Airport tab (should already be selected) of the dialog that comes up, untick "Remember networks this computer has joined". In the "Preferred Networks:" box above it, select all of the known networks and delete them. You should have a naive WiFi after that.

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    Thanks for you answer but that's not exactly what I need. I dont want osx to forget my networks. I just want it to ask me each time confirmation to connect (but without having to type the password again) – CodeFlakes Feb 10 '12 at 15:12
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    That may be your only other choice; I can't find any reference to such an option. – JRobert Feb 10 '12 at 15:20
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    Indeed I'm very surprised that there isn't a hack somewhere to do that :-/ – CodeFlakes Feb 10 '12 at 15:24

Hold down Option key while clicking on the wifi icon in your menu bar. Then select "Disconnect " - I'm using Mavericks. Not sure what version this was introduced into.

  • I see it in Sierra but it disconnects; So how does it answer the question? – Pacerier May 24 '18 at 17:52

Turn off the wifi til you are ready to go online. A top of your screen you see the little airport symbol..click on it and there is the option to turn off the wifi

  • "airport symbol" meaning? Image? – Pacerier May 24 '18 at 17:52

Currently I have achieved this with my keychain settings and some wifi network settings in Mavericks. However, I like to have an admin account and run as a plain user for daily use. I do this for security reasons. Note: I have only tested this running as a user not an admin.

WIFI settings:

Uncheck "Ask to join new networks".


Uncheck "Remember networks this computer has joined". The order of preferred networks does not matter due to keychain settings.

Keychain (Repeat steps for every airport wifi password):

Open keychain access -> system -> Select each airport wifi password -> Right Click -> Get Info -> Access Control -> enter admin username and password

Remove everything from "always allow access by these applications" and ensure only "confirm before allow access" is selected.

Hope this helps.

  • Nice, how did you get this answer from? – Pacerier May 24 '18 at 17:59

I think the easiest way to do this is to just not save your password to the networks you want to be asked to join.


Another good idea is to use priorities.

System Preferences → Network → Advanced. Then drag'n'drop WiFi entries by priorities.

In many cases, it helps.

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